Home' Greymouth Star : June 23rd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Friday, June 23, 2017
Shining Light on the Dark:
to raise awareness of suicide, starts
Hokitika beach at 2.30pm; lanterns
lit at 5.30pm and Regent Theatre
music and theatrical show
All Saints Church restoration
concert, Hokitika, 1.30pm.
Cutting Edge Comedy show,
Old Lodge Theatre, Hokitika,
Pike River debated in
Pike River was again debated in
Parliament yesterday. West Coast-
Tasman MP Damien O’Connor
asked the Prime Minister Bill
English: “Has he spoken to the
responsible ministers to ensure that
no information regarding the Pike
River tragedy is being withheld
from families?”. Gerry Brownlee,
answering on behalf of Mr English,
said it was available. “ I state again,
that all of this has been made
available to the royal commission,
which considered all of these matters
quite some time ago,” Mr Brownlee
Arrivals: Jay Elaine, Ikawai,
Corsair. Departures: Ikawai,
Galatea II, Resolution II. In port:
Cook Canyon, Jay Elaine, Corsair,
Claymore, Har vester, Sovereign.
Expected departures: Jay Elaine,
Corsair, Claymore. Expected arrivals:
Galatea II, Resolution II, Ikawai.
The New Zealand Cycle Trail manager
Janet Purdie will attend a forum about the
West Coast Wilderness Trail, on Tuesday.
New to the role, she is keen visit and
meet those involved.
“There has been some amazing work
undertaken on the ground creating such
a great experience. It ’s important for me
to see first-hand what the trail is like
and understand the issues, challenges
and opportunities that exist with those
managing and running businesses around
it,” Ms Purdie said.
The Otago Central Rail Trail now had
over 200 businesses along the trail and
had breathed new life into small towns.
“Unlike some trails, West Coast
Wilderness is a destinational trail. When
people travel from out of town they need
services like accommodation, food, bike
hire so the more people that you attract
the more opportunity there is to build
new businesses and develop current
She said it was also about tailoring
services to cyclists, for example
accommodation being ‘cycle friendly’
and food outlets providing what cyclists
Ms Purdie will be riding part of the trail
and speaking at the forum on the work
being undertaken by the national trail
network and their strategy to ensure all
trails are great rides.
The forum, at the Hokitika RSA
beginning at 2pm, is open to the public.
Two years ago today.
Time takes away the
edge of grief,
But memory turns back
Brian, Laura, Daniel,
Nicholas; Max and
6pm Friday until
135 High Street,
Telephone 768 5942
this weekend is
Phone 768 4075 (Shop)
768 4535 or 768 4930
Friday until 5.30pm
No Sunday Hours
Ph 768 0250
Let us make your
ideas a reality with
Best value and
Ensuring you get Expertise
and Qualified Funeral
(Opposite Dixon Park)
Phone 768 0370
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Dr Megan Hero
Janet McCann, front, Glennis Granger with Elsie and Graeme Perry at the Greymouth CARE group midwinter Christmas lunch,
held at the Union Hotel yesterday. About 82 members attended the gathering. “ The midwinter Christmas dinner is always well
received,” co-ordinator Pam Sutherland said. “ We are a voluntary organisation and even had a band playing, Mike Anderson and
George Simons, who were just marvellous.”
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Seniors enjoy CARE midwinter Christmas dinner
Westland High School’s student
council and senior students have
declared a lack of confidence in the
senior leaders at the school in an
explosive letter describing a “toxic
environment ” that is affecting their
“The current state that the school
is in is causing us, and definitely our
fellow teachers, a lot of stress and
anxiety to the point that this should
be tabled as an actual health and
safety risk/hazard as it is having
a detrimental effect on us,” the
student council told the board of
trustees on Monday.
Principal Trevor Jones did not
respond to a Guardian request
for comment yesterday, but board
chairman Latham Martin said they
were aware of “some concerns” in
parts of the school community.
The board and its limited statutory
manager were working very hard to
address the issues and strengthen
It was being supported by the
Ministry of Education in this regard
and the board was “committed
to taking the required actions to
ensure students received a high
quality education,” Mr Martin said.
The students’ letter echoes concern
from the senior school last year
about the senior leadership team
and its ability to provide quality
education at Westland High.
“The toxic environment that
exists within the school presently
is having a direct impact on our
learning,” the student council letter
says. “O ur teachers are stressed,
causing problems in our classrooms
on a daily basis.”
The Hokitika school is
statutory management following
inter vention from the Ministry of
This followed a vote of no
confidence from the teaching
staff in Mr Jones as principal. The
statutory manager was appointed
to take over most of the functions
of the board of trustees, while Mr
Jones remains in the post.
The Guardian understands the
first statutory manager from Nelson
has now departed due to illness,
and has just been replaced.
The student council say the school
is “dramatically understaffed”.
“ Many subjects are simply not
available to do as we lack the staff
to teach them. There has been
more than one occasion where our
Year 13s have had to go and help
relief teachers who are obviously
distressed in the position they were
put in, or even help classes without
This year the school has lacked a
Students were told a staff member
had been allocated to the job for two
hours a week but she had then left
“ because of the toxic environment
that exists here”.
Multiple university open days
had passed this year and the school
“ hasn’t even lifted a finger” to assist.
It left senior students ner vous
without the advice, support and
options they would have expected
from the school.
“ Westland High School in its
current state is a school that takes
in students, provides students a
substandard education and then
ships them off again without giving
a second thought,” the student
“This is unacceptable to us ... We
are just going to be shipped out like
factory units, just more numbers on
“ We demand that Westland High
School appoint a careers adviser
and provide us Year 13s and the
other senior year groups with
the appropriate support that we
School operations day-to-day
seemed “so difficult” that students
were often left scrambling to get
appropriate permission slips and
were often not informed about
school events “until generally the
The loss of the peer support
programme for Year 7 students
was another let down, with new
students openly expressing upset at
The appointment of a home room
teacher following student input had
been “completely disregarded” and
had left a situation where at least
one classroom was now “unsafe” for
“There are so many fights and
conflicts throughout this year
group that it raises the question,
is it actually safe for these younger
members to attend school? This is
something that should be directly
addressed and not just swept under
The students also felt there was
no cohesive response following
legitimate concerns passed on to
the school management.
“ We are often told of these
awesome ideas and plans for our
school, but we feel there are no
processes to follow up.”
An example was a plan for
“ knuckling down” on those leaving
the school grounds, yet “ we have
only seen one teacher a week if that,
who actually stands there during
lunch break to follow up on this
“Things are often left to Year 13s
to organise and punish students.”
Stargazers are likely to see Great
Barrier Island in a new light after it
was named one of the world’s best
places to look upon the heavens.
Also known as Aotea, the island in
the Hauraki Gulf, is only the third
place to be awarded International
Dark Sky Sanctuary status.
On a clear night, it is possible to
see about 5000 stars from the island
or about 10 times as many as can be
seen from Auckland, residents say.
Great Barrier Local Board
chairwoman Izzy Fordham says
while residents often take the
incredible beauty of its skies for
granted, the award is very exciting.
“It gives me great comfort to know
our pristine skies will be protected
for the future,” she said.
The island now joins sites in the
US and Chile as the world’s only
dark sky sanctuaries.
together with members of the island’s
Awana Rural Women Group, led
the push to gain sanctuary status.
Ms Davies began taking
measurements of the night sky in
the Auckland region after last year
becoming alarmed by a report that
found it was increasingly hard to see
the Milky Way from many locations
around the world.
When she got to Great Barrier,
“she couldn’t believe what she had
discovered”, Ms Fordham said.
With no street lights and a
large slice of the island under the
guardianship of the Department
of Conservation, there is very little
“ We have no mains power, no
reticulated septic systems. We are all
stand alone independent so we rely
on solar wind and back up generators
for our power,” Ms Fordham said.
Mackenzie Basin in the South
Island is New Zealand ’s only other
place recognised by the International
Dark Sky Association.
It became a Dark Sky Reserve
in 2012 and is one of 11 reserves
recognised around the world.
Reality television pioneer Dame Julie
Christie will leave the board of Media
Works Investments at the end of the
month, partly to focus on her new
role as a council appointed trustee to
Development West Coast.
Dame Julie, who was born in
Greymouth, spent almost four years as
a director of the private equity-owned
Earlier this month she was named a
Dame Companion of the New Zealand
Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday
honours for ser vices to governance
and the television industry. A week
later she was appointed to the board
of DWC, replacing John Sturgeon as
representative of the four West Coast
Dame Julie intends leaving Media
Works on June 30, a move she said
would let her pursue two new roles she
was recently appointed to and return to
“I have now taken up two new roles
which enable me to pursue my interest
in economic development — as a trustee
of Development West Coast and as a
member of the steering group for New
Zealand’s World Expo 2020 project.”
She thought it was important that
directors refreshed their governance
portfolios regularly and that boards
refreshed their skill set regularly.
Dame Julie joined the Media Works
board in August 2013 after the
broadcaster’s lenders seized control from
previous private equity owner Ironbridge
Capital to restructure the debt.
— New Zealand Herald
Dame Julie Christie to leave Media Works board
The Department of Conservation
remains set on using the 1867 Inland
Pack Track for part of the $10
million ‘great walk’ linking Blackball
with Punakaiki, despite vehement
opposition from many local residents.
The department has lodged its
application to Heritage New Zealand
to alter the historic route, which was
built by gold diggers on the Brighton
and Charleston goldrushes, and was
later used to move stock.
Local residents want to see the historic
track preser ved, and have suggested
that mountainbikers instead use
the old logging track known as
Ryall Road for the section nearest to
DOC put the cost of using the Inland
Pack Track at $210,000, against more
than $720,000 for Ryall Road, which
it said would need two bridges and a
more lengthy exit route.
DOC operations director western
South Island Mark Davies said staff
were in the Pororari Valley last week
checking out the site of a proposed base
camp for track and bridge construction
contractors to use while construction of
the trail was under way.
This was adjacent to where it was
proposing to install a bridge to cross
the Pororari River and meet up with
the Inland Pack Track and Pororari
Whichever route DOC went for, that
bridge would be needed, he said.
However, Mr Davies said if the Ryall
Road option were to be pursued, another
bridge would be required further up the
river “so as to take a more direct route
to the end of Ryall Road ”.
“ We investigated having bikes use
the bridge at Cave Stream and then
heading off to connect with Ryall Road
but this involved traversing low lying,
wet, swampy, generally unpleasant
terrain and cutover forest, not suitable
for a top end bike ride,” Mr Davies
The $700,000 cost for the Ryall Road
included a new suspension bridge
costing $300,000, and 5.7km of new
track, including upgrading the 2.6km-
long Ryall Road, at a minimum cost of
No new bridges were needed on the
Inland Pack Track, which involved
just 1.4km of new track to realign it
away from sections that did not meet
the gradient requirements for grade 4
“ We are working towards using the
Inland Pack Track, at this stage we are
not considering using the Ryall Road
option,” Mr Davies said.
DOC to use Inland Pack Track as part of Great Walk
of the Hokitika Guardian
A Hokitika cards tournament that
has been an annual fixture for at least
40 years has been cancelled due to
The Hokitika-Westland RSA 45s
tomorrow. However, organisers had to
pull the pin at the last minute as there
were not enough players.
Co-ordinator Colleen Freitas said the
number of card players overall had been
falling over the years. However, the 45s
tournament, playing for the Gordon
Ferguson Memorial Trophy, had held its
own, until now.
The tournament once filled the
Seaview Hall with up to 60 pair, before
moving to the Red Lion Hotel, and
more recently the Hokitika Chartered
“ Last year we had 16 pair and this year
we had six. We need six tables to make it
viable,” Mrs Freitas said.
Interest in the more popular euchre
has also waned in recent years, although
the chartered club held a tournament
last week boosted by visiting players
from Waimea Club, in Nelson.
“Now 45’s are going the same way.”
She put the decline down to natural
attrition as well as a clash of other events.
Mrs Freitas said in the past they used
to have a lot of RSA members playing:
“But we haven’t got any now. Jim Keenan
was our last. ”
Proceeds from the day are put back
into the general running of the RSA.
Hokitika-Westland RSA 45s cancelled
Entries for the 2017 NZ Bakels
Supreme Pie Awards are about to close
with bakers having until next Thursday,
June 29, to get their entries in.
As well as a range of categories for
retail bakeries, there is the cafe boutique
category for cafes that do not make
their own pastry, and the commercial
wholesale category for large volume
“There are plenty of opportunities to
win one of the 49 awards up for grabs
and a stake of $20,000 in prizes,” NZ
Bakels managing director Brent Kersel
More than 5000 pies from across New
Zealand are lined up each year to see if
they are the best in the land.
“ Winning has huge benefits for
that bakery but even receiving one of
the other awards can boost a bakery’s
Mr Kersel says this year marks the 21st
year of the awards.
“It’s a great achievement to have lifted
the profile of so many top bakers and to
increase the quality of pies this country
we make some of the best pies in the
To apply go to www.nzbakels.co.nz/
Entries for NZ pie awards close next week
A new television show is coming
to New Zealand and producers are
looking for families of two adults and
two children to enter.
The show, XVenture Family Challenge
NZ will be filmed at the end of October
and is designed to foster and encourage
family unity through a series of “fun,
engaging and inspiring challenges”.
The show will be filmed at the
incredible Eagles Nest, Bay of Islands
and will involve 24 families from six
The title of XVenture Family
Challenge NZ Champions and $25,000
is up for grabs.
The team members must be related
in some way, such as step, foster and
half-relations, and children must
be aged 11-16. To be considered
families need to make a short audition
video and submit it to the website:
within the next week.
Families needed for new tv show
Eel fishing has resumed at Lake
Greymouth area operations manager
Shane Hall said two people were allowed
to take four tonnes each a season.
Eel fishing had not been “stopped”
as such, “ it was more a case that there
were no active operators”. One of the
operators had previous permission
from DOC to take eels from the lake.
That had expired and the applicant had
reapplied for permission. The other was
a new application.
Both operators already have West
Coast quota. They are not allowed to
catch long-fin eels. To monitor the
catch, the concessionaire must record
each day: the date, total catch weight,
number of eels released and any bycatch,
and submit annual activity returns to the
Eel fishing resumes at Lake Brunner
Two 1080 protesters concerned
about an upcoming poison trial in the
Arawhata Valley met with Department
of Conser vation West Coast operations
director Mark Davies yesterday.
Danny Lane and Mary Molloy, both
of Hari Hari, want bird monitoring
done before and after the trial by the
organisation Zero Invasive Predators,
which is working with DOC. The
trial will drop non-toxic prefeed twice,
followed by poisoned 1080 baits at
double the normal rate in a bid to get
rid of all possums.
Mr Lane said he appreciated the
90-minute meeting. However, they
were adamant they want monitoring.
“I feel that the lack of meaningful
monitoring is criminal,” Mrs Molloy
1080 protesters meet DOC
Great Barrier Island a
hot spot for stargazers
A norovirus outbreak has closed
the Granger House rest home, in
Greymouth, while residents and staff
remain in lockdown.
West Coast medical officer of health
Dr Cheryl Brunton said the illness was
being managed, with the help of the
West Coast District Health Board.
Dr Brunton was expecting an update
later today on how many were affected,
but the Greymouth Star was told
yesterday about 15 staff and patients had
contracted the virus, which can cause
severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
“It is not at all uncommon,” Dr Brunton
She was notified of the outbreak on
Tuesday. For now, no visitors are allowed
at Granger House in a bid to stop the
The virus, which was very unpleasant,
could be more serious in a rest home
where elderly people had less immunity.
“It’s very, very highly infectious. You
don’t even have to be in the same room
(to catch it), you can walk into the room
Dr Brunton said the home would
remain in lockdown until three of
four days after the last symptoms were
detected. It would then be cleaned, before
the outbreak could be declared over.
“It will be on lockdown until that
happens. It ’s for everyone’s protection.”
at Granger House
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