Home' Greymouth Star : July 22nd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, July 22, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1620 - Exiled British Pilgrims set out from
Holland for the New World on their ship
Speedwell, which leaks so badly they return to
England and transfer to the Mayflowe r.
1933 - US aviator Wiley Post
completes first solo aeroplane flight
around the world in seven days, 18
hours and 45 minutes.
1934 - Notorious US gangster John
Dillinger is shot dead.
1981 - Turkish extremist Mehmet
Ali Agca is sentenced to life in
prison for shooting Pope John Paul II.
1992 - Medellin drug cartel leader Pablo
Escobar slips past scores of guards at his luxury,
custom-built prison and walks to freedom. He
dies in a shootout with police the following year.
2003 - US forces attack a home in Mosul, Iraq,
killing former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s
two sons, Uday and Qusay.
2011 - Right-wing terrorist, Anders Behring
Breivik, sets off a car bomb explosion in Oslo,
then goes to a summer camp and guns down
youths, killing at least 77 people.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edward Hopper, US painter (1882-1967);
Alexander Calder, US sculptor (1898-1976);
Licia Albanese, Italian- born soprano (1913-
2014); George Clinton, US singer
(1941-); Alex Trebek, Canadian
game show host of Jeopardy (1940-
); Danny Glover, US actor (1947-);
Willem Dafoe, US actor (1955-);
David Spade, US actor/comedian
(1964-); Rhys Ifans, Welsh actor
(1967-); Rufus Wainwright, US-
Canadian rock singer (1973-); Selena Gomez,
US singer and actor (1992-); Prince George of
Cambridge, British royal (2013-) .
“ When fate hands us a lemon, let’s try to
make lemonade.” — Dale Carnegie, American
“ Endurance produces character, and character
produces hope. ” — (Romans 5:4).
off Kilgour Road, a
natural gem set in the
middle of Greymouth,
is probably unknown to most citizens. But
it is, or once was one of New Zealand’s
unique collections of native trees. Today its
preser vation is uncertain, with no public funds
to aid its orderly development, it is reverting
back to wilderness, its charm and distinction
The arboretum known as Coronation
Domain is today a jungle of exotics and native
trees with untamed scrub spreading throughout
the park. Many rare native plants fostered in
the park during its heyday, have been killed by
scrub and exotics.
The arboretum took 30 years to build up. It
was the work of a Greymouth medical man
Dr William McKay, a native plant enthusiast.
Since his death some 20 years ago, the park has
deteriorated. When Dr McKay died the park
was invested in the borough as a reser ve.
Greymouth town clerk Mr G C Hayter said
council was unable to do anything about the
park “because of the financial question”. Work
on the park is on the long-term programme,
however, he added.
“ It is one of hundreds of projects on our
mind.” he said.
Greymouth Repertory Society’s reading
presented at Rathbun’s Hall on Wednesday
night was of a charming farce, which
concerned the young daughter of a Scottish
laird and the rebellion against the traditional
education her father had planned for her.
Those taking part were Patricia Finlay,
Mabel Ray, Dorothy Thomas, Raymond Bunt,
Douglas Duff and Alan Beck. The reading was
arranged by Nell Smith.
uFood for thought
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need copy to hold the
even when nothing
much is happening.
So I was quite pleased
when I noticed
that the presidents
of two African
and Zimbabwe, were
both “missing in action”; spending most of
their time in hospitals overseas, while their
spokesmen denied that there was anything
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country,
with the continent ’s biggest economy.
Zimbabwe is dirt poor and dead broke, but
its president, Robert Mugabe is Africa’s
longest-ruling leader. So you call the piece
“absent presidents”, you do a few arabesques
around the themes of absolute power and
irresponsibility, and you get to go home
There were even a couple of juicy quotes
to lead with. One of the supporters of
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari,
Senator Shehu Sani, had warned publicly:
“Prayers for the absent Lion King have
waned. Now the hyenas and the jackals
are scheming and talking to each other in
whispers; still doubting whether the Lion
King will be back or not.”
President Buhari’s wife Aisha replied,
also in public, that he would soon be back
to clean house: “God has answered the
prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas
and jackals will soon be sent out of the
kingdom.” How deliciously “African”. The
piece practically writes itself. It could not be
Unfortunately, it is too simple. It feeds
into all the stereotypes about feckless
African presidents who cling to power too
long and lead their countries to ruin. In
fact neither Buhari nor Mugabe is a thief
(although some of the people around them
are), and Buhari’s illness is a real misfortune
for his country. Whereas Mugabe’s demise
would not come a moment too soon for his
Robert Mugabe’s life has been a tragedy.
He led Zimbabwe’s independence struggle,
and in the early days he was sometimes
even compared to South Africa’s Nelson
Mandela, a wise and generous man who
relinquished the presidency after only five
years in power to let the next generation
take over. But although Mugabe was clever,
he was never wise.
Zimbabwe flourished in the early years
of his rule, with high education and living
standards, but he has now been in power
for 37 years and his increasingly arbitrary
actions have wrecked the economy. Few
people have real jobs, hyper-inflation has
destroyed the national currency, and about a
quarter of the population has emigrated in
search of work, mostly to South Africa.
Mugabe is now 93, but he talks of living
and ruling until he is 100, and is certainly
going to run again in next year’s election,
which will be rigged as usual. His wife,
Grace Mugabe, says he should run “as a
corpse” if he dies before the vote (but she
might just decide to run herself ).
So the fact that Mugabe is now in
hospital in Singapore, for the third time
this year, is not causing widespread dismay
in Zimbabwe. Opposition leaders complain
about him “running the show from his
hospital bed,” but they would not actually
mind if he died. They think nothing
could be worse than more of Mugabe —
although they could be wrong about that.
The scramble for power when he finally
goes could turn very violent.
If Robert Mugabe is a classic case of a
good man gone bad, Muhammadu Buhari
may be just the opposite. He first came to
public notice as one of Nigeria’s revolving-
door military dictators, seizing power in a
coup in 1983 and losing it to another coup
in 1985. The one thing that distinguished
him from all the others was that he actually
did fight the rampant corruption which
has kept the great majority of Nigeria’s 180
million people poor.
Buhari, who calls himself a “converted
democrat ”, ran for the presidency
unsuccessfully in 2003, 2007 and 2011
before finally winning in the 2015 election.
There were high hopes that he would be the
one who finally brought corruption under
control, and perhaps he could have been
— but nothing actually happened. In fact,
it took him six months just to select all his
In retrospect, it seems likely that Buhari
fell ill not long after he took office, and
has been severely distracted by his health
problems since mid-2016. He has been
in London for medical treatment more
than half the time since January, and has
not been seen in public at all since early
May. Despite his wife’s assurances to the
contrary, it is unlikely he will really run the
This is not necessarily a disaster for
Nigeria — the graveyards everywhere
are full of indispensable men. But it may
represent a lost opportunity, for Buhari did
really sound like he meant it. Better luck
There, you see. I did get an article out of
it after all.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in 45
African presidents ‘missing in action’
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
n the steamy jungle on the north
coast of Papua 75 years ago,
Japanese scouts, incongruously
mounted on bicycles, rode blithely
into an ambush.
Waiting by the track were
Papuan soldiers of the Papuan Infantry
Battalion, who speared the hapless
Japanese, throwing their bodies and their
bicycles into a nearby creek.
Then as the main Japanese force arrived,
the PIB opened fire, blasting them with
rifles and grenades. Several fell dead
and wounded but these were veteran
soldiers who responded vigorously. The
PIB platoon, led by Australian officers,
withdrew but first blood of the Kokoda
campaign had fallen to the Australians.
This preliminary action was minor
compared with what was to come. It
heralded four months of brutal fighting
under conditions unlike any experienced
by Australian soldiers before or since.
Japanese forces landed on Papua on July
21, 1942 and advanced inland to assess the
feasibility of an overland advance to take
The opening skirmish, near the village of
Awala, mid-way between Kokoda and the
coast, occurred on the afternoon of July 23.
This date means little to Australians but it
does to PNG, which declared the date the
new nation’s Remembrance Day in 1981.
Kokoda still remains a very Australian
story. In 1992, Prime Minister Paul
Keating kissed the earth of Kokoda,
subsequently declaring it should be
commemorated far more than Gallipoli.
Every year, thousands of Australians,
young and not so young, attempt to
complete the gruelling Kokoda Track as
a rite of passage, honouring those young
Australians and the PNG nationals who
assisted them all those years before.
Australian War Memorial senior
historian and World War Two expert Dr
Karl James says Kokoda has that dramatic
quality; a clear narrative and a beginning,
middle and an end.
“It’s a very strong Australian story —
Australian soldiers fighting on Australian
territory, fighting, they think, to stop a
Japanese invasion,” he said.
“For a digger fighting at Kokoda or
Isurava or Brigade Hill, it’s personal — if
they don’t stop the Japanese here, they
likely believed where would the Japanese
be stopped. ” Those back in Australia
gained a taste of this desperate campaign
through stunning images from cameraman
Damien Parer. Released in September
1942, Parer’s Kokoda Frontline was shown
to cinema audiences while the fighting
was still under way.
“It is not combat which is what people
assume. But you see the conditions, the
mountains, the rain, the men tramping
through the mud. You have really strong
visuals,” James said.
Yet the actual Kokoda campaign
remains little understood by the broader
Japan sought to cross the formidable
Owen Stanley Range and take Port
Moresby because their proposed
amphibious landing had been thwarted at
the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May.
Had that landing proceeded, it would
certainly have succeeded. Defences were
modest and these were seasoned troops
responsible for a succession of victories.
We know now Japan had no firm plans to
invade Australia but that was not clear in
These were indeed dark times. Singapore
had fallen, Japanese bombers had attacked
Dar win and on the night of May 31-
June 1, Japanese submarines attacked
And now Japanese troops were on
Australian (colonial) territory and heading
From that opening at Awala, the PIB
and Australian militia units fell back under
relentless pressure, mounting desperate
actions at a series of familiar names —
Kokoda itself, Eora, Isurava and finally to
Ioribaiwa and Imita Ridge — worryingly
close to Port Moresby.
Throughout this fighting retreat,
Australian forces were hampered by the
mountains, rain, ener vating heat, illness
and the supply situation. Every bullet,
every grenade and every tin of bully beef
had to be carried for ward by soldiers
themselves and Papuan porters.
Every wounded soldier had to be carried
out by teams of the Papuan porters,
subsequently lauded as the “fuzzy wuzzy
angels.” Japanese troops proved adept at
infiltrating around and behind Australian
units. But as the frontline moved closer to
Moresby, the supply situation improved
while the plight of Japanese forces, at the
end of an extended supply line, began to
At the same time fresh units from the
AIF 7th Division joined the Australian
force. After a week of fighting around
Ioribaiwa, they withdrew to Imita Ridge,
really the last effective barrier.
But then Japan chucked it in, although
it is unlikely the depleted Japanese force
could have gone much further.
But in any case Japanese high command
on Rabaul, conscious of reverses in
fighting on Guadalcanal, ordered their
commander General Tomitaro Horii to
withdraw to the north coast, set up strong
defensive positions and perhaps try again
Horii began pulling his troops back
on September 24, closely followed by
Australian forces who retook Kokoda on
In all 624 Australians died in the
fighting, with more than 1000 wounded,
although casualties from illness were
perhaps three times as great. Japanese
casualties were far greater, with an
estimated three-quarters of their entire
force killed or wounded. — AAP
Australia’s jungle campaign
Papua New Guinean stretcher bearers carry a wounded Australian soldier.
Iphones, iPads and the voice controlled
Amazon Echo have become staples of
everyone’s day-to-day existence — but life
before the sophisticated devices was a very
A collection of photos compiled by Go
Social — depicting the technology struggles
that every child born in the 1990s can relate
— to is sweeping the web, and one look will
have you feeling nostalgic.
From the power of floppy disks and Encarta
to the daily strains of Limewire and MSN
Messenger’ — these images will certainly
leave the children of today counting their
The daily strain of getting disconnected
from the internet when someone else in the
house was using the landline.
Long before sophisticated smartphones
with front cameras designed for capturing the
perfect selfie, using a digital camera with a
blinding flash in the mirror was the only way
to capture an ‘outfit of the day ’ snap
Everyone will relate to the strains of your
mouse breaking and having to pop it open
and give it a clean. Or, worse yet, discover the
reason it is not working is because someone
has stolen your mouse ball.
Remember this? Most people have a generic
iPhone ringtone these days but back in the
day, you would have to record your favourite
song to set it as your ring tone
Limewire: As well as infecting your
computer with all sorts of viruses, there was
nothing worse than waiting two days for your
favourite song to download only to discover it
was a cover version.
Fashion faux pas: Long before iPods and
iPhones, a giant Discman was the only way to
listen to your favourite tunes on the go — but
it was not the most practical of devices.
How annoying: The single quickest way to
annoy someone virtually was to send a cheeky
nudge — or 10.
The source of all wisdom: Your computer
knew absolutely nothing until you installed
this fountain of knowledge.
— New Zealand Herald
The technology struggles every 1990s child can relate to
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