Home' Greymouth Star : May 22nd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, May 22, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1455 - Opening battle in England’s 30-year
War of the Roses takes place at St Albans,
when the Lancastrians defeated the Yorkists.
1840 - An official order is issued ending the
practice of sending convicts from Britain to the
penal colony Australia. Effective in August, the
last ship arrived there in November.
1915 - In Britain’s worst rail disaster, 227 die
when a troop train collides with a
passenger train at Quintinshill, near
Gretna Green, Scotland.
1925 - Sir John French, British
soldier and commander of British
forces in the western front 1914-15,
dies. His leadership was noted for its
large loss of life, notably at Ypres.
1939 - Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini
sign Pact of Steel, a 10-year political and
military alliance between Germany and Italy.
1969 - The lunar module of Apollo 10 flies to
within 15km of the moon’s surface .
1981 - Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, is
jailed for life after being convicted of 13 counts
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Richard Wagner, German composer (1813-
1883); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, English author
(1859-1930); Daniel F Malan, South African
statesman, instituted apartheid (1874-1959);
Laurence Olivier, English actor (1907-1989);
Bob Dyer, American-born Australian
quiz-show king (1909-1984); Charles
Aznavour, French singer (1924-);
Richard Benjamin, US actor-director
(1938-); Michael Sarrazin, Canadian
actor (1940-2011); Barbara Parkins,
US actor (1942-); Betty Williams,
Northern Irish peace activist (1943-);
George Best, Northern Irish soccer
star (1946-2005); Bernie Taupin, English
songwriter (1950-); Iva Davies, Australian pop
singer (1955-); Gary Sweet, Australian actor
(1957-); Morrissey, English pop singer (1959-);
Naomi Campbell, English model (1970-); Katie
Price, English model and television personality
(1978-); Erin McNaught, Australian beauty
pageant and television presenter (1982-);
Novak Djokovic, Serbian tennis player (1987-);
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, British royal
“ You can tell the ideals of a nation by its
advertisements.” — Norman Douglas, British
“ For if the many died through the one man’s
trespass, much more surely have the grace of
God and the free gift in the grace of the one
man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.”
— Romans 5:15
A highly coveted
award in tap dancing,
the Flint Cup has
been won by a
Greymouth girl Miss Beverly Clark of Cowper
Street. The trophy was won at the Christchurch
competitions conducted during the first week
of the school holidays.
Standing half as tall as the girl herself, the
trophy symbolises supremacy in tap dancing,
and Beverly Clark at 12 years old is the
youngest ever competitor to win the award, it
is believed. Beverly won five trophies in all and
was second in four other dances.
The death in Christchurch last Tuesday of
Mr Hugh Lee, in his 85th year, has broken a
link with Kumara’s past. The late Mr Lee was
born at Westbrook, near Kumara, during the
goldrush and spent his youth at Cape Terrace.
He worked on many sluicing claims and water
races and road construction. He subsequently
took up bush work in the Kumara area. He
moved to Blackball about 30 years ago to work
in the Moonlight goldfields, and later was
employed on the Ngahere dredge.
His wife, a member of the A’Court
family predeceased him 17 years ago. He is
sur vived by four sons and four daughters; 28
grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mr Kevin Alexander Molloy, 47, died at
Greymouth on Saturday. He lived most of
his life at Moana where he was employed as
a motor mechanic, but had recently moved
to Blackball, working at Stillwater as a boiler
attendant. He had been in ill health for some
He is sur vived by his wife Maureen (a
member of the Doolan family), and seven
children, Kerry, Leo, Janet, Michael, Julie,
Brian and Therese.
uFood for thought
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Data key to Labour’s campaign strategy
Labour says its data range can help it calculate a person’s likelihood to vote, to vote Labour,
and what may be the best way to win them over. SAM SACHDEVA of Newsroom reports.
pening a session on
strategy at its congress
last Saturday, the party’s
and general secretary
Andrew Kirton went for an understated
“The good news about this campaign is
we’ve got a strategy — and we’re going to
That was perhaps a relief to delegates,
given Labour’s disastrous showing in 2014.
The party’s plan to turn out voters is
more comprehensive than that sounds —
demonstrated by the fact it invited media
to a briefing the day before to proudly
discuss its strategy.
Based on its current polling, Labour
estimates it would get 720,000 votes out
of the 2.4 million on offer, presuming an
80% voter turnout (up from 550,000 votes
Mr Kirton said the party planned to
grow its vote in two ways — trying to
win over the 240,000 voters who backed
National in 2014 but were open to
supporting Labour, and the 200,000 voters
“ who we think like us” but did not vote at
the last election.
The main focus at present was
“growing our volunteer army” through its
community action network.
Labour had learned from Wellington
Mayor Justin Lester’s successful campaign,
with 40% of his volunteers not members
of the Labour Party.
Mr Kirton said the party was operating
a system based on 15 geographical “hubs”
made up of several electorates.
Each hub was carrying out at least one
door knock and one phone bank a week,
with plans to steadily ramp up until that
became one per electorate.
The party had already made over 50,000
phone calls and over 16,000 door knocks,
up 79% on the same period last election.
“I ’m not sure we’ve been at this stage
of the campaign and had that figure on
screen of how many people we’ve talked
to this far out from an election, so that ’s
Mr Kirton said the party’s polling
suggested housing, inequality, poverty,
immigration and the economy were the
issues of most concern to the public —
although he was keen to avoid taking an
overly pessimistic slant.
“They don’t feel New Zealand is going to
hell in a handbasket. New Zealanders are
optimistic but there are a few issues they ’re
Rob Salmond, a political data analyst
for Labour, said while there was nothing
new about targeting voters likely to back
a party, the greater level of data now
available meant it could be far more
“ We can target not just at the
neighbourhood level, but at the street level,
the house level and person level as well, so
when you’re on the phone, you don’t need
to call every number in a strong Labour
area, because even if there is an area where
60% of the people support Labour, even if
you’re looking for volunteers, there’s still
40% of calls where it ’s not worth your time
Using data gathered from the electoral
roll, the census, public databases and party
information, Mr Salmond said Labour
could calculate a person’s likelihood to
vote, to vote Labour, and what may be the
best way to win them over.
He displayed a map of Auckland Central
broken down into “mesh blocks” — small
geographical areas, showing both strong
Labour and National areas and potential
“ If somebody is a company director,
living in a house and married to another
company director, that might tell us
something — but if they’re married to
a health professional, that might tell us
something a little bit different.
“All of that is guessing of course, we
can’t know any of it for sure, but guessing
on the basis of information is going to be
better than guessing on randomness.”
Whereas the Australian Labor Party
had a 64% improvement in identifying
supporters when calling the top 10% of
their list, as opposed to all numbers, the
New Zealand Labour Party’s gains were
117% (due to the greater population
diversity and level of information here,
rather than the quality of analysts).
Mr Salmond said the party was
working on a new statistical model
to better define voters most open to
changing their mind, both “attacking
targets” — right-leaning voters who
could be persuaded left — and “defensive
targets” — left-leaning voters who were
open to switching right.
Labour was also moving away
from direct mail, focusing instead on
conversations with people on the phone, at
their doors or in the streets.
“A personal conversation with someone
from Labour saying: ‘I’d love it if you
voted Labour’ is massively more influential
over a person than receiving a flyer in the
Data is crucial to that personal
approach: he showed the audience a
sneak peek of Labour Connect, a data
tool allowing members to build lists of
targets to persuade voters or get new
Of course, fundraising is crucial to
making all this happen — the best exhibit
of which was a slide pledging “no wallet
Mr Kirton said the party’s fundraising
was up 300% compared to the same period
A new, exclusive President ’s Club,
offering access to the party in exchange
for donations, had already brought in an
additional $70,000 despite operating for
only several weeks.
The Victory for Labour scheme, based on
membership with a monthly donation, was
raising $30,000 a year, while the party’s
on-line fundraising efforts had brought
in more than $1 million over “the last few
Of course, National is rapidly gathering
money too, and will have a similarly
As Mr Salmond said, “all of this is
useless” without the candidates and
volunteers making the best use of the
technology at their disposal.
Jumping spiders imported for research
Tiny jumping spiders are being
imported into New Zealand to further
develop world-leading research into their
remarkable intellect and 360-degree field
The University of Canterbury has been
importing spiders into a containment
facility at its Spider Laboratory for more
than 40 years.
Recent international research has
identified hundreds of new species
within the jumping spiders family
Salticidae, and the university applied to
the Environmental Protection Authority
(EPA) to have them added to the list
of approved species it may import for
Most species of interest come from
tropical and sub-tropical regions, including
Australia, Kenya and the Philippines.
Now, the EPA has granted approval
which will also allow any future species
of jumping spiders discovered to be
added, reducing the compliance burden
on scientists, who will not need to submit
continual new applications.
“Jumping spiders are one of the smartest
animals on the planet for their size, given
that typically they measure less than 1cm,”
EPA scientist Dr Clark Ehlers said.
“They have exceptional visual and spatial
abilities, and researchers will investigate
how they are able to for ward map and
execute decisions using these skills.”
The spiders have an almost 360-degree
field of view. Four or six secondary eyes act
as motion detectors, and when something
of interest is detected the spider spins
around to bring its two large, for ward-
facing primary eyes to bear.
“This sophisticated visual system is vastly
superior to their closest insect rivals, and
approaches that of primates,” University
of Canterbury Associate Professor of
Biological Sciences, Dr Ximena Nelson,
“This is a stunning demonstration of
evolutionary design and miniaturisation
that, were it understood, would make our
best robotics engineers weep.”
The University of Canterbury research
is at the forefront of work being done
worldwide on jumping spiders, which are
among the smartest on the planet for their
The spiders are renowned for their
remarkable visual ability, which rivals that
of primates, and for behaviour that is also
as complex as that of many mammals.
They have for ward planning ability and
the capacity to develop “mental maps”.
“ Jumping spiders provide a model to
understand how animals can process
information with very small brains, and
is of great interest in the fields of biology
and biorobotics,” Dr Nelson added.
PICTURE: Getty Images
A 5mm jumping spider.
With its sunset-like colours, Charnelle
Lumiere’s painting would seem warm and
happy, were it not for the limp body of a
young girl hanging from a tree, suspended
by a rope around her neck.
“This was me,” the 27-year-old says in a
voice barely louder than a whisper, staring
at the painting, oblivious to the rumble of
traffic outside the window in Cameroon’s
Having been raped at the age of six by a
23-year-old friend of her brother, Lumiere
recalls how she kept crying, blood trickling
down her legs, as her mother recoiled in
Seven years later, Lumiere finally
mustered up the courage to run away
when her uncle, too, began to sexually
But when the 13-year-old sought shelter
with a neighbour, she was allowed to
stay only one night. “ What happens in
the family, should stay in the family, one
should never interfere,” she told Lumiere,
and sent her home.
Aged 17, out of school and pregnant by
a classmate who had harassed her into
having sex with him, she decided to take
her own life by hanging herself.
Luckily, her brother found her and cut
her down from the tree with just seconds
mission to help a new generation of young
people avoid the same abuses.
She is not alone.
In Cameroon, more than 21,000 women
volunteers in more than 350 groups
around the country have come together as
part of RENATA — the national aunties
network — to help victims of sexual abuse,
violence and early pregnancy rebuild their
“ We call ourselves ‘tantines’ - aunties
in French,” said Cathy Aba, a 28-year-
old spokeswoman of RENATA who was
herself an victim of “breast ironing”, a
painful, dangerous practice designed to
suppress a girl’s physical development.
“Aunties, because an auntie is usually the
person a young person can seek help and
advice from on issues they can’t talk to
their parents about.
“ We are all young mothers, and we are
all sur vivors of abuse, so we know exactly
what we are talking about,” she said.
In Cameroon, beatings, sexual abuse and
rape, particularly within the family, are
issues often swept under the carpet.
According to a study done by RENATA
in 2009, nearly one in every 20 women
in the central African country had been
raped. Of those, almost every fifth attack
was carried out by a family member.
Many more cases simply go unreported,
said Flavien Ndonko, a medical
anthropologist who helped set up
RENATA in the 2000s and now works
for the aid agency Care International in
“ People never talk about it — and the
perpetrators, they know that,” said said.
RENATA also conducted studies that
revealed that 10% of victims in Cameroon
were raped before they were 10 years
old. So the “aunties” began an outreach
programme in primary schools, targeting
children as young as four and five.
“ With the children, the first part of what
we teach is about the private parts of their
body, that no one should be touching
them,” Lumiere, who has given many talks
in schools, said.
“ But then you have the cases where one
of the children tells me: ‘Oh, auntie, but
what if it’s daddy who touches me down
“Other times, you will notice the child
listening, and would grow more and more
quiet, won’t ask any more questions. and
after you would approach him and say
‘what ’s wrong’, and they tell you.”
The aunties invite parents in to discuss
cases, sometimes with psychologists, in
an attempt to break the silence: “Often
the families will say: ‘Even if it happened,
because it happened in the family, it stays
in the family’,” Lumiere said.
At night some of the aunties can be
found in the dark alleyways and brothels
of downtown Yaounde’s red-light district,
talking to sex workers and distributing free
Although funded for many years by
the German development agency GIZ,
RENATA receives small grants from
international donors, but is no longer fully
sponsored by anyone.
So the aunties work as volunteers, often
holding down second jobs as hairdressers,
shop-stall owners, teachers, restaurant
managers to make ends meet.
Some of their revenue is under threat
following President Donald Trump’s
order to reinstate the global gagging
rule which bans United States-funded
groups around the world from discussing
Aba, the RENATA spokeswoman, said
despite their dwindling resources, she and
the other aunties are determined not to
“ We won’t lower our arms — we will
continue, we will find other revenues. We
will continue our fight,” she said.
Their work is welcomed by Cameroon’s
government, grappling with low
commodity prices and an influx of
refugees fleeing conflict in Central African
Republic and northern Nigeria.
“Civil society organisations like this are
very important,” Francisca Moto of the
Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and
the Family said.
In parallel, the government was trying
to toughen up laws on sexual abuse and
let Cameroonians know it is a crime that
should not be ignored.
“The new penal code is harder on the
issue than before,” she said. There is also
“ increased awareness including among
children in primary and nursery schools ...
Silence is being broken by many families.”
For Lumiere and other aunties, there is
still much work to be done.
“ Many victims languish in silence due
to feelings of guilt,” she said. “I tell them
it’s not their fault. And . . . by speaking
out you can prevent the same people from
doing it to others.”
Above all, Lumiere said, her work is an
act of defiance after the abuse she endured.
“ For me, success is the best form of
revenge. ” — Reuters
Cameroon’s rape survivors battle sex abuse of girls
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