Home' Greymouth Star : January 10th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1862 - Death of Samuel Colt, firearms
manufacturer who invented the revolver that
bears his name.
1917 - Death of William Frederick Cody,
US army scout and Indian fighter known as
1929 - Tintin and his dog Snowy, cartoon
creations of Belgian artist Herge (Georges
Remi), make their first appearance.
1935 - Hollywood silent movie
stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary
Pickford are divorced.
1956 - Elvis Presley records his
first songs for RCA, including
subsequent No 1 hit Heartbreak
1961 - Death of Samuel Dashiell
Hammett, US crime writer.
1968 - John Gorton, government leader in
the Senate, is sworn in as Australian prime
minister, following disappearance of Harold
1971 - Death of French fashion designer
2016 - British singer David Bowie dies of
cancer in New York, aged 69.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Michel Ney, French soldier and most famous
of Napoleon’s marshals (1769-1815); John
Dalberg Action, English historian (1834-
1902); Frank Sinatra Jr, US singer (1944-); Jim
Croce, American musician (1943-
1973); Rod Stewart, British pop
singer (1945-); George Foreman,
US heavyweight boxing champion
(1949-); Pat Benatar, US singer
(1953-); Fran Walsh, New Zealand
screenwriter (1959-); Jemaine
Clement, New Zealand comedian of
Flight of the Concordes fame (1974-); Chris
Smith, US rapper (1979-).
“The force that rules the world is conduct,
whether it be moral or immoral.” — Nicholas
Murray Butler, American educator (1862-1947).
“Extol the Lord our God, and worship at His
holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy.”
— (Psalms 99:9).
In what must have
been one of the most
ever for speedboat
racing, two New Zealand championships were
decided on South Westland’s Lake Wahapo at
the weekend. Native bush overhanging most
of the lake’s edge and a handy open space
for spectators combined with warm sunny
weather made the event a signal success for the
local club in conducting its first ever national
Entrants from several parts of the South
Island were enthusiastic about the venue.
As the colossal Franz Josef Glacier continues
its for ward march, thousands of tourists are
travelling down the glacier road weekly to
take in its sight. During the holiday period up
to Christmas, cars on the route averaged 300
daily, but since the New Year this figure has
stepped up to an estimated 500 vehicles.
“The amount of traffic travelling down the
road is remarkable,” said a Waiho photographer
Mr R J Warburton, who has made a study of
the glacier over the past 20 years. Including bus
tours, Mr Warburton estimates that over the
past fortnight about 2000 visitors have daily
viewed the famous Westland phenomenon.
A Greymouth sur veyor said today that huge
waves of ice are mounting on the glacier and he
described the build-up as “colossal”.
Everyone is cashing in on the Coast ’s climate
over this holiday period. An enterprising bus
company in Christchurch has placed a banner
above its poster advertising a West Coast tour.
It says: “Go to the Coast and toast ”.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
New Zealanders are renowned for our
hospitality, and it is a character trait we
take pride in.
Aside from the not-so-small matter of
our epic scenery and rich cultural heritage,
this might be why so many people like to
visit our unique corner of the Pacific.
In the year to March, tourism became
our biggest export earner, contributing
$14.5 billion to the economy. We welcome
around three million international
visitors annually, who help boost regional
economies like the West Coast ’s and
provide more than 188,000 jobs. Ministry
of Business, Innovation and Employment
(MBIE) indicative estimates show around
10,700 people are directly employed in
tourism in the top of the south/West
Coast regions alone.
Almost 500,000 international visitors,
along with those who travelled to the
West Coast from within New Zealand,
spent about $470 million here in the year
The exceptional growth in the sector
does bring challenges — keeping our
roads safe for everyone, ensuring we have
sufficient accommodation, facilities and
other infrastructure, and preser ving our
We will face the challenges in Kaikoura
and Hurunui alongside the local tourism
providers. Already the southern road is
open and the harbour is being dredged
and remediated. The Government
is committed to supporting tourism
infrastructure throughout the region.
The tourism industry in New Zealand is
incredibly well-organised and mobilised
to meet these challenges, but there is
also a lot central government can do.
Our tourism strategy brings together the
many initiatives happening across various
agencies to manage and support tourism
As part of this, the Visiting Drivers
Project aims to improve road safety for
domestic and international visitors, while
maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as
an attractive and safe tourist destination.
It is focused on the Otago, Southland and
West Coast regions where there is a high
proportion of tourists.
The number of crashes involving overseas
licence holders between 2011 and 2015
was 6% of all fatal and injury crashes
nationally, and has stayed relatively
constant over the last 10 years, when
the number of international visitors has
However, New Zealand roads are
different and it is important visitors are
prepared for driving here. The Visiting
Drivers Project is giving people the
information they need to be safe on our
roads and is making improvements to the
roads in the project regions.
In terms of infrastructure, New Zealand
Trade and Enterprise is working to attract
investment in new hotels in our biggest
We have also made funding available
through MBIE to help regional
communities develop facilities such as
toilets, rubbish disposal and waste water
management systems that enable them to
better respond to visitor growth.
Some of these new facilities will
help cater to freedom campers. That
is important because, though they
arrive in relatively small numbers, these
visitors spend about $260 million a year
throughout New Zealand. Lots of
New Zealanders travel the country this
Over the past three years, each freedom
camper spent around $4880, compared
with $2814 for visitors who used other
forms of accommodation.
A bigger and more multi-faceted piece of
work that forms part of the Government ’s
tourism strategy is to encourage visitors
to travel outside of the peak season and
explore regions throughout the country.
Tourism New Zealand, for example, is
now putting all of its promotional efforts
into growing off-peak international visitor
MBIE also has a renewed focus on
supporting tourism in the regions, with
initiatives like the New Zealand Cycle
Trail (think of the Old Ghost Road and
the West Coast Wilderness trails) and
the Tourism Growth Partnership’s new
regional stream helping create visitor
attractions and tourism jobs from the Far
North to Southland.
Visitor dispersal also helps manage
the environmental impact of the visitor
industry, and the Department of
Conser vation (DOC) is promoting short
walks, huts, campsites and heritage sites at
lesser known destinations.
At busier sites, DOC works to cater for
increased visitor numbers. Visitors can
have an impact on the environment, but
the design and provision of infrastructure
can almost always manage these impacts,
as can regulating the numbers of people
using longer overnight tracks.
It is natural that such strong growth in
the tourism industry will cause pressure
points, but both the Government and the
industry are working hard to ensure New
Zealanders and visitors alike can continue
to enjoy the best New Zealand has to
Let ’s keep the benefits of tourism front
of mind — these are benefits not only to
the wider economy, but also to our regions
— s o that we can continue to welcome
visitors with the warmth and hospitality
for which we are so well known.
Why we should welcome tourists this season
As the West Coast enjoys another bumper tourist season, new Tourism Minister
PAULA BENNETT outlines what the Government is doing around helping provide
the infrastructure to cope.
shovel and pan might be
all you need to make your
‘It is a thrill. There is
always that chance you
will find something big. It
is not an impossibility. There is more gold
out there to be found, you just need to get
your gear out and go — and maybe some
Well, maybe throw in a bit of patience,
Arrowtown and Queenstown’s goldrush
background might be well documented,
but a lesser known fact is that local rivers
still teem with the precious metal, says
shopkeeper and gold enthusiast Justin
“I get 100 or more people in here each
day thinking it’s all gone. They are wrong.
There is more gold to be found out there if
you want to look for it and have the time
to do so.’’
One of many who still prospects on
the Arrow and Shotover rivers, Eden
owns The Gold Shop on Arrowtown’s
Buckingham Street, home to the
largest collection of locally found gold
He has a regular supply of local miners
coming in to trade their treasure.
“It varies. One day it could be gold worth
$35, maybe another up to $50, or maybe
only a bit worth $15. They bring it in to
see how much it is worth. Some of the
bigger nuggets may be found by a metal
detector rather than traditional panning,
He uses the gold to make the shop’s own
range of gold-flake jewellery.
In the height of summer he gets up to 20
people per week through the door.
It could be a few grains in a jar, or
regulars who drop off a few ounces each
week. The biggest yield recently was 11g,
worth about $650.
“ You have to be patient. But every time
you go out, it isn’t a case of ‘what if I find
something’, it is ‘how much will I find. ’ It
is purely recreational . . . You do it because
you like it; other wise you would be
working for about $3 an hour at times,’’ he
said with a chuckle.
Eden says it is one of the most popular
He does have to break the news to some
gold enthusiasts, particularly children, that
they have not found their fortune; that
their discovery is just a bit of shiny rock.
Luckily, panning is cheap as chips: for
$3 you can hire equipment from Lakes
Still, it can be addictive.
While the Arrow River, near the town
centre, is one of his favourite places to pan,
his biggest haul — 12 ounces — was in
Australia, he admits, adding such “finds’’
are unusual but not unheard of.
Many miners are media-shy and do not
want to comment on their success.
One local, who says he got about $6000
of gold after three days of ‘hard graft’’
last summer, was not keen to talk on the
record, because of concerns someone
might pinch his prized spot. All he would
disclose was that his find was in “the
Another said his claim was quite tricky
and dangerous to get to, a half-day walk
into Skippers Canyon, near Arthurs Point
on the outskirts of Queenstown.
The neighbouring Skippers township was
once the largest gold settlement on the
Shotover River. It, as well as Q ueenstown,
Arrowtown and Macetown were all
established around the rush.
Lakes District Museum director David
Clarke says the region was inundated with
people trying to make a quick buck when
gold was discovered on the banks of the
Arrow River in 1862 by Jack Tewa, who
worked as a shepherd for Queenstown’s
founder, William Rees.
While other seasoned miners jumped on
the bandwagon, including John McGregor,
Thomas Low, John O’Callaghan and John
Cormac, credit often goes to William Fox
for finding gold; today ’s Arrowtown was
originally known as Foxes.
Not all who descended on Arrowtown
were career miners. Many were working-
class folk who simply upped sticks in a bid
to make their fortune. Some were New
Zealanders, joined by those from every
point of the compass.
Whitechapel, near Arrow Junction, was
known as Little Denmark. There was a
strong Irish contingent, a thuggish bunch
known as the “ Tipperary Men’’, noted as
claim jumpers, and professional miners
who had previously worked in the United
States and Australia.
However, Fox established himself as
top dog, Clarke explains, adding he had a
tough reputation and punch-ups were not
“The constabulary were very quickly
dispatched. They (the Provincial
Government) recognised from experience
there could be trouble — a bunch of guys
together, fighting over gold.’’
The arrival of miners was challenging for
the farmers already in the area.
There was not enough food or supplies to
support extra mouths.
In the early days the population
mainly comprised single men, who lived
in makeshift tents; there was no real
Clarke says these were “party days’’,
when grog-shanties popped up all over
Queenstown and Arrowtown from the
Arrow River right up to Shotover.
“There are bowling alleys, dog fights,
games of skittles, rat baiting, guys out the
front of every establishment touting for
business. All you had to have was a supply
of booze and a tent.’’
Hotels and pubs struggled to get
barmaids, as the single men in the
fledgling towns took them as wives. To
help rectify the situation, businesses
started to advertise for “ugly’’ waitresses,
hoping this would curtail any romance.
As more gold was har vested, and
miners enjoyed the early boom years,
people started to make more permanent
settlements. Towns started taking shape,
families arrived, as did more stable
infrastructure, including a water supply,
some civic buildings and churches in both
Arrowtown and Queenstown.
The gold rush also attracted
entrepreneurs: grain was planted at today ’s
Queenstown Airport site; flour mills
sprang up to produce flour to feed miners;
and wood mills supplied building demand.
Mr Clarke describes it as a settling down
Communities were being built, but gold
was getting harder to find.
This period also led to Chinese
immigrants being invited to the country
by the Government, to stimulate the
economy and mine existing areas.
Tony Sey Hoy’s great grandfather, Choie,
was one of those who took up a claim on
the Shotover River.
While he admits it is in his blood, the
Arrowtown man stumbled into it as a
career in the 1990s when, while walking
along the Arrow River, he noticed a man
using a suction dredge.
A sheep musterer at the time, he was
attracted to the idea of mining and
working for himself.
This was in the early days when licences
were not needed for procuring any
natural resources like eeling, whitebaiting,
crayfishing — or gold mining.
He mined in his 20s and 30s, but began
to reconsider his career path as “ hard
graft’’ started to take a toll on him.
Now, gold is a recreational pastime for
Sey Hoy. He still has a couple of gold
c laims, one on the Arrow River and one
It is addictive, he says.
“ It is the freedom of going out there,
camping out there. It isn’t so much
the gold; it is spending time with like-
minded people, being out there in that
environment. The gold is the end result
but it is the journey along the way, really.
“ I just think it is amazing that things
have been buried for millions of years and
nobody has ever set eyes on it. You can
pull it out of dirt and it doesn’t tarnish. It
is gold. It is incredible. ”
— Otago Daily Times
Gold still in the rivers
Justin Eden goldpanning in the Arrow River, Arrowtown.
Links Archive January 9th 2017 January 11th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page