Home' Greymouth Star : February 22nd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, February 22, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1370 - Robert II succeeds his uncle, David
II, as King of Scotland, inaugurating the Stuart
1819 - Spain cedes Florida to the US.
1879 - Frank Winfield Woolworth opens a
five-cent store in Utica, New York.
1913 - The Mexican military assassinates
revolutionary President Francisco Madero and
Vice-President Pino Suarez.
1928 - Australian aviator Bert
Hinkler arrives in Dar win in Avro
Avian, completing first UK-Australia
solo flight from Croydon in 15.5
1942 - It is announced that
tribesmen in the Philippines wiped
out a Japanese regiment; US General
Douglas MacArthur is ordered to leave the
Philippines. After his evacuation in March
he makes his way to Australia, vowing “I shall
1987 - US artist Andy Warhol dies in a
New York hospital, aged 58, after undergoing
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
George Washington, first US president (1732-
1799); Frederick Chopin, Polish composer
(1810-1849); Lord (Robert) Baden-Powell,
British army officer and founder of the Boy
Scout movement (1857-1941);
John Mills, British actor (1908-
2005); Edward “Ted” Kennedy, US
politician (1932-2009); Michael
Chang, US tennis player (1962-);
Steve Irwin, Australian naturalist
(1962-2006); Vijay Singh, Fiji golfer
(1963-); Drew Barrymore, US actress
(1975-); James Blunt, British singer (1977).
“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe
without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.”
— Anne Bradstreet, American poet
“ For the message about the cross is
foolishness to those who are perishing, but to
us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
— (1 Corinthians 1:18).
“Q uick, there’s
a fire!” “Right,
and which of
brigades would you like?” Yes, dialling 111 in
Greymouth this week could get a caller any fire
brigade in New Zealand. Although feasible, it
is highly unlikely that this converstion would
take place this week, however.
Anyone caught by fire here will not be able
to take the choice of any of the country’s fire
brigades. But really, there shouldn’t be any
trouble with fires in Greymouth for a week or
The four best men in 72 brigades from
Whangarei to Gore, will be in Greymouth
for a week for the United Fire Brigades’
Association competitions and conference. And,
if nothing else, they should be able to give
plenty of advice to those fighting fires.
A small patch of the Recreation Ground
is where nearly 300 of New Zealand’s top
volunteer firemen will match skills at the end
of this week. It has been laid out to perfection
by a busy band of Greymouth firemen
responsible for organising the championships
and the conference which follows.
Candidate for Southern Maori Miss Whetu
Tirikatene will arrive in Hokitika during
her election campaign late this afternoon,
Westland Labour representation committee
secretary Mr L Baty has said. She is contesting
the seat which was held by her late father Sir
Eruera Tirikatene before his death last month.
Miss Tirikatene will arrive on a special flight
and will stay with Mr W Tainui at Arahura Pa.
It is not known how long she will stay on the
uFood for thought
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hen race riots
sparked by the
shooting of two
Suleiman Diara to
abandon life as a fruit picker in southern
Italy he decided to turn his hand to
With 30 euro ($32) borrowed from an
Italian charity worker, he and a friend
bought 15 litres of milk and tried their
Six years on, the two friends and five
other migrants are running a small
organic farming business that United
Nations experts say is an example of
sustainable agricultural development,
which if replicated could help feed the
growing global population.
“ We named it Barikama, which means
‘resilience’ as we went through many
difficulties to open this company but we
never gave up,” he said referring to a term
used in Bambara, a language spoken in
his native Mali.
Born in a rural area of south-western
Mali, Diara arrived in Italy on a migrant
boat from Libya in 2008 hoping to make
enough money to buy his family a cow
and a plough.
“ We had no equipment to work the
land and struggled to produce enough
food for the whole year,” he said.
Italy has since become Europe’s main
entry point for refugees and migrants
fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the
A record 181,000 crossed the
Mediterranean last year, most on flimsy
boats run by people smugglers.
“I was told it would be easy to find a
job in Italy,” said the 32-year old. But the
reality turned out to be different.
Like thousands of others, Diara ended
up working in vegetable fields and fruit
orchards in conditions that have been
described as exploitative and slave-like by
rights groups and labour unions.
In January 2010, he was picking
oranges for 20 euros a day near the town
of Rosarno, in the southern Calabria
region, when a gang of white youths fired
air rifles at a group of African migrants
returning from work, injuring two of
The shooting set off riots that led
authorities to evacuate more than 1000
migrants from the town, including Diara
and his future business partners, who had
been living in abandoned factories with
no running water or electricity.
The group ended up homeless in Rome,
where they decided to have a go at
producing organic yoghurt.
In Mali, making yoghurt simply
required putting milk in a barrel and
waiting, Diara said, adding that this
seemed very appealing after two years of
back-breaking farm labour.
The young entrepreneurs adapted
the Malian method to the colder
climate, warming up the milk to trigger
fermentation, and started selling jars at
Initially they struggled to overcome
Italian customers’ diffidence.
“It’s not easy to do business in Italy if
you come from Africa and have a dark
skin,” said 31-year-old Barikama partner
Cheikh Diop who comes from Senegal.
“Many didn’t trust us, believing we had
poor hygienic standards.”
But the product gradually grew in
popularity thanks to its distinctive taste
and its makers’ friendly attitude, Diop
“Now we have elderly clients who say
the taste of our yoghurt reminds them of
their youth,” he said.
Operating from a farm overlooking a
lake outside Rome, Barikama now sells
about 200 litres a week. The business not
only provides a living for its partners, it
has also helped break down social
“By touring local markets I’ve learned
the language and met many nice
Italians,” said 26-year-old Malian Sidiki
Kone. “Before, I thought there were
no good people in this country,” he
added, referring to his time in
Set up as a social co-operative, an
enterprise that is granted tax cuts in
return for providing social ser vices, the
company also offers work opportunities
for Italians with Asperger syndrome, a
form of autism.
“It’s difficult for them to integrate
into society, as they have a hard time
communicating,” Diara said.
“ We thought their struggle is similar
communicate and fit in.”
Up to 90% of people with autism in
Europe are unemployed, according to
Diara and his friends deliver yogurt
door to door by bicycle, recycle empty
jars, collecting them from customers
after use, and have recently expanded
into growing and selling organic
“ We are all sons of farmers who grew
up surrounded by nature so we like to
support the environment,” said Diara.
Barikama has become a local
success story and in 2014 its partners
were invited to speak at an event on
sustainable farming hosted by the UN
Food and Agriculture Organisation in
“It’s a model that can be replicated
elsewhere,” said FAO officer Rosalaura
Romeo, referring to Barikama’s green
business approach to farming.
Small farmers produce most of the food
eaten in developing countries.
With climate change threatening food
security, the FAO says helping these
farmers to boost yield while protecting
the environment will be key to achieving
an ambitious plan agreed by world
leaders to end poverty and hunger by
Diara and Diop hope the experience
acquired in Italy will help them in their
long-term plan of starting a farming
business back home.
“My father farms peanuts, maize and
millet, while here I’ve learned to grow
aubergines and other vegetables that I
can try to plant there too,” said Diop.
Their immediate goal, however, is to
employ more migrants and disadvantaged
people in Italy.
“ We want to extend the vegetable
garden, increase yogurt production and
give more people a chance,” said Diara.
Cheikh Diop, left, and his business partner Ismail carry milk to make yoghurt at cheese factory in Casale di Martignano, near Rome.
Migrants show the way
My thanks to the Greymouth Star
(February 10) for their whimsical
selection of West Coast District Health
Board acronyms and associated oddities
I have long maintained that we should
laugh when they are being silly. Perhaps
this is the start? I am sure the DHB’s 12
pages — good grief ! (GG) — of acronyms
could provide enough material for a
As a person of somewhat advanced
years myself (POSAYM) I was especially
intrigued by HOPS, being the DHB’s
‘Health of Older People Strategy ’.
Does this mean that HOPS is their
cunning plan (CP) to promote health
in older folk (HOF) by getting senior
citizens to actually hop — perhaps with
hopping more than twice resulting in a
cut to their home help — if they have not
already had it taken away (ITHAHITA).
This all reminds me of the occasion when
I asked the assembled DHB management
brains trust what was meant by ‘WONCA’
on the board meeting papers — a not
unreasonable question (NUQ) given
that they assembled this material. Other
than flippant remarks about someone’s
chocolate factory they had no answer.
As for chief executive David Meate’s
comment, ‘Health does it (acronyms) like
no one else’. No, Mr Meates, ‘health’ does
not do it — foolish management does.
Enough of these matters; I am off for a
LCDAOIO (long cool dark ale of Irish
origin). One develops a terrible thirst
trying to follow all this bureaucratic utter
mumbo jumbo (BUMJ).
Democrats for Social Credit
I see it was recently reported that $800
an hour is being paid by government
departments for consultancy fees. Is this
why we can get no action on the Buller
I believe the time wasted and costs of the
no-hopers who will not make a decision
could well have brought the current
buildings up to a safe, practical condition.
I may be wrong but I have not seen
or heard of our National MP earning
her keep by jumping up and down and
screaming for productive action on Buller
Hospital or, in fact, much else. I wonder
why we have MPs when all they do is
draw big salaries with little by the way of
I say scrap a new building, bring the
current structures up to standard, and give
our doctors and health professionals the
things they need, like pay and conditions,
then we would have some faith in our
New Zealand systems.
A few words of concern with regard to
Westland Milk Products. I wonder how
things have got into such a shambles.
If we look back to the 1950s onwards
and the family farms with a 50 to 150 herd
of cows that had names, they produced
cream, pigs etc on 200 acres, and the
community was a good one.
The dairy factory turned out good butter
and the directors were in control. If it
had not been for those men — Mark
Wallace, Jack Marshall, Hugh Havill,
Ray Godfrey, Len (Spud) Linklater and
Jim Waffelbakker — there would be no
Westland Milk factory. They would turn
over in their graves if they knew what has
been going on in recent years, letting the
organisation get out of control in more
ways than one.
Yes, a lot has changed since then, but not
for the better.
Today ’s farms are today ’s factories and
everything that goes along with it. The
dollar dominates and results in more
pressure, more cows, more fertiliser, more
grass, more milk — the list goes on.
Seems like the horse has bolted out the
farm gate along with factory business
and good weather etc. It is time for
shareholders to take control, vote in a
new board and get a grip on the overall
It will be a sad day for the West Coast
if Westland Milk Products is on-sold to
the likes of Fonterra or worse still, the
Chinese. Surely a lesson should be learned
from the Kokiri meatworks saga, where it
grew like a mushroom and became a great
asset but, through greed, was almost lost to
There are a couple of old sayings: ‘Good
things only last a limited time’, and ‘some
things are too good to be true’.
What do other farmers think about the
With dread, we respond to the latest
public attack against us of February 20.
Within four days, June 24, 2013, of the
High Court June 19, 2013 judgment,
we fully repaid our rental and not one
cent has been outstanding since, so it
is factually incorrect that we had an
arrangement with the council to pay
rental and it is excessive, unwarranted and
gratuitous that this latest news item, in a
series of four, continually implies we are
In a letter to this paper (October
17, 2014), ‘We argued the leases were
perpetually renewable as recorded on the
lease itself and on the Land Transfer Act
registers’. This was the basis for defending
the council’s legal action against us,
whereby the council engaged prestigious
Wellington lawyers, authorising spending
of $1 million against a couple who were
never legally represented.
The council’s bankruptcy proceedings
against us for court awarded costs resulted
from the council rejecting our proposals to
repay over a three-year period.
On January 19, 2017, the court and
council were formally notified we were
satisfying the council’s bankruptcy claim
against us of $44,321, through the sale of
our home; the transaction was completed
on February 16, 2017 and payment made
to the council immediately.
Despite payment, we now face
bankruptcy while around 20 other lessees
who remain in debt to around $200,000
of outstanding rental, were offered
arrangements to pay; we are happy for
them but note the council’s inconsistent
debt recovery between us and other
Doug and Christine Banks
Home care cuts
It was good to see a good turnout at the
public meeting in Greymouth yesterday
about the changes to home help ser vices.
Many expressed concerns about the
process used in cutting back the existing
ser vices. Some stated the ser vices were cut
back after a needs assessment done over
the telephone. When an on site assessment
was done, this appears to have been done
by a nurse using a questionnaire without
including the opinions of the patient,
current caregivers or the family regarding
Few caregivers present at the meeting
stated they were not involved in the
decision making process to cut back the
ser vices, and had not been informed of the
public meeting by the DHB management.
The manager of the ser vices present at
the meeting explained that he had only
been working in the current management
position for three months and was
unaware of some of the practices until the
It was unclear whether the assessment
process for new home help clients is any
more robust than the review process. At
the least an explanation is sought for
any disabilities to ensure any treatable
problems are identified and treated.
Usually, medications are reviewed to
ensure they are necessary and not causing
any adverse effects. Usually, complex cases
require more than a questionnaire and
require assessment which includes an
examination and input by clinicians from
At the meeting, we were informed that
different clinicians including a geriatrician
were involved in the decision making.
However, the level of involvement by these
additional clinicians in the assessment and
follow-up processes remains uncertain.
In the past, with hospitalised patients,
medical problems were stabilised while
the patient was an in-patient, with input
from a team of doctors. Nurses provided
information from obser vations and not
just questionnaires. If physiotherapy was a
treatment option, the assessment was done
by a physiotherapist. If activities of daily
living needed formal assessment, this was
done by an occupational therapist.
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