Home' Greymouth Star : June 14th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Bob Warman is not afraid of hard
work in the garden.
Nearly nine months ago he was
pruning swan plants on a hot day.
It was when he wiped the sweat
out of his eyes with the back of his arm
that the white sticky sap of the swan
plants was smeared across his eyes.
“ I knocked the tops off the swan
plants.... they were getting a bit high.
I do recall seeing all the white stuff
on my arm but didn’t take any notice
Three hours later he could feel a
stinging sensation in his left eye.
He rinsed his eye with water
and used some eye drops, but did
not think too much about it. Then at
4.40am Mr Warman woke to find
he could not see. He likened it to
trying to look through a foggy shower
“I had a moment of panic. I made a
cuppa and sat down.”
He said he could not see his phone
to call for a taxi and he was unable
to rouse his next-door neighbour
to help him. So he walked from his
Morningside home to White
Cross on Bank Street in central
“ I had a bit of peripheral vision
was going”. But it was the voices of
children going to school he used as his
“I found out what it’s like to use the
buzzers at the intersections.”
Months later he has regained sight
in his right eye but scarring has left
vision in his left eye far from the
perfect vision he previously had.
An opthomologist — a doctor who
specialises in eye and vision care
— who saw Mr Warman was not
surprised the swan plant sap had
caused the damage as it is very
Mr Warman wanted to share his
horrific experience so those with the
plants were aware of the potential
“ Everyone I tell about what ’s
happened (people) aren’t aware of how
toxic it is. I just want parents to know
so they can just watch their children as
they are very popular when it comes to
monarch butterflies and learning about
the life cycle. ”
The swan plant is a food source for
the caterpillar of the monarch butterfly.
The life cycle of the monarch butterfly
is the main reason the swan plant is
present in preschool centres as children
can trace the changes from egg to
caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.
The New Zealand National Poisons
Centre website says swan plants are
toxic, and swallowing even a small
amount could be a problem. Ingestion
of the plant material can affect the
heart, breathing, central ner vous
system and the stomach.
The site says because of the
educational benefits of teaching
children about the life cycle of the
monarch butterfly, swan plants are not
on the Landcare Research list of
plants that should not be grown or
tolerated in New Zealand preschool
“Although it is a toxic plant, swan
plants can be grown in childcare
centres or homes with small children,
providing super visors are aware of
the toxic nature of the plant, and take
all necessary precautions to prevent
poisoning from occurring.”
The site recommends if the sap is
swallowed people immediately seek
medical advice from a doctor.
It is not necessary to give any fluids,
and do not make the person vomit.
If on skin flush the exposed area
with lots of water and seek medical
If in the eyes flush the eye with
room-temperature water for at least
15 minutes and seek medical advice.
— Northern Advocate
6 - Wednesday, June 14, 2017
n on-line scam
Zealanders filing a
tax return has been
Inland Revenue is
now investigating the scheme.
Inland Revenue confirmed the
fraud when shown an e-mail chain
purporting to be from IRD.
The e-mail arrives with subject
“ IR3 individual
income tax return 2016”. It goes on
to read: “After the last calculations
of your fiscal activity, we have
determined that you are eligible to
receive a tax refund”.
With a domain name of
inlandrevenue.org”, it then lists a
figure in New Zealand dollars for
what the targeted person is owed.
“P lease submit the tax refund
request and allow us 1-3 days in
order to process it,” it said.
An external link for the victim to
click on and enter their personal
details is then offered for the person
to claim their ‘tax refund’.
“ Note: A refund can be delayed
a variety of reasons, for example
submitting invalid records or
applying after deadline,” the e-mail
warns. It ends with a copyright
claim for Inland Revenue and that
for “security reasons” the user will
be “automatically logged off after
15 minutes of inactivity”.
The e-mail purported to claim
how much a person is owed in a tax
return from the past financial year.
An Inland Revenue spokesman
said it was not a genuine e-mail,
and warned people of several scams
the department was aware of during
this year’s tax season.
“ We have not had reports of
this particular scam,” he said.
“ No genuine e-mail from Inland
Revenue would have this suffix.
“Scams of various types —
mainly e-mail or phone — are
unfortunately a fairly constant
occurrence these days.”
He advised anyone who had
received the e-mail, or may have
already fallen victim, to contact
Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774
with their IRD number.
Ways to spot a scam
IRD will not.—
Send you an e-mail with a
hyperlink to a webpage that asks
you to submit personal information.
Send you an e-mail, knock on
your door or phone you promising
a tax refund.
Ask you to pay money to release
a tax refund.
Ask you to pay a tax debt using
iTunes cards, or any type of gift
Threaten legal action “out of the
blue” unless you immediately start
to repay a tax debt.
Send a representative to your
house without an appointment.
If someone turns up at your
house, make sure you check their
identification carefully and contact
IRD if you are concerned.
— New Zealand Herald
Brian Beckwith has worked
at Starbucks for over a year and
while he does love his job, he
gets annoyed by customers doing
things they may not even realise
Beckwith says he wants to help
“spare baristas some grief ” by
revealing to coffee customers their
most irritating behaviours.
Here is what to avoid if you
want to keep your local barista on
Don’t tip coffee into the bin.
Beckwith says a lot of customers
tip hot drinks in to the bin, a
move that makes for a huge clean
“The trash bags are already
disgusting when we get around
to changing them, and dumping
liquid in them just makes it
worse,” he said.
Talking on your phone or
texting. Not only is it incredibly
rude to be on your phone while
placing your order, Beckwith
says it also makes it harder
because customers are not able
to concentrate on listening to the
questions baristas are asking them.
He suggests keeping off your
phone when placing your order, to
make sure you get the coffee you
Pick your size wisely.
Beckwith says when placing an
order, “probably about a third of
all customers” do not specify the
size they want. If you do not know
the name of the size, it is better at
least say big or small, he advises.
Baristas are not mind readers.
Many people expect their barista
to know what they want, even if
they do not say it. Beckwith has
heard time and again customers
say things like “I didn’t want
cream” or “I wanted that iced”,
but never actually making these
requests when placing their
It is better to give more
information than needed at the
start, in order to make things
easier for yourself and your
As Beckwith puts it: “ We are
baristas, not psychics.”
— New Zealand Herald
Customers’ most annoying coffee habits
PICTURE: Northern Advocate
Bob Warman went blind in both eyes temporarily because of swan plant sap.
One eye is still in recovery mode nine months later.
Swan plant’s toxic sap blinds man
Making coffee for hundreds of fussy customers every day is not an easy job, especially when every
customer likes their drink a different way. A Starbucks barista has revealed to the most annoying
things a customer can do when coming in to get their coffee fix.
Worldwide study confirms
people spend an average of
40 minutes a day reading a
newspaper, compared to just
30 seconds of on-line news.
v On-line News
Professor Neil Thurman | Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Links Archive June 13th 2017 June 15th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page