Home' Greymouth Star : February 3rd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, February 3, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1014 - King Sweyn I of Denmark dies and is
succeeded by his son, Canute II the Great.
1919 - League of Nations meets for the first
time in Paris.
1931 - Huge earthquake strikes New
Zealand, almost destroying the
towns of Napier and Hastings and
killing 256 people.
1943 - British bombers pound
German city of Hamburg.
1945 - US aircraft drop 3000
tonnes of explosives on Berlin;
US forces recapture Manila in
Philippines from Japanese.
1959 - Rock singers Buddy Holly, Richie
Valens and J P (Big Bopper) Richardson die in
a US plane crash.
1960 - British Prime Minister Harold
Macmillan addresses the South African
parliament, saying: “ The wind of change is
blowing through this continent.”
1973 - Fighting in Vietnam comes to a halt
after a ceasefire goes into effect.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Felix Mendelsson, German composer (1809-
1847); Gertrude Stein, US author (1874-1946);
Norman Rockwell, US artist (1894-1978);
James Michener, US author (1907-1997); Joey
Bishop, US entertainer and Rat
Pack member (1918-2007); Shelley
Berman, US comedian (1925-); Val
Doonican, Irish singer (1927-2015);
Frankie Vaughan, British entertainer
(1928-1999); Dave Davies, British
guitarist of The Kinks (1947-);
Melanie, US singer (1947-); Morgan
Fairchild, US actress (1950-); Amal Clooney,
British-Lebanese human-rights lawyer (1978-).
“There is a coherent plan in the universe,
though I don’t know what it’s a plan for.”
— Sir Fred Hoyle, English astronomer-author.
“ He on whom you see the Spirit descend and
remain is the one who baptises with the Holy
Spirit.” — ( John 1:33).
searchers for Buller
deposits of uranium
have been offered the
help of a Hokitika man Mr D H Pearson who
knows the country in which he believes large
deposits may be found. Mr Pearson, who has
taken considerable private interest in West
Coast mineral deposits, spent a considerable
time in Buller, especially behind Karamea
doing MOW sur veys for dams, then later as a
The DSIR hopes to find sufficient uranium in
the Buller-Nelson area to supply fuel for New
Zealand’s first proposed nuclear power plant.
Ronald Ryan went to the gallows at
Melbourne’s Pentridge prison this morning as
Greymouth endorsed his death sentence. Ryan,
the Pentridge prison escaper who shot and
killed a warder when breaking from the jail on
December 19, 1965 received hardly a word of
compassion from a cross-section of Greymouth
people as the hour of his hanging drew near.
Reaction here to his death sentence clashed
sharply with that of some people in Melbourne
where last night 100 demonstrators were
arrested as they protested against the pending
execution, the first in Melbourne for 16 years.
The Post Office Savings Bank commenced
business in New Zealand’s main centres plus
Hokitika 100 years ago in February 1867.
It is planned to decorate the inside of the
Greymouth Post Office in honour of the
The exact date on which the Greymouth
office began business is not known, but an
initial entry of August 1867 in the first ledger
suggests the office was opened about that time.
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
Walking around town it is disgusting,
with weeds in gutters, and behind
buildings next to Tasman Tyres there
is gorse and blackberries. Also the
laundrette in Smith Street is
The town needs a spruce-up — nice
plants, hanging baskets around the
shopping area. Come on council,
get your A into G and open your
What do the tourists think? The
buildings are shabby, they need nice bright
colours. Attitudes need to change and the
council needs to take charge. Action is the
Marion Foskett, Irene Chambers,
L Roberts, Ken Foskett, Joy Bonallack
What a tonic to spend a glorious
day last Saturday visiting gardens
in Greymouth and the Grey
A huge ‘thank you’ to the lovely
Coasters who opened their gardens
for the day, and to the organisers and
Home help cut again
On January 11 I was interviewed re
DHB home help hours. It was left to
my embarrassed home helper to tell me
yesterday that the half hour was now 15
minutes on her roster.
Last week I had an appointment at the
hospital, so the day before, I rang the
service and got voicemail. I left a message
that I had an appointment at the hospital,
and asked them to tell my home help to
come in one hour later to make sure I
was home. The message was not passed
on, which meant that the home help
arrived while I was still at the hospital, so
consequently no home help for that day.
I think the DHB officer needs a crash
course in how to answer the telephone
and pass on messages — or was he playing
Mr Wheble’s tear-jerking statement
(Greymouth Star, January 24) about costs
appears confused and means that ser vice
is reduced immediately, rather than his
“ser vice will be reduced over time”. Double
Mr Wheble also forgot to mention
that changing staff from ‘casual’ to
‘permanent ’ means large pay cuts for them,
while the hourly rate for the DHB top
three is over $120 per hour.
It is now 10.30am, and no home help
Kia ora Star readers. I am interested in
New Zealand and am seeking pen friends
to exchange real letters, photos, postcards
and information about our countries.
My other interests include gardening,
herbs, wildflowers, wildlife, music and cats.
I am a retired Cornishwoman living near
Lands End, which is similar to your Cape
Please write to me at:
Morwen M Tregudda
7 Long Row
Cornwall TR19 6UN
very year in late January
a community of tents
emerges from a paddock in
Kiwiburn brings together
artists, and alternative types
many would call them hippies but they
themselves call burners.
Money is no good here; you take what
you need for the five-day festival, or rely
on the kindness of your fellow man.
There are no scheduled performances
here, the burners are the entertainment.
Shelley Watson the media liaison meets
us at the gate of the paddock. She’s
wearing top half of a marching band
uniform speckled with patches of golden
While her bottom half has nothing but
We jump in her car and follow the flow
of traffic directed by volunteers in hi-vis
A sign on the road reads “we’re trying
to start a community of anarchists, but
please obey the rules.”
As we drive over the hill a city of tents
in various stages of construction comes
“It’s a shame you couldn’t come
tomorrow, that ’s when things pick up,”
This year 1600 people have come, up
200 from the year before.
“ While you’re here we ask that you
respect people’s privacy and only take a
picture if you ask their permission.”
The first thing that stands out as we
enter the paddock is a giant wooden man
three storeys high, in the centre of it all.
Underneath him a lone shirtless figure
dances to music only he can hear.
One of the effigy’s build team Nicholas
Lealand will tell me it took a crew of
11 two weeks to build the figure, with
months of prefabrication work, but it was
all worth it.
“The build is very important for me,
you have the time it takes to develop
much deeper friendships, you make a
lot of friends in Kiwiburn but with the
build you have 10 people and you know
everything about them by the end.”
Nicholas, an industrial design student,
always marks down this date in the
calendar to be here, a place he considers a
kind of home.
Wearing a swanndri and sporting giant
curling sideburns, he tells me Kiwiburn is
where he feels normal.
“The burn reminds you that there are
a whole lot of other people out there
that are just as weird as you are, if not
The story of Kiwiburn traces its way
back to the first Burning Man festival in
the United States, with a bonfire ritual on
the summer of 1986. Larry Har vey, Jerry
James, and a few friends met on Baker
Beach in San Francisco and burned a 3m
The event would grow and move to
the Nevada Desert. That is where a
New Zealander doing his doctorate in
seismology by the name of Mark Stirling
would stumble upon the event eight years
later while camping with his friends.
He told me he had gone out to the
desert often, but this trip he discovered
something a little different.
“ We meet all these interesting people
at the local hot springs. They told us they
were there for this thing called Burning
Man and we should come check it out.”
“When we got there I have to say it was
a transformational experience it was like
. .. wow this is so cool.”
At that time Burning Man in 1994
had a small following of 2000 visitors --
nothing compared to the 70,000 in 2016
that made the pilgrimage.
During his study he would visit the
desert again three more times before
heading home to New Zealand.
“I really missed the burning man
culture, around about that time I started
to get this idea.”
During that time regional Burning Man
events were springing up in other states
throughout the US but nobody had taken
the event overseas.
“I got the idea of doing one, having
an international community in New
“I thought the world deser ves to
have this idea internationally and this
community, it’s so amazing, let ’s see
whether New Zealanders get it.”
He made his case to the burning man
office and met with the event organisers
that included the original creator Larry
“The young folk were asking a lot about
insurance and details and then Larry, the
big changing moment was when Har vey
world and said ‘look you guys we’re here,
this guy ’s wanting to establish a burn
down here in New Zealand. It’ll be our
first international regional, let ’s make it
And with that the New Zealand
Kiwiburn attached itself to the Visionz
festival. At this first event 95 people
came, the event would grow to a few
hundred by 2006.
Mark would eventually pass on the
torch to a new generation and in 2007
the event came to the North Island,
setting up in Mangakino first, before
settling in Hunter ville in 2013.
Chris Hankins was one of the
organisers during those years. He says
while many district councils supported
the idea of the event their region, the
nature of Kiwiburn did raise a few
“ When I met with the council manager
from Mangakino and we were sitting
outside the site, I was honest with her
and said ‘look by the way this festival
is quite unique.’ I said there is a lot of
“And she kind of looked at me and said
‘ how much?’ “
“I said ‘well there could be about 20
nude people,’ and she said ‘oh umm
Chris says as the years went by the
event steadily grew bigger. It could have
grown much faster, but Kiwiburn is not
about the numbers game.
“It’s not promoted, you know, it’s not
advertised all over the newspapers, it’s
word of mouth.”
But burners still come from all across
New Zealand and about one in five come
“Even people who have been to
the States and have been to burning
man in the desert which is an insane
environment, you’re like on another
planet. But they come here to a green
pasture paddock, with sheep running
around and they are blown away.”
Like burning man, Kiwiburn asks
that everyone practise the 10 guiding
principles of “radical” inclusion, self-
reliance and self-expression, community
co-operation, civic responsibility, gifting,
immediacy and leaving no trace.
Because money is no good at Kiwiburn
everyone relies on a gifting economy.
Some will gift food, others may have
skills they can gift like singing or
One Facebook post advertises they will
be providing coffee but they would love
it if people would donate beans and milk,
and last year a workshop taught fellow
burners how to work leather.
It may be unorganised, a person may
wander the grounds, and others may set
up permanent tents and invite burners to
come to them.
One of these permanent groups is Chur.
I walk into an archway made of
driftwood. One of Chur’s organisers, Don
Simon, greets us.
Wearing a bright suit made of a patch-
work of rainbow colours, he tells us that
“Chur” is a community within Kiwiburn,
a community within a community.
“ We’ve got five structures going up.
Over here we’ve got both the sacred and
the profane. So we’ve got a lovely lush
yoga workshop space and then we’ve
got the ‘church of doof,’ a profane space
where you can party all night and make a
lot of noise.”
He points me in the direction of two
tents side by side, made from recycled
bamboo and billboard canvas.
One has Indian patterns adorning the
walls complete with throw pillows.
“ We’ve got two yoga instructors from
Spain who will do a workshop.”
Next to that is what looks like a tent
night club, with a disco ball hanging from
Apart from a costume area the rest of
the tents provide the ‘Chur’ community
with everything they need, including a
kitchen to store food and a washbasin.
‘Chur’ is one of many communities that
came together at Kiwiburn, but live on
past the festival. Throughout the year
they will plan for the next event. Other
smaller groups include ‘Mint ’ a group
of friends devoted to the colour green
and group of sci-fi fans who have built a
replica bar from Star Wars Episode IV.
Kiwiburn concluded on Saturday with
the burning of the wooden man.
The following night a temple belonging
to no religion was sent up in flames.
Messages to departed loved ones and
bad memories are scribbled along the
walls, it is a place for people to let go and
to burn away grief.
As our visit comes to an end and we
drive away and take one last look at the
wooden man, I can’t help but note, he has
turned his back on the city.
— New Zealand Herald-Wanganui
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
The giant wooden man watches over Kiwiburn, as tents emerge from the ground.
Emperor Nero, a technology
enthusiast, would have loved it; his
over-the-top golden palace in Rome
is about to get the virtual reality
From tomorrow, visitors to the
buried Domus Aurea (Golden
House) will be able to don headsets
to get a closer look at the frescoes on
its 12m-high walls.
The palace was built in 64AD after
fire swept through the city, the one
through which the man himself is —
probably apocryphally — said to have
“ We believe it is fundamental to
get visitors to understand what the
Domus Aurea was really like,” the
site’s special superintendent Francesco
Prosperetti said. “ We wanted to let
them experience it even better than
Named after the gold leaf covering
some of its walls, the palace was the
centrepiece of a complex that once
included an artificial lake where the
Colosseum now stands.
The exhibitionist emperor indulged
his penchant for clever contrivances
with benign inventions like a
revolving dining hall inside the palace
and more sinister plans such as,
according to legend, a collapsing ship
to carry his mother to a watery grave.
Filled with rubble by the later
Emperor Trajan, who built his baths
on top, the palace was rediscovered
in the 15th century. It has been
undergoing restoration in recent
The complex used to attract 1000
visitors a day before leaking water put
the underground chambers at risk of
collapse and prompted its closure.
Rome’s archaeological authorities
decided to open up the palace in 2014
to small groups of visitors, partly to
show people how the State-funded
restoration was progressing.
The site superintendent ’s office
has estimated reinforcing the palace
will cost 31 million euros ($45.87
million). — Reuters
Part of the Domus Aurea, built by Nero in 64AD and later buried by Emperor Trajan in Rome.
Virtual reality tours of Nero’s golden palace
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