Home' Greymouth Star : January 23rd 2017 Contents 150 YEARS SINCE 1866
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ordained Maori bishop P2
Boston Marathon invites
Coast champ back P12
Foam bullets fired
A young Hokitika man apparently
unhappy with standards at
McDonald ’s in Greymouth jumped
on to the counter and fired two ‘nerf ’
guns during a bizarre incident on
Saturday. Greymouth prevention
sergeant Paul Watson said the
22-year-old fired foam rubber bullets
from a children’s toy gun while
yelling comments about the standard
of the food on offer, about 3.30pm.
He then scarpered but was found by
police a short while later and charged
with disorderly behaviour.
A cycling tour group staying at
a Westport motel overnight last
Thursday had its bicycles stolen.
Police said the group’s six Avanti
hybrid bikes were chained up
and last seen outside the Chelsea
Gateway Motel about 9pm on
Thursday. The following morning
the group went out to find the chain
cut and the bikes gone. Greymouth
prevention sergeant Paul Watson
said the touring cyclists were on
an organised tour and their bikes
were being carried on a cycle trailer.
The missing bikes each had yellow
flags mounted to them. Three of the
bikes were coloured black with red
and blue Avanti logos. Mr Watson
said it was likely the bikes were still
in the Westport area and he urged
anyone with information on their
whereabouts to contact police.
It sometimes takes thousands of
people to make a single film or a
television series from beginning
to end, so there is bound to be a
few names out there that don’t
always get the recognition they
deser ve. Research by Digital Spy
has unearthed some hilariously
unfortunate names among the likes
of producers, graphic designers
and runners who get their shout
out in a film or show’s end credits,
from Speed Weed to Corky Burger.
Peter Bonerz is an actor in Melissa
and Joey and has previously
directed episodes of Friends and
Home Improvement. The immature
teenager in all of us will stifle a
giggle at Peter Bonerz. Other
bizarre names include Yolanda
Squatpump, Bambi Sickafoose
and Bean Peel? For tv and film
composer Thomas Wanker, who
worked on Buffy the Vampire
slayer, his unfortunate moinker was
too much and he now goes by the
name Thomas Wander.
— Daily Mail
Few showers becoming frequent
Tears, closure at Strongman
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Eleven of the children who lost their fathers in the mine explosion, gathered on Saturday outside the Strongman Mine portal 50 years later.
About 250 people were bussed up the
hillside to the Strongman Mine site
on Saturday for a poignant ceremony
to commemorate the tragedy that
unfolded there 50 years ago when an
underground explosion cost 19 lives.
As family, friends and former
workmates arrived shortly after 10
o’clock, flickering candles, 19 in number,
stood sentinel at the mine portal — a
simple but stark reminder of the human
tragedy of the events of January 19,
For many — including sur viving
widows and children — it was their first
visit to the place where their husbands
and fathers died.
People gathered in solemn silence
after disembarking, deep in the Nine
Mile Valley, north of Rapahoe.
The tranquil setting of the site belied
the upheaval and sadness of the disaster
that fateful day in 1967.
There were tears and scenes of people
in thoughtful silence as they beheld the
place that changed their lives forever.
Gary Coghlan, whose father Lawrence
Coghlan died in the explosion,
acknowledged in te reo the most
important element at the heart of that
fateful day: “the people, the people, the
He also noted “a time of healing” the
50th commemorations offered for those
affected by the tragedy.
Strongman historian Peter Ewen
outlined how when “coal was king ”
Strongman was at its heart in the Grey
From its beginning in 1939 Strongman
was “going to be gassy” with 11 other
men losing their lives in single incidents
there, including a large explosion in
1956, aside from the 1967 tragedy.
There were 150 men working
underground at the time of the disaster,
with up to 296 who were scheduled to
be at work that day.
On Saturday there was a pause as
each name was read by retired Runanga
miner John Sturgeon — each with a
simple anecdote of the individuals who
Master of ceremonies, Archdeacon
Robin Kingston pondered the
“fortuitous slowing down” of the gas
State highway 73 will reopen to single
lane traffic past the Otira slip tomorrow,
but with delays, and the rail line is
expected to open on Wednesday.
The NZ Transport Agency said its
contractors had made good progress over
the weekend clearing the significant slip
that buried the highway and railway line
near Deception Point, between Aickens
About 9000 cubic metres of material
was removed yesterday.
NZTA journey manager Lee Wright
said the slip was far larger than initial
estimates, and was now put at between
40,000 and 50,000 cubic metres.
From 8am on Tuesday the highway
will reopen to one lane with 10-minute
openings on the hour during daylight
hours only, from 8am to 7pm. The road
will be closed to all traffic overnight.
“This will continue for several days so
crews can remove the remaining slip
material and make the highway safe for
two lanes of traffic again,” Ms Wright
“ People need to factor in extra time
for this journey until we have both lanes
Kiwi Rail said it was hoping to reopen
the Midland Line on Wednesday,
although that was highly weather
dependent. The Tranz Alpine passenger
ser vice is currently operating a daily
return ser vice from Christchurch to
Intercity will put on a temporary bus
ser vice from tomorrow, through the
As the power lines were also taken out
by the slip, the railway crossing warning
lights in the Otira to Jacksons area are
not operating and Kiwi Rail will be
manually controlling these crossings
when the trains resume.
“S low down and be prepared to stop at
all level crossings,” Ms Wright said.
PICTURE: NZ Transport Agency
Contractors working on the slip late
explosion, which had saved many
more lives, and those who stayed for
14 hours to bring out the first 15
He also noted healthy and
dangerous grief — with the former
well acknowledged in the local
community with public memorials —
and touched on more recent events
and how the police, fire and Mines
Rescue all recognised their parameters
at the time.
“ It was wonderful that they
recognised that Mines Rescue were
the ones in charge,” Mr Kingston said.
In contrast, the police took charge at
the Pike River disaster.
after wards, Anthony
O’Donnell recalled as a seven-year-
old seeing the stricken face of one of
his aunts and how he “just knew ” his
father was dead.
He said on Saturday the 50th
commemorations had underscored
the “common experience” of the
mining fraternity —
together, staying together”.
Strongman 50th co-organiser Rose
Green said they were rapt with how it
had all come together since October.
“ It’s like family coming together —
talking, laughing and crying.”
It had included the surprise of people
connected to the tragedy returning
who had previously been untraceable,
but who had heard about the reunion
and showed up “on the spur of the
Former coalminer and Mines Rescue
volunteer Harry Bell, later New
Zealand’s chief inspector of mines,
paid tribute to the reunion organisers:
We had an awful lot of reminiscing,
of course ... and there was a few wee
Photo special, p 6-7.
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