Home' Greymouth Star : February 14th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, February 14, 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 Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly.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
1779 - British explorer James Cook and four
marines from his ship, the Resolution, are killed
in Hawaii after disputes with locals.
1797 - British fleet under John
Jervis and Horatio Nelson defeat
Spanish off Cape St Vincent.
1893 - Hawaii is annexed by treaty
to United States.
1922 - Italian scientist Guglielmo
Marconi begins the first regular
radio broadcasting transmission from
1929 - Seven hoodlums, rivals of Al Capone’s
gang in Chicago, are murdered in the St
Valentine’s Day Massacre.
1988 - Death of Austrian-US composer
Frederick “Fritz” L oewe, who co-wrote musicals
including My Fair Lady, Gigi and Brigadoon.
2013 - Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee
Olympic sprinter dubbed the Blade Runner, is
charged with the killing of his girlfriend.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Israel Zangwill, English author (1846-1926);
Jack Benny, US comedian (1894-1975); Jimmy
Hoffa, US union leader (1913-1975); Florence
Henderson, US actor-singer (1934-2016); Carl
Bernstein, US (Watergate) journalist
(1944-); Gregory Hines, US actor-
dancer (1946-2003); Teller, US
magician and illusionist
(1948-); Meg Tilly, US actress
(1960-); Simon Pegg, English actor
and comedian (1970-); Cadel Evans,
Australian cyclist (1977-); Rocky
Elsom, Wallabies player (1983-).
“ We are effectively destroying ourselves by
violence masquerading as love.” — R .D Laing,
Scottish psychiatrist (1927-1989).
“ I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the
growth. So neither the one who plants nor the
one who waters is anything, but only God who
gives the growth.” — (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
The Strongman State
coalmine has given up
two of its dead, while
three teams of proto
men are toiling in the noxious atmosphere of
Gren’s Dip section for the remaining two bodies.
The names of the miners recovered are Ernest
Henry Smith, aged 60, D unollie, married with
two children; and Jan Antoni Trukawka, aged
35, Cobden, married with three children.
The two bodies yet to be recovered are those of
Dudley John Robinson, Runanga; and Kenneth
Errol Moore, Greymouth.
A Hokitika-born man flew from Auckland,
dropped in to his hometown on Saturday
morning, where he had a chat with three
cousins, Mesdames T Mallinson, M Teen and
E Butler, took off for Milford and D unedin,
and was back in Auckland at the night trots
later that day. He is Wing Commander Bernard
O’Connor whose means of conveyance was a
His hometown stop made history as the
Hercules became the largest aircraft ever to land
on the Seaview airport.
When a tyre burst a car skidded off the road
a few miles south of Westport yesterday and
turned on its back. Three high school students
from Westport were admitted to the Buller
Hospital as a result.
The three injured, though not seriously,
are Dale Martin, 17, Jennile Roche, 15, and
Lorraine Schroder, 15.
A new addition to the Greymouth fishing
fleet will cross the bar shortly after its maiden
voyage from Nelson where the boat was built
The 40ft ‘dream boat ’ of Mr I R Fawcett will
be called Cleone and is to be used for trawling
out of Greymouth and crayfishing in Milford
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
ow has your work with
the Lawrence Chinese
Trust evolved and what
keeps you motivated to
lead the Chinese Camp
Of all the Chinese camps in the
Otago goldfields, the Lawrence Chinese
Camp was the earliest, biggest and
most important site because it was, with
Lawrence, at the main gateway to the
goldfields. Founded in 1867, it was a
mining settlement of about 100 Chinese.
It has good records, is easily accessible,
was nearly all unploughed land and
was up for sale together with adjacent
land. It is an excellent, affordable site
to explore and restore. So in 2004, the
camp was bought privately with help
from the Department of Conser vation,
and a Lawrence Chinese Camp Trust
was formed. The first work undertaken
was four successive archaeological digs,
led by the Archaeology Department of
the University of Otago. Their findings
are unique and a book recording them is
nearly completed for publication.
What involvement have you had with
the Joss House, which is being publicly
unveiled at an open day at the Chinese
Camp this weekend?
Three buildings of the camp have
remained — the brick Chinese Empire
Hotel, its stables and the Poon Fah Joss
House. The latter was built in 1869 as
a wooden, essentially one-room small
building. Yet it had important three-fold
functions, as a venue for meetings, a
hospice for dying men, and a place with
an altar to departed souls. Thus while
other weatherboard buildings of the
camp crumbled away, the Joss House was
maintained to the last. It was purchased
and saved in 1948 by a university lady
with links to the Canton Villages
Mission. She shifted the building into
Lawrence as a bach, and it passed through
three other owners who took good care
of it. Finally it was bought by the trust
and the Clutha District Council, and
was recently moved back to its old camp
site with help from the Chinese Poll Tax
Trust and Otago Community Trust. The
Chinese Camp trust will restore it as well
What other projects are planned at the
Chinese Camp, and what do you hope
the camp will become for the Lawrence,
Chinese and wider community?
After the Joss House is restored, the
camp trust will renovate the Chinese
Empire Hotel room by room, and after
that, the stables. This will set up a cluster
of original buildings which can serve
as a nucleus for further replacements
and restorations in the camp, which
had 25 sections and premises. There
is plenty of land for development.
Meanwhile, a wide, safe entry for
parking, together with flying dragon
flags and bilingual explanatory panels,
will make the three existing buildings
a significant stopover, the more so as a
tourist node in a revival of a proposed
Chinese Heritage Mining Trail.
Is it possible to reconcile the way
Chinese miners were treated when
they worked in New Zealand? What
kind of contribution did they make
to our communities and how should
they be honoured?
The Chinese gold seekers were
Cantonese who principally worked in
the second stage of Otago goldmining,
that is, after the goldrush and before
the third stage, which involved river
gold in gold dredging and deeper,
more dispersed gold in sluicing with
elevating. Their stage began in 1865
to rework the shallow gold deposits
by small claim mining, and these
deposits were largely exhausted by
the early 1880s. D uring that time,
the Chinese formed up to 40% of
Otago’s miners, with a peak number
of 4000, and were generally seen as
beneficial to the province, both as
miners and as non-mining labour.
This tolerant phase was followed by
a long prejudiced period, when the
Chinese were regarded as competitors
for the remaining shallow gold in Otago,
and as they left the exhausted goldfields
for other occupations they were slated as
The national anti-Chinese attitudes
remained at a high level into the 1920s
before slowly declining. However, the tide
turned much earlier in inland Otago, in
the 1890s. By then the Chinese numbers
were fading and ageing, and public
sympathy and good memories re-emerged
towards them. A book is sponsored by the
Chinese Camp trust which describes the
Otago trend towards Chinese and some
of their achievements, notably by Choie
Sew Hoy in third stage gold dredging and
sluicing. It is nearly completed.
Can you describe your own arrival in
New Zealand. What did you hope to find
here and where did you and your family
My grandfather was one of the
last Chinese to be naturalised before
naturalisation was stopped for them in
1908. So through my grandfather, with
his naturalisation passed on to my father, I
was able to come with my mother in 1941
with the last of the Chinese war refugees.
We went to Gore, where my father
had a laundry and the Ngs had a long
history in market gardening and laundry
work. Before the coming of the refugees,
there were few Chinese families in New
Zealand and post-war, the former were
allowed to stay and encouraged to settle.
How did your education shape your life
and what specialties did you study and
follow in your professional career?
I was five-years-old, and was fortunate
to proceed through primary and
secondary schools and medical school.
So I had two elemental factors which
moulded my life — my home, which
was Chinese, and my schooling, which
was as a New Zealander. In both worlds,
many people befriended and guided me.
The acme of my social integration and
assimilation was in general practice, in
which, despite my deficiencies, patients
trusted and befriended me.
How did your role as Chinese historian
come about? What do you enjoy so much
about honouring the past and what
projects have you been involved with?
In 1959, my classmate Jack Fraser and
I did a joint medical thesis on blood
pressures of Chinese in New Zealand.
We found that these were about halfway
between blood pressures of Cantonese in
China and Europeans in New Zealand.
Why was this so? Surely social integration
and assimilation played a role. My task
was to trace out New Zealand Chinese
history in explanation, and so began my
life-long interest in this. There were few
sources of referral then and I suppose
it became a challenge to expand the
Tell us about your previous published
book, Windows on a Chinese Past?
For Windows on a Chinese Past, my
publisher George Griffiths was amazing.
He never once mentioned costs and
encouraged me to include as much detail
as possible in order to illuminate what
he saw as an obscure subject. Windows
apparently has somewhat fulfilled his
hope for it, to provide a base level of
description and data for succeeding books.
What other interests do you have?
I belong to a fast disappearing New
Zealand Chinese generation that had
experienced what it was like for our
ethnicity before our extensive assimilation
into the wider society. We are the only
ones left who can tell how our parents’
generation lived and how we younger
ones lived in the 1940s through into the
1960s. So I have written a manuscript on
those years and hope I can satisfactorily
finish it. Meanwhile, Knox Archives
has kindly put aside a room to receive
my collection of documents and library
and my wife’s tapes of interviews and
You were awarded an MBE in 1989 and
made a Companion of the New Zealand
Order of Merit in 1996. What does the
More than is usually the case, the
honours I have received are due in very
great part to the people in the Pakeha,
Maori and Chinese communities who
have helped me.
The public unveiling of the Chinese
temple was held at an open day at the
Lawrence Chinese Camp at the weekend.
PICTURE: Otago Daily Times
Lawrence Chinese Camp Charitable Trust chairman Dr James Ng.
Dunedin historian, doctor, writer and Lawrence Chinese Camp Charitable Trust
chairman Dr James Ng has had an illustrious career in a professional and voluntary
capacity. PAM JONES of the Otago Daily Times asks him about an ongoing project
close to his heart and his journey through dual cultures.
Chinese restoration leader
Igor Ilic and Matt Robinson
An international exhibition about Anne
Frank had already toured over 20 schools
across Croatia when it ran into trouble
last month in the coastal city of Sibenik,
spotlighting the nation’s struggle to resolve
its dark World War Two past.
The story of the Holocaust diarist
and her death at age 15 in a German
concentration camp had been well received
in a country that during the war was run
by a Nazi puppet regime.
So the exhibition co-ordinator, Maja
Nenadovic, was “flabbergasted” when the
headmaster of Sibenik’s Technical School
decided to remove six of the exhibition
panels that focused on Croatia’s former
fascist Ustashe era.
“He basically had a problem with the
Ustashe being painted negatively,” said
Nenadovic. “ It kind of left me speechless.”
Historians say the Ustashe systematically
persecuted and murdered Jews, Serbs
and Roma. But the Sibenik headmaster
objected that the six panels had nothing to
do with Anne Frank and ignored killings
of Croats by wartime anti-Nazi Partisans.
The organisers packed up the entire
installation and moved it out of Sibenik,
which sits in an historically conser vative of
Croatia, to another school in the eastern
town of Nasice.
The response of Croatia’s conser vative
government was muted. It played down
the matter, reflecting what critics say is a
growing tolerance in the European Union’s
newest member state for those who would
try to sanitise its World War Two record.
Concerns about the risks of revisionism
have risen since the Croatian Democratic
Union, which led Croatia to independence
from Yugoslavia through a 1991-95 war,
took power again in 2015 on pledges to
revive its flagging economy and promote
conser vative values based on family and
Critics say the phenomenon is
disturbing for hopes of lasting stability
and development in the Balkan region,
and reflective of a revival of nationalist
sentiment across Europe.
“The HDZ is pursuing a two-faced
policy,” Ivo Josipovic, the Social
Democratic president of Croatia from
2010 to 2015, told the Serbian daily
Politika this month.
“ When they speak in Israel or in
European institutions, they are big anti-
fascists. However, at home they turn a
blind eye to ‘Ustasha-philia’, which is
Croatia has never fully confronted the
crimes of the Ustashe fascists between
1941 and 1945, many historians say.
Many Croats, too, fought on the side
of communist Partisans under Josip Broz
Tito, who emerged victorious and brought
Croatia into a Yugoslav federation that
linked Serbs, Croats and Muslims under
the mantra “ brotherhood and unity”.
Fifty years later, mainly Catholic Croatia
seceded from Serbian-dominated federal
Yugoslavia in a war against Orthodox
Croatian Serb rebels armed from Belgrade.
At the time, Croatian nationalists began
casting the Ustashe in a more favourable
light as patriots and precursors of the
modern Croatian state, a revisionist
approach that continued after the war
Serbia, too, has flirted with rewriting
history. In May 2015, a Belgrade court
quashed the conviction of World War
Two Serbian royalist commander Draza
Mihailovic, almost 70 years after Partisans
executed him for collaborating with the
The ghost of Mihailovic’s ultra-
nationalist Chetnik fighters was revived
by some Serb paramilitaries as they fought
to carve out a Greater Serbia during
Yugoslavia’s bloody disintegration. One of
the lawyers arguing Mihailovic’s case was
at the time an aide to current, nationalist
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.
In Croatia, the incident with the Anne
Frank exhibition followed a dispute in
December over a plaque placed near the
site of the Ustashe concentration camp
in the central town of Jasenovac, where a
memorial centre bears the names of more
than 83,000 Serb, Jewish, Roma and anti-
fascist Croat victims.
The plaque, erected by a group
of veterans of the 1991-95 war in
remembrance of 11 fallen comrades,
included the salute Za Dom — Spremni
(For the Homeland — Ready), one that
was used by the Ustashe and dusted off
by Croatian nationalists in the 1990s as
they fought to forge a new independent
It can still be heard chanted from the
stands of Croatian soccer stadiums.
Answering complaints about the plaque,
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic called
it a “delicate” issue and said he
would form a commission to
look at how the state should
regulate all symbols and slogans
of totalitarian regimes — fascist
“ I want to firmly reject all
insinuations about the ‘re-
fascistisation’ of the Croatian
people. That ’s not the case,”
said Plenkovic. “ This is about
certain occurrences that do not
represent a trend.”
But the small Jewish
community was outraged
by what they saw as the
government ’s inaction and
boycotted the State event
Holocaust Remembrance Day
on Jan. 27.
Two days earlier, a municipal
building in the capital Zagreb
had hosted a roundtable
discussion entitled Jasenovac-
False Myth, at which
participants disputed the death
toll and whether it was really a
For decades Serbs and Croats
have argued over how many
people were really killed at
Analysts said the HDZ reticence evinced
a reluctance to alienate a vocal part of its
Zarko Puhovski, a political philosophy
professor in Zagreb, said that to change
the atmosphere in Croatia, what was
needed was a clear condemnation of
crimes committed by communists and
a greater awareness that the Ustashe
“ brought no good”.
“ When all that becomes part of public
awareness, when the leftists also realise
they must acknowledge communist crimes
after World War Two, then we will have
a situation that would allow for a rational
discussion. I’m afraid we are still pretty far
from that,” he said.
Moreover, he said, it is “tragicomic” that
the prime minister had cast the dispute
over the plaque as “delicate”.
“ It is anything but a delicate matter. We
don’t have people in the public sphere
who are capable of responding radically to
radical incidents. ”
In Sibenik, headmaster Josip Belamaric
protested at the exhibition panels that
examined the Ustashe regime, Jasenovac
and the plight of Jewish children in 1941-
45 Croatia, notably that of Lea Deutsch,
a celebrated child actress in Zagreb who
died aged 16 in a cattle wagon taking her
Such content was irrelevant to an exhibit
about Anne Frank and the Holocaust,
Belamaric told local news portal Sibenski
List. Contacted by Reuters, he said: “I
have no further comments to make as I
did not throw anyone out of the school.”
A Croatian government spokeswoman
said Plenkovic had already spoken out
on the issue of alleged revisionism and
that “nothing new can be added at the
The exhibition, created by the Anne
Frank Museum in Amsterdam, has
toured more than 40 countries worldwide.
In each, it includes panels examining
that country’s own experience with the
Holocaust, or more recent human rights
The fact that, before Sibenik, it had
visited 23 Croatian schools without
incident spoke to the readiness of students
and their teachers to confront the Ustashe
period, which other wise receives only
limited treatment in Croatian textbooks.
The six panels at issue were later installed
in Sibenik’s newly-opened anti-fascist
museum and other parts of the exhibition
appeared on billboards in the city, paid for
by the newspaper Nacional in protest at
the headmaster’s stance.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the
Holocaust research body, demanded
authorities dismiss Belamaric. The centre
said that failing to do so “will indicate that
Ustashe nostalgia is perfectly legitimate in
today ’s Croatian school system”.
In response, Croatian Education
Minister Pavo Barisic said he would
propose to both sides that they agree how
to salvage the “essence” of the exhibition.
“ We believe that students should be
able to see it, and for it to be freed of all
conflictual content,” he was quoted as
telling the state news agency HINA.
Nenadovic, the exhibition co-ordinator
who is Croatian, said she was “ horrified”
by Barisic’s statement.
“There is absolutely nothing contentious
in our panels. We do not falsify history,
nor do we deny it.” — Reuters
Anne Frank exhibition sparks row in Croatia
Students at a Anne Frank exhibition.
Links Archive February 13th 2017 February 15th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page