Home' Greymouth Star : June 2nd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, June 2, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1896 - Broadcasting by electromagnetic
waves is first patented by Italian Guglielmo
1924 - US Congress confirms citizenship of
all American Indians.
1932 - Major Frank Holmes, a
New Zealand engineer, strikes oil
for the first time in Bahrain.
1949 - Transjordan is renamed the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
1953 - Queen Elizabeth II of
England is crowned.
1967 - Second Battalion, Royal Australian
Regiment, arrives in Vietnam.
1990 - Sir Rex Harrison, British actor, dies.
1994 - Royal Air Force helicopter crashes on
Scottish coast, killing all 29 aboard.
1995 - A US F-16 fighter is shot down over
the Serb stronghold of Banja Luka. The pilot
hides and is rescued by a helicopter team six
1997 - Timothy J McVeigh, an angry US
Army veteran, is convicted of the Oklahoma
City bombing that took 168 lives in 1995.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Thomas Hardy, English writer (1840-1928);
Johnny Weissmuller, US swimmer-actor
(1904-1984); Charlie Watts,
British musician, The Rolling
Stones (1941-); Kerry Saxby-
Junna, Australian walker (1961-);
Mark and Steve Waugh, Australian
cricketing twins (1965-); Nikolay
Davydenko, Russian professional
tennis player (1981-); Todd Carney,
Australian rugby league player (1986-); Steve
Smith, Australian cricket captain (1989-) .
“Experience isn’t interesting till it begins to
repeat itself — in fact, till it does that, it hardly
is experience.” — Elizabeth Bowen, Irish-born
“ But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your
most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.”
— ( Jude 1:20).
The days of fishing
boats tying up on the
Grey River are over.
With the opening
yesterday of the new trawler wharf in the
Blaketown lagoon, this long-standing practice
is no longer permitted. The opening signalled
the start of the imposition of wharfage fees.
The wharf will be a haven to the 20 trawlers
of the Greymouth fishing fleet. There were the
odd occasions when the full fleet was in port,
said Greymouth Harbour Board engineer Mr
J M MacRae.
A 50ft span on the Blaketown bridge has
been removed to give the fishing fleet easy
access to the wharf. Eventually the whole
bridge will be demolished. The removal of
the span means the end of bridge access for
The Strongman Disaster Fund closed on
Wednesday with the total standing at almost
£38,000 with money still coming in. It was
officially opened by the mayors of Runanga
and Greymouth on January 20 — 24 hours
after the explosion at the colliery that killed 19
“The public of New Zealand have been more
than generous. I expected something like
£20,000,” said Greymouth town clerk Mr
G C Hayter, when commenting on the total. In
the 131 days since the disaster the money has
flowed in at an average rate of £300 a day.
The Westland Hospital Workers’ Union
is to consider writing to the prime minister
condemning New Zealand’s involvement in the
Vietnam War because it holds this responsible
for cuts in hospital expenditure.
“The real cause is the country’s involvement
in the Vietnam War and the expenses incurred
there,” secretary Mr S Gladstone said.
uFood for thought
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So Development West Coast have
decided to remain quiet over the names
of those who received funds (Greymouth
Star, June 1).
Can anyone explain to me why those
who gets this funding can be covered by
‘commercial sensitivity’ when it is public
money, or is there more of the secret
squirrel, buddy buddy going on?
The people of the Coast have every right
to know who and/or what is getting the
funds, as many remind us — it is Coasters’
money. So open up DWC — no more
secrets, just give us the facts.
Saving historic Coast
Thank you for publishing some details
of DOC’s application to Heritage NZ-
Pouhere Taonga to modify and in some
places to destroy parts of the Inland Pack
Track (Greymouth Star, May 27).
Our group has been advocating (harping
on, some would say) for the use of an
alternative route via Ryall Road and we
will be very interested in the decision
of this group tasked with protecting
our heritage and history. It will be very
upsetting if they allow the modification
and actual destruction of a track that was
built in 1867.
The Inland Pack Track is probably the
oldest track on the West Coast still in
regular use, and maybe in New Zealand.
Usually any good tracks became roads or
were usually routes up riverbeds, over the
mountain passes or along the beaches, but
original benched tracks built in 1867 are
rare and hard to come by all over New
We would also dispute DOC’s c laim
in their application that extensive
consultation has taken place. Those
who have been consulted have been
given misleading information about the
appropriateness of Ryall Road.
A good example of this is the statement
that Ryall Road requires two extra bridges
and would thus be much more costly. We
have supplied DOC with maps showing
a potential route using Ryall Road and
not requiring extra bridges, but this
information has been ignored and dodgy
costings have been given to so-called
stakeholders and decision makers.
In a similar manner, they have ignored
the advice of a geologist that their
alternative track will cause instability on
some sections of the historic track. It is
all very sad and hopefully Heritage NZ-
Pouhere Taonga will live up to its name
and send them back to the drawing board.
It is no wonder the Westland District
Council is in such a mess when acting
chief executive Robin Reeves fails to
grasp the facts in Des McGrath’s letter
to the editor (Greymouth Star, May 31).
The facts presented by the writer are very
clear. There is no suggestion that the fund
being contested by the Kumara Junction
residents is the Kumara endowment fund.
The writer clearly states that a total
of $36 000 from the Kumara township
development fund has been spent by the
Kumara Residents Trust for the Chinese
garden, as shown in the KRT township
development fund accountability form
to the council for the years 2013-14,
2014-15 and 2015-16. This in addition to
$172,500 from the Kumara endowment
fund that has already been paid to the
KRT by the council for the Chinese
Mr Reeves’ response to Mr McGrath
is a clear indication that there is no new
broom at the Westland District Council.
The cosy relationship between the council
and the KRT is alive and well.
One cannot help but be astounded
at the complete lack of transparency
around this relationship, i.e. ‘Council
recognises the Kumara Residents Trust
as the organisation to represent Kumara
in making application for funding any
community-based projects’ (Robin
Reeves, May 31). This relationship was
somehow established between the council
and select members of the KRT. How is
that a democratic decision? How did the
council reach that decision? Was it a full
council decision? Were Kumara residents
This at a time when the council was
fully aware of the division in Kumara’s
community over how the KRT had
accessed the Kumara endowment fund. It
is time for a full disclosure of all salient
facts around when and how that decision
was taken by the council.
The response from the Westland District
Council acting chief executive Robin
Reeves to my letter published in the
Greymouth Star on May 31 regarding
the council ‘township development fund’
Mr Reeves certainly appears confused,
and as the current chief executive the fact
he does not know about the township
development fund is worrying.
I know exactly what fund I am referring
to. The Kumara Residents Trust (KRT)
has been paid $14,000 plus GST
($16,100) per year from the township
development fund”(a fund derived from
rates), for four years, since and including
2013-14 — a total of $64,400.
KRT are supposed to disburse that
money throughout the Kumara rating
area to other community groups, but
the council and KRT ‘just forgot ’ to tell
ratepayers and the other community
groups about that arrangement.
KRT spent approximately $36,000 of
the first three years’ funding on their own
projects, including it seems, trips around
New Zealand to consult with Chinese
I suggest Mr Reeves read page 64 of the
council’ long-term plan for a description
of the township development fund. Once
he has read that information, and possibly
got further information from his own
files, could he please answer the following
questions via this forum:
1. Why is KRT the preferred group
in Kumara to disburse the township
development money — even when they
2. Why were ratepayers in the
Kumara rating area not advised of that
arrangement, as required under the Local
3. Why is KRT allowed to spend the
majority of that fund on their own
projects, when the wider ratepayer base
has no knowledge they are doing that,
and contrary to council guidelines about
spending township development funds?
Westland District Council acting chief
executive Robin Reeves responds: “ When
council set up the township development fund
it decided that the prefer red group in each
town needed to be a legal entity.
Council recognises the Kumara Residents
Trust (KRT) as the legal entity to represent
the community for making applications
to council for funding from the township
development fund. They are registered with
Charity Ser vices and hold regular meetings.
They also represent other groups such as the
sports ground and Kumara Memorial Hall.
No other groups in the area met the required
criteria at the time.
KRT advise that they put notices at the
shop and advertise upcoming funding rounds
and public allocation meetings through the
If there is another entity within the
Kumara area which considers that they are in
a better position to represent their area then
they should be presenting their case to council.”
hen the owners of
this former Dunedin
church moved in,
the experience was
had held its last ser vice only hours
before and the building was still a fully
functioning church, complete with altar and
pews. Ruth Manning and L eigh Overton
say there was no plumbing, no kitchen and
“ We had plenty of places to sit but
For several months the women used a
barbecue, a patio heater and a portaloo,
bathed their toddler at a friend’s house and
wondered if they could escape the cold by
pitching a tent within the nave.
Designed by Robert Arthur Lawson, of
First Church and Larnach Castle fame,
the Mornington Presbyterian Church
opened in 1881 and was so well-attended
that transepts were soon added, enabling
more than 400 people to be seated inside. It
remained a place of worship for more than
a century but closed when the Presbyterian
Community Centre opened in nearby
The new owners were nurses who worked
in community mental health and who
were planning renovations to their villa in
Dalmore. When they first saw the church
in 2007, the stained-glass windows and
generous spaces had them captivated. A
week later they owned it.
For the first year they leased the church
back to the congregation, giving them time
to get plans, resource consent and Historic
Places Trust approval for changes to the
category 2 listed building.
The sloping floor, used in Presbyterian
churches to improve line of sight, made the
fitting of new doors tricky. The children’s
bedrooms are on the mezzanine at the far
Keen to maintain the integrity of the
church but also create a practical family
home, they eventually turned the nave into
a large living and dining area.The vestry
became the main bathroom and the former
choir practice room — a concrete block
addition from 1970 —
At one end of the
building, the former
sick bay and infants’
“crying room” became
guest bedrooms. In
the transepts, they
created smaller spaces
- - a family room, formal
dining room and master
bedroom -- that can be
opened up or closed off as
the mood takes them.
There are also two
new mezzanines, one
living space and the other
bedrooms for children
Kahu, 10, and Tui, six.
The footprint is more
than 400 square metres
and the nave is 5.5m
high, a mixed blessing
as changing a lightbulb
means balancing a ladder
on the dining table, but the
acoustics are great and the
walls ideal for displaying
artwork. It has also hosted
many gatherings, including an afternoon
tea for former parishioners. Children ride
their scooters on the kauri floor and a
5m-high bouncy castle set up inside was a
hit at Tui’s 5th birthday party.
The open layout means they can see
everything that is going on, they say.
“It ’s not like we use the whole space all
the time, but when we do, it ’s great.”
If the careful alterations maintained the
church’s scale and grandeur, the addition
of four woodburners and large amounts of
insulation made it warmer.
Structural engineer Lou Robinson
advised on earthquake strengthening, while
friend Richard Leckie helped design the
alterations, then did the building work,
handcrafting doors, windows, pillars and
stairs using recycled timber and existing
motifs so it is difficult to tell old from
new. He also made kitchen cupboards
from incomplete kauri pews, repeating the
Gothic arches found in other parts of the
Tarpaulins hung in the centre of the
building to prevent everything being caked
“ We kept moving from end to end
depending on what was being done where,”
Ms Manning says.
“Kahu would come home from school and
we’d say, ‘Here’s your new bedroom, love’
and it would be a little curtained-off area.”
As the women sanded wood, painted
walls and developed the garden, experts
pieced together the carpet which had been
in strips down the aisles. Its rich hue is part
of a red and gold colour scheme: even the
nave ceiling is painted gold, reflecting the
light that streams in through the lancet
and rose windows.The appearance of what
seemed to be a white figure floating in
another window high up near the eaves
“ We’ve always called it the ‘frock’,’’ Ms
Manning explains, looking at a photo taken
of the exterior.
“It ’s not a reflection and there’s no way
someone could be on that side . . . But
we’ve never felt any bad vibes.”
The three and a half-year project also saw
much of the roof replaced. Ms O verton
recalls choosing Welsh slates at salvage
yards in Christchurch, then “crawling” back
to D unedin at 60kph “with about 10 ton on
the back of a trailer and inside the car.”
A baptismal font, which now holds an ice
bucket, came from a church that had been
demolished in Waikouaiti. Italian floor tiles
for the kitchen and guest bathroom were
bought from a D unedin man who had
stored them in his garage for 25 years. The
long dining table once sat in the D unedin
City Council boardroom and the bell came
from a Greek Orthodox church in Seatoun.
The open belfry rises to a height of almost
16m, but after putting Kahu to bed one
night, the women worked out a system to
pulley up the remounted bell, attach it to
the original bell tower fittings and thread
the bell rope down through a series of holes
in the roof.
“It took us three hours and (by then) it
was going on dark,” Ms Overton says.
“But you’ve got to have that sort of nous
here because if we had to get somebody
else to do everything we’ve had done, we
wouldn’t have been able to afford it.”
“Originally we had a budget but it just
blew out completely,” Ms Manning adds.
Though not looking for another
renovation, she is not blind to the potential
of other buildings. She once went to a
concert at Knox Church and couldn’t help
thinking the nave would make a “fabulous
Ms Overton also has a long interest in
“projects”, particularly those that are a little
different: “This year I’m playing tennis,” she
“ It ’s supposed to divert my attention.”
The long dining table once sat in the
Dunedin City Council boardroom.
House of worship
A Dunedin family tells KIM DUNGEY of the Otago Daily Times about life in a converted Victorian church.
PICTURES: Otago Daily Times
The former Mornington Presbyterian Church, now a house.
Japanese island off limits to women
There are a lot of things about the small
Japanese island of Okinoshima which
make it unique.
However, it is what the island does not
have that could be the most remarkable
thing about it: Women.
Okinoshima, an island steeped in Shinto
religious tradition, takes ancient taboos
seriously, including the controversial one
that bans women from stepping foot on it.
Even men have to tread carefully on the
island, by stripping naked and undergoing
a purification ritual before arriving.
They cannot take any souvenirs from the
island with them when they leave — not
even a blade of grass — and must never
disclose details of their trip, the BBC
The whole island is considered sacred
ground. Its population consists of priests
who work at Okinoshima’s shrine, which
is part of the larger, Munakata Grand
It is the priests who enforce the ban
on women, although there is not much
known about why the ban exists.
“There are varying explanations for
the ban, but some say it is because
menstruation would defile the site,” Ryo
Hashimoto wrote in the Japan Times.
“S hinto treats blood as an impurity. ”
Another reason may be that because sea
journeys to the island were considered
dangerous, women were banned from
travelling there to protect them, as bearers
Okinoshima sat along important trade
routes between Japan and the Korean
Peninsula between the fourth and ninth
Seafarers seeking protection from the
gods would stop at the island to pray and
make offerings, including beads, mirrors
Over the centuries Okinoshima amassed
about 80,000 of these precious trinkets,
which are considered national treasures.
These treasures may be part of why
Okinoshima has attracted the attention of
UNESCO, which will consider granting
the island World Heritage status next
The heritage listing could come at a cost
to the island. It would bring Okinoshima
to the world’s attention and attract curious
tourists — and may make the ban on
women especially problematic.
Currently, the island barely gets visitors.
Men are allowed to visit once a year, on
May 27, for a festival held to “comfort
the spirits” of Japanese and Russian
ser vicemen who died in battle in the Sea
of Japan in 1905.
There have been objections to
Okinoshima’s men-only rule, including by
a Hindu group last year that demanded
UNESCO deny the island heritage unless
it allowed women to enter.
But even if the island is granted the
heritage listing, some say it will not
“O ur stance will remain unchanged even
if it ’s registered in the World Heritage
list,” a Munakata Taisha official told the
“ We’ ll continue to strictly regulate visits
to the island.”
Takayuki Ashizu, chief priest of the
Munakata Grand Shrine, agreed, telling
the Japan Times: “ We wouldn’t open
Okinoshima to the public even if it is
inscribed on the UNESCO cultural
heritage list because people shouldn’t visit
out of curiosity. ”
One solution being considered by the
Fukuoka prefectural government is setting
up a facility where tourists can learn about
the island without actually visiting it, the
Japan Times reported. — n e w s .com .au
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