Home' Greymouth Star : January 5th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Thursday, January 5, 2017
Thursday January 5
Urgent Cases Only
Phone 769 9300 first
Grey Medical Centre
away peacefully at her
home Dixon House,
Greymouth on January
3, 2017. Dearly loved
wife of the late Andy,
much loved mother and
mother-in-law of Helen
and Lawrence Smithson
(Whangarei), Greg and
Stephen and Toon (Mel-
bourne), and Craig and
Lisa (Greymouth), much
loved Grandma Jean of
Toni, Nicola, Lisa,
Brogan, Alan, Jack,
Ben, Laura, James, and
Victoria, loved great-
grandmother of Varden,
Millie, and Summer,
loved sister of Arthur,
Mary, and the late Marg,
Gert, Mina, Rita, and
Jack and their families,
loved sister-in-law of
Rose, Arthur, and the
late Pat, a loved aunty,
cousin and friend of
many. A special thank
you to the staff and
House which was Jean's
home that she dearly
loved for the last five
years. Messages to 16
Nolan Crescent, Grey-
Requiescat in Pace
A Requiem Mass for
Jean will be celebrated
in St Patrick's Catholic
Church, High Street,
Greymouth on Saturday
at 1pm. Jean will then be
laid to rest with her
husband Andy at the
Karoro Cemetery. West-
land Funeral Services
Ltd. FDANZ. Phone
(03) 768 0250.
of the Westport News
“Complete and utter stupidity” is how
the Westport harbourmaster describes
the behaviour of a Westport yachtie who
crossed the Buller River bar while it was
closed on New Year’s Day.
Mike Graham said not only did the
man endanger his own life and that of
his female companion but also the lives
of three others who went to help.
Sergeant Paul Watson, of Greymouth
police, said the man was later breath-
tested by police and blew over 400mg.
The legal limit for motorists is 250mg
per litre of breath.
Mr Graham said he had closed the
Buller River bar at 9am on Sunday due
to dangerous conditions after heavy rain
“The bar was white water right across
and there was an incredible run in the
He advised the Rescue Co-ordination
Centre New Zealand in Wellington and
it broadcast messages each hour to say
the bar was closed, Mr Graham said.
Then he got a call at 5.15pm from a
member of the public asking if he knew
there was a small yacht trying to make it
into the river.
Mr Graham said he immediately
went to the breakwater to see what was
happening and realised the man and
woman on board were in grave danger.
“I got one of the local fishermen, as he
has a faster boat than me. We went down
and the yacht was just about across the
“It was more luck than anything else —
at one point his mast hit the top of the
wave so that shows how far over he was.”
He said the two very experienced
fishermen with him could not believe
that the yacht got out, or that it got back
“He was so lucky that he didn’t turn
that boat over.”
Mr Graham said they then offered the
yachtie a tow to help him make it back
up the river more quickly but he refused
and instead abused and threatened them.
“At no time did the owner show any
remorse — just foul-mouthed abuse
directed towards the people who were
there to assist.”
The rescue party was on the water for
about two hours.
Mr Graham said he did not deal
with the sailor after wards because of
his abusive attitude and left him to the
However, the boatie had clearly
breached the Maritime Transport Act.
The harbourmaster planned to consult a
maritime lawyer in Nelson about further
action. Mr Graham said this discussion
would include the outcome of the breath
“ His attitude was just unbelievable —
he just couldn’t care less. If he’d gone into
the water we’d have had to get him out.
This situation highlights the stupidity of
people and their lack of consideration
for the safety of not only themselves,
but for people that come to their
Drunk yachtie crosses closed Westport bar
West Coast volunteer fire brigade work
in the past year has been diverse, with the
brigades in the three main towns having an
average number of call-outs.
However, the type and number of calls
was increasingly diverse, in line with the
more recent practice of brigades being often
called out in tandem to assist St John for
Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade chief
Lee Swinburn said they had 198 call-outs
“ It ’s what we’d call an average year for us.
We did have quite a number of structural
fires compared to previous years . . . at least
a dozen,” Mr Swinburn said.
He noted that a natural disaster such as
a flood or windstorm hit the district about
every three or four years which on average
ballooned the brigade’s average annual calls
to about 250.
Non-fire calls such as attending vehicle
crashes, along with medical assistance calls
with St John, were “trending upwards”.
Many of the latter calls were when the
larger Greymouth brigade was called to
support neighbouring brigades.
Greymouth also was often called
elsewhere with its pump rescue units and
cutting gear to assist in vehicle crashes.
Westport brigade attended 153 calls,
which fire chief Alan Kennedy said was
“ busy ”.
“ We’re up on structure fires this years —
we doubled our structure fires to 15,” Mr
“The medical calls have gone up — up
over 50%. It ’s a big thing at the moment,
medical calls. We don’t mind doing it as the
ambulance up here is a bit short. ”
Hokitika brigade fielded 120 calls for the
year, which was a little above average, fire
chief Harry Collett said.
About a third of those calls were to
vehicle crashes, a third to assist St John
ambulance and the remainder to a variety
The practice of fire volunteers assisting St
John calls follows a memorandum signed
between the NZ Fire Ser vice and St John
nearly two years ago to guide co-ordination
between the two agencies.
It formalised practices introduced in
2005 and sets out clear processes about
who should respond and when, procedures
for dispatching vehicles, equipment and
training levels and criteria for establishing
Fire Ser vice first response units.
In line with the latter, the Greymouth
brigade has acquired a custom-built
first response unit which was recently
Under the memorandum the Fire Ser vice
provides medical support response with St
John ambulance along with non-medical
assistance, such as lifting and extracting
Conversely, St John provides ambulance
standby when the Fire Ser vice anticipates it
may need medical assistance at a call-out.
PICTURE: Viv L ogie
Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Jason Prendergast alongside the latest addition to the West Coast Fire Service
fleet — the hazmat/command vehicle, which has had plenty of use since arriving in Greymouth earlier last year. Mr Prendergast said
today the emergency vehicle had been used as a command centre at a number of structure fires around the West Coast, including the
Westland High School blaze, a house fire in Stillwater, the Signlink Graphics fire in Hokitika. The vehicle covers the whole of the
West Coast and carries a variety of specialist gear including long duration breathing apparatus, chemical suits and showers. It can
also be used in the event of hazardous spills and earthquakes.
More diverse role for West Coast firefighters
of the Hokitika Guardian
Former Westland man David
Mitchell was recognised in the
New Year Honours for services to
education, being named an Officer
of the New Zealand Order of
Now of Christchurch, Dr
Mitchell is an adjunct professor
at the College of Education at
He was named on the roll of
honour as a “world leader” in the
field of inclusive education, noting
a wide range of international
appointments including various
visiting professor and research
at a range of international
conferences and various United
Nations Educational, Scientific
consultancies have primarily
focused on inclusive education and
the development of education with
special needs in countries such as
India, China, Thailand, Ethiopia
and Kazakhstan, among others,”
the official citation says.
He has published more than 200
works in books, book chapters,
journal articles and reports
and has delivered more than 130
papers at conferences in New
Zealand and internationally and
was appointed to the national
advisory committee on special
education, which steered the
development and implementation
of the Special Education 2000
Dr Mitchell was educated at
Ross, Hari Hari and Fox Glacier
as the family moved around, and
then went to Hokitika District
He is a member of the pioneering
Mitchell family, who farmed
predominantly in Ross and Hari
Hari; many descendants still live
Dr Mitchell was one of two
recipients linked to Hokitika to be
awarded an ONZM in the New
Former long-ser ving Westland
Mayor and current northern ward
councillor Durham Havill received
the honour — just two steps
down from a knighthood — for
his services to local government,
business and the community.
Ex-Hokitika man honoured
in New Year Honours
Pigs will be taken from across
the West Coast as part of a larger
effort to eradicate bovine Tb.
Professional hunting contractors
working for the organisation that
manages New Zealand’s Tb Free
programme, Ospri, are out this
year looking for feral pigs that
can indicate the presence, or
absence, of Tb in an area’s wildlife.
Northern South Island Ospri
programme manager Josh King
said pig surveillance was the
the geographical location of
Pigs carry the disease but do not
pass it on.
“ When Tb is present in possums
in an area, it is highly likely that it
will also be present in local pigs,”
Mr King said.
“If we can pinpoint where disease
is, we can be specific about possum
In the next 10 months, pigs will be
taken from across selected areas of
North Canterbury, Marlborough,
Tasman and the West Coast.
To gain access to areas of pig
habitat, contractors will request
permission to enter farmland.
Much of the work will involve
helicopter hunting, although some
traditional hunting methods will
Once feral pigs have been
examinations will check for
tuberculosis in the lymph nodes
just below the jawbone, and this
can indicate the presence of disease
in the area where the animal was
Mr King said that made it crucial
for contractors to correctly dispose
of skins and offal after they had
removed the head. Farmers could
help by offering the use of their
covered offal pits.
Pig survey part of effort to
eradicate bovine Tb
People taking their dog to the dog exercise area in Preston Road,
Greymouth, now have a place to take shelter. The revamped area was moved
when the new sewerage plant was built nearby.
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Place to take shelter at dog park
The little movie with a
big heart, The Catch, has
been hitting the road this
summer with red carpet
premieres in throughout
New Zealand, including
the chance to meet
the director and cast
in Westport next
Based on a true story
of cheating in the annual
fishing contest and set
on Kaipara Harbour, it
tells the charming story
of mates Brian (Nicol
Munro) and Wiremu
(Tainui Tukiwaho) who
cannot believe their luck
when a large snapper falls
into Brian’s hands days
before the contest.
There is a lot on the line
when added to Brian’s
dilemmas is the arrival of
a new romantic interest.
The Catch is a heart-
warming film about
friendship, trust, morals
and the triumph of good
over evil — all set against
of ecological frailty and
all told with wry humour.
The director Simon-
Mark Brown will be in
Westport on Wednesday,
January 11, for the
West Coast premiere.
The movie will also open
at the Greymouth
Regent Theatre on
Those at the Westport
premier will also get a
Moa Beer, and a post film
Q&A with Munro and
To win a double pass to
the Westport premiere,
send your name, address
and daytime contact
C/- Greymouth Star
or e-mail competitions@
before 4pm on Monday.
Strictly one entr y per
Chance to meet
director and cast
of The Catch
Aimee van der Weyden
of the Westport News
Buller district population will drop by
550 people by the year 2018, according
to a Statistics New Zealand projections.
By 2023, it will drop by a further
100, to 10,000 people, and by 2043,
the population of the entire district —
including Reefton — is expected to be
Statistics NZ predictions are based on
the estimated Buller population in 2013
(the last census year), which was 10,650.
Buller Mayor Garry Howard said a
population decline of 550 between 2013
and 2018 was probably right.
Given the number of rental properties
currently sitting vacant in the district,
it was likely the current population
was down a few hundred people on the
official count in 2013.
However, he expected some of the job
creation initiatives born out of the 2016
West Coast Growth Study to have made
an impact by 2018.
“ I’d be disappointed if by 2018 we
weren’t making good headway,” Mr
The population of the Grey district is
also expected to fall by the year 2018, but
not as drastically as Buller.
Statistics NZ estimates Grey will have
13,600 residents — 150 fewer than in
2013. By 2043, that number is expected
to shrink even further to 12,600.
In contrast, Westland’s population will
rise by 280 people to 8850 by 2018. By
2043, its population is expected to reach
Buller population set
to decline by 550
The spring pattern of weather
continued into December bringing a
lot of south-westerly conditions to the
West Coast and Reefton.
Reefton weather obser ver Tony
Fortune recorded several dull days
with frequent days of rain and hail and
thunder on December 12.
The maximum temperatures did not
match some of the highs of December
Rainfall totalled 139mm, up on
97.5mm the previous year though below
the average of 207.1mm. The heaviest
fall was 31mm on December 15.
The warmest day was December 9,
when it got to 25degC; in December
2015 the temperature reached 30degC.
The average minimum temperature
was 8.5degC compared to 8degC a year
earlier, and the average maximum was
20degC, down on 21.3degC.
Spring-like December in Reefton
A Marist priest who
was born and raised in
Westport died of a heart
attack after heading to
Kaikoura to conduct a
Father Kevin Mears,
who had been based
in Wellington, died
at Kaikoura Hospital
several hours before he
was due to conduct a
Christmas Eve service,
The Press reported. He
Fr Mears went to
Kaikoura to help the
local parish following
last month’s 7.8
earthquake. He had
planned to stay for about
10 days, covering Masses
over the Christmas and
New Year period.
On the morning of
Christmas Eve he went
to the hospital with a
heavy cold. While there
he had a heart attack and
could not be revived.
A memorial Mass was
held on Boxing Day at
Kaikoura. His funeral
was held in Wellington
last week.— Westport
Marist priest dies
A West Coast smokefree ser vice is
making it easier for people wanting to beat
the January 1 tobacco price rise and quit
For those who made a New Year’s
resolution to quit, Oranga Ha - Tai
Poutini provides intensive and personalised
smokefree support to West Coast smokers.
Oranga Ha employs three staff dedicated
to helping people become smokefree.
Manager Gail McLauchlan said one in
five West Coast residents still smoke despite
a steady decline in smoker statistics since
At least eight out of every 10 people regret
starting smoking with six in every 10 have
tried to quit in the past five years.
“At any one time there are hundreds of
people on the Coast who want to save
money and improve their health by quitting
for good,” Mrs McLauchlan said.
“At New Year’s there’s always an additional
peak in the numbers who want to quit and
we’re here to help them get achieve their
The average cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes
has just increased by 10% to about $25.
“ With smoking getting more and more
expensive there’s never been a better time to
Oranga Ha - Tai Poutini is a free service
tailored to what works best for the individual.
“ We know giving up smoking can be hard
but there’s clear evidence that having the
right support makes you much more likely
to be successful,” Mrs McLauchlan said.
An individual stop smoking programme
from Oranga Ha could include face-to-face
meetings, texts, videoing, skypes, e-mails, or
attending group sessions.
As well as customised support, clients can
also access free nicotine replacement therapy
patches, gum and lozenges.
To celebrate the launch of the new West
Coast stop smoking service everyone who
signs up to start their smokefree journey by
the end of January, and who is smokefree for
one month, will go into the draw to win one
of five $100 New World vouchers.
nz or phone 0800 456 121.
Coast smokefree service making it easier to quit
West Coast police dealt with 13 search and
rescue inquiries from Monday.
Greymouth prevention sergeant Paul
Watson said most were the result of inquiries
from worried relatives or friends of groups
or individuals who had failed to arrive when
expected and were a little overdue from their
Except for one incident, none sparked a full
On Monday night a solo hunter in the
Kahurangi National Park, near Karamea,
activated his personal locator beacon after he
became “ bluffed” and then fell.
The man suffered moderate injuries in the
fall and was airlifted to safety by the Nelson
Rescue Helicopter and flown to Buller
Mr Watson said that particular incident
highlighted the value of those going into
the outdoors carrying personal locator
Thirteen search and rescue inquiries dealt with by police
Greymouth police today acknowledged
the help of the public after they yesterday
apprehended two separate drivers who were
acting outside the law.
A vehicle containing unrestrained small
children was stopped on State highway 7
Sergeant Brent Cook said those responsible
received infringement notices .
A local man aged 58 was stopped driving
on State highway 6 near Runanga during
the morning after another motorist reported
him driving on the wrong side of the road.
Mr Cook said the man had been forbidden
to drive until he had provided police with a
Meanwhile, South Westland police dealt
formally with six separate complaints
about poor driving in the glacier area
Police issued “quite a number” of
infringement notices there yesterday related
to the formal complaints or other instances
of obser ved poor driving.
“Franz Josef and South Westland police
were kept busy again with several driving
Given the busy holiday season and visitor
volumes now this was more consistent with
road policing in South Westland, he said.
Mr Cook noted that the police strategy of
contacting rental car companies, which were
consequently cancelling visiting drivers’
contracts, was increasingly proving effective.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old boy has been
referred to the police youth aid section after
he was caught doing spin-outs and donuts
at the Hokitika River mouth about 4pm
Police were informed of the incident by a
member of the public.
About 2pm yesterday a Hokitika man was
charged with driving while suspended after
he was caught in Fitzherbert Street. His
vehicle was automatically impounded for 28
A man allegedly involved in a wilful
damage incident yesterday in Greymouth
was today being sought by police.
Police were called to an address about
mid-morning after a window in a door was
smashed. Officers were today following a
“strong lead ” on a person believed to have
Public help police catch
two errant drivers
Win free tickets
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