Home' Greymouth Star : August 21st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, August 21, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1911 - German Emperor William II says
Germany needs colonies, or a “place in the sun”,
which he says the navy will secure.
1944 - Representatives of the US, Britain,
Russia and China meet at Dumbarton Oaks
near Washington to plan for
formation of the United Nations.
1959 - Hawaii becomes 50th state
of the United States.
1986 - More than 1700 people die
when toxic gas erupts from a volcanic
lake in Cameroon.
2000 - Efforts to reach the sunken
Russian nuclear submarine Kursk
end when divers say none of the 118 sailors on
aboard sur vived the explosion on the Barents
2007 - Saddam Hussein’s cousin known as
“Chemical Ali” and 14 others go on trial on
charges of crimes against humanity.
2011 - Libyan rebels move into the capital
Tripoli and move close to centre with little
resistance from Muammar Gaddafi’s defenders.
2013 - A US military court sentences soldier
Bradley Manning to 35 years in jail for handing
secret government documents to Wikileaks.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
William Murdock, Scottish inventor (1754-
1839); King William IV, Britain’s “Sailor
King” (1765-1837); William “Count ” Basie,
US jazz musician (1904-1984); Britain’s
Princess Margaret (1930-2002);
Kenny Rogers, US country singer
(1938-); Joe Strummer, British rock
musician (The Clash) (1952-2002);
Kim Cattrall, British actress (1956-);
Carrie-Anne Moss, US actress (The
Matrix) (1967-); Liam Howlett,
British rock musician (Prodigy)
(1971-); Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
(1973-); Simon Katich, Australian cricketer
(1975-); Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter (1986-).
“ Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two
things: first, in being where you belong, and
second — and best — in comfortably going
through everyday life, that is, having had a
good night ’s sleep and not being hurt by new
shoes. ” — Theodor Fontane, German author
“And early in the morning He came walking
towards them on the sea. ” —Matthew 14:25
uFood for thought
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A man with a long
record of ser vice
in community and
local body affairs, Mr
Walter Newman Gutberlet died in Greymouth
this morning. He was 70. Mr Gutberlet spent
the greater part of his life in the Brunner
district but in more recent years had resided in
Mr Gutberlet went off to World War One
at age 18 and was overseas for four years
before returning home to enter the sawmilling
industry. Some years later he studied for his
engineer’s ticket and on being successful,
worked in the Brunner mine until his
retirement in 1953.
Mr Gutberlet had an interest in practically
all affairs affecting the community. He ser ved
for 20 years on the Brunner Borough Council
including a term of six years as mayor, and was
a former president of the Brunner RSA. He
was also chairman of the Taylor ville School
committee for a long period. After moving
to Greymouth he spent several years on the
Westland Catchment Board and 14 years on
the Grey Electric Power Board.
Mr Gutberlet is sur vived by his wife Freda
(a member of the Smith family of Ahaura),
one son Teddy, and one daughter Nola (Mrs
B Erickson); a brother, a sister; and three
The Excelsior utility player Graham Monk
will play No 8 for West Coast in its Seddon
Shield challenge match against Marlborough
at Rugby Park on Saturday. Monk came into
the team in place of Hari Hari for ward and
regular No 8 J P McGill who has been selected
to play in the under-23 New Zealand trials, at
New Plymouth on Saturday.
arterton firefighters would
never in a million years have
expected to find what they
discovered on answering a
fire call in the early hours of
August 15, 1992.
A neighbour of L ou and Huia Tawhai had
heard what she thought were gunshots, but
on stepping outside saw the windows of the
Tawhai cottage exploding, as flames burst
through the glass and began to lick down
Racing to the scene the fire crews
discovered not only a burning house but a
naked Mrs Tawhai outside on the lawn, with
an also naked younger man later identified
as Wallace Iopata.
They were in what could only be described
as a confused state and seemed to be
meditating, chanting or praying.
Later Iopata was to claim they had been
waiting for a UFO to pick them up and take
them to Australia.
The firemen charged with battling the
blaze had to find a blanket so the two could
be made relatively decent but the odd scene
was to become far more bizarre when they
made their way inside.
There they found what at first was thought
could be the backbone of a dead dog, but
was soon found to be human remains.
It was later to be revealed the remains
were those of Huia Tawhai’s elderly
husband L ou, and that he had been
subjected to unspeakable indignities,
including being doused with boiling water
After he died he was dismembered, and his
head thrust into the firebox of a woodburner.
Some hours later the house was
deliberately set ablaze.
Three were originally arrested for the
murder of Mr Tawhai, being his wife Huia,
her lover, and a sometimes boarder at the
home, Jay Sankaran.
Sankaran was to escape prosecution,
becoming a leading witness for the
prosecution and describing the involved
sequence of events and torture that
contributed to the agonising death of the
He told a tale of physical abuse, of evil
spirits, of sexual touching and sex — all
carried out as L ou Tawhai was being
tortured by one means or another before
finally slumping and dying.
Huia Tawhai and Iopata both denied
murdering Lou Tawhai, and a marathon
trial began in Wellington High Court.
The jury heard evidence that in the late
morning of August 14, hours before the
fiery discovery of his remains inside the
house, a foul-smelling fire had been lit on
When it had died down a dog was seen
pawing through the ashes, at one time
picking something out and tossing it into
the air with its teeth.
Witnesses told of seeing a woman in the
kitchen chopping or sawing something up at
In her defence Huia Tawhai said she had
followed along with whatever Iopata had
wanted her to do.
She described at length the actions of
Iopata torturing Lou Tawhai that had led
directly to his death, and saying it had been
Iopata who dismembered her husband after
he had died.
Huia Tawhai was found guilty of
manslaughter and sentenced to seven years
Evidence was given by a forensic
psychiatrist that Iopata was a very severe
schizophrenic with a very low IQ.
He would have been incapable of knowing
that what he was doing was morally wrong,
and believed his actions would result in
lifting a curse from Lou Tawhai, as an act of
Iopata was found not guilty of murder on
the grounds of insanity and directed to be
taken to a secure unit at Porirua Hospital.
— New Zealand Herald
Bizarre killing 25 years ago
Twenty-five years ago this month, Wairarapa Times-Age chief reporter
DON FARMER was driving to work from his home in Greytown on a quiet Saturday
morning. Passing through Carterton he noticed a small cottage on High Street South
had been badly damaged by an overnight fire. Little did he know then that his inquiry
of Carterton fire chief Doug Hoy a few minutes later would eventually reveal a story of
a ritualistic, satanic killing. He looks back on the bizarre events surrounding the death of
Lou Tawhai, and the subsequent High Court trial that captivated the country.
What a joke. After reading in the
Greymouth Star (‘Broadband update
complete, August 17) Chorus skiting
about the rural broadband update being
complete, I thought these guys must be
on another planet.
At Nelson Creek our broadband and
computer connection hardly registers on
the speed dial. I can not even complete
simple things like internet banking
without the website timing me out. It
takes so long.
One of the main businesses in town was
told, ‘I am so sorry we can only offer you
dial up’ because the lines are all stuffed.
We are not in 1817. Most things today
can only be done on-line. When asking
Chorus about repairs we were told it was
too expensive to repair so no, we can not
have reliable broadband and the extra
landlines that residents require.
Why would I vote for National in the
next election when they do not carry out
their promises, saying ‘look at us, we are
rolling out rural broadband?
We are looking at alternatives where the
whole community can go on to a reliable
connection, but at a cost. We pay taxes
to get these things done and as usual
We thought about asking ‘Development
East Coast ’ (my name for them as they
do not care about the West Coast) for
a grant to help out, but came to the
conclusion that seing we are not on the
east coast it would be a waste of time and
breath. At the end of the day, even the
squeaky wheel these days does not get a
mention and no doubt all our efforts have
fallen on deaf ears.
I saw a month or so ago a newborn
announcement. We (daughter and I) flew
in from NICU yesterday with the Flying
Doctors. Ari was induced at 36 weeks
and we had to go to CWH (Christchurch
Women’s Hospital) because of her
gestation. As Ari was meant to be a home
birth, it was a stressful and confusing
We had a lot of help from different
people and organisations throughout
the process from my midwife Sheryl
Joy Christian who took my concerns
seriously and got a colleague to help in
Christchurch, to Desma at the West
Coast DHB (I think) providing fuel
and organising accommodation, Ronald
McDonald House for accommodating
my family and then me after I was
discharged, Molly Jakovickas for
delivering our girl (another home birth
midwife) for ‘sur vival kit’ treat bag for
mothers of prems, the Neo Natal Unit
Trust for funds towards a prem’s needs,
and the Flying Doctors for the transfer
back to Greymouth Hospital.
It is damned good to be home on the
Coast. We even received a ‘weatherly
welcome’ with lightning as soon as we
landed and car alarms going off from
lightning striking the ground nearby as
we were transported to the hospital.
It may sound pretty ordinary but truth
be told, if Ari was not induced, Ari
probably would have died as she had a
cord around her throat twice and a true
knot in the umbilical cord, neither of
which was known until after she was
Fluoridation of water supplies is
intended as a dental therapy. It originated
in the USA under dubious circumstances
in the late 1940s. It is now trying to get
back on the menu in New Zealand, but
it is a fading practice. Ninety per cent of
water in the United Kingdom and 98% of
Europe is not fluoridated.
As the signs of fluorosis — fluoride
poisoning — become more widespread
and fluorosis is actually seen for what
it is and not just a cosmetic effect,
communities will have to reverse
fluoridation policy. Fluoridating
public water supplies with a poison is
controversial enough but it also overrules
informed consent and applies one dose
rate for an entire population. But beyond
toxicity and ethical questions is the cost
of equipment to dose this waste product
into the public water supply.
To assist expansion of fluoridation, the
government intends using tax dollars
to fund 50% of equipment installation
costs; the remaining 50% is to be met by
ratepayers. Annual costs of purchasing
the toxic waste and maintaining dosing
equipment will fall solely on the
ratepayers of a region.
It is with the economics of the
practice that a peculiar fact about
mass medication becomes evident.
Ninety-eight per cent of household
water is not used for drinking. All
that needlessly fluoridated water ends
up washing clothes, hands, showers,
watering the garden etc. Therefore, 98%
of the cost of adding the waste product
hydrofluorosilicic acid passes uselessly
into the environment, but still has to be
Of the 2% used for drinking, only about
one-fifth, 0.4%, goes to those the policy
claims to help — children between the
ages of three through 12, whose teeth are
emerging and maturing.
The bottom line is that for every
ratepayer dollar spent on this outmoded
practice less than half a cent ’s worth
reaches the children for whom it is
Woman denied basic
The recent media article about Westport
woman Linda Fenn and her problems of
accessing basic health care (‘Bedridden
woman fighting for pain relief,’
Greymouth Star, August 14), questions
the trustworthiness of the current quality
assurance process and the effectiveness of
the system of governance.
If Linda is being denied pethidine, it
questions whether she has received other
basic care indicated for her underlying
medical condition, such as measures to
decrease kidney stone formation. Pain
from kidney stones can be severe and
pain relief needs to be individualised for
the person, severity, and the mechanism
If pethidine is the most effective agent
for the severe bouts of pain, anyone
denying her pethidine is obliged to
provide an alternative plan demonstrated
to be effective. If she is denied basic pain
relief, ask your Members of Parliament
to question why section 9 of the New
Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 does
not apply in this situation: ‘Everyone
has the right not to be subjected
to torture or to cruel, degrading, or
disproportionately severe treatment or
Linda has a kidney condition which is
uncommon and most doctors will not
have the necessary experience-based
knowledge to manage her condition in its
entirety. Most doctors would need to rely
on specialist consultation and a review
of medical literature. In the old model
of care, if a GP was unable to provide
the necessary care, secondary care took
over the responsibility of co-ordination
In Linda’s case, the appropriate medical
management would have required
the expertise of emergency medicine
specialists, urologists (surgeon), kidney
specialists (physicians), pain medicine
specialists and dietitians. Most of these
specialist ser vices are not available on site
in Buller or at Grey Base Hospital, and it
would have been difficult to provide the
necessary assessment in Buller.
If Linda had received an appropriate
medical assessment and follow-up early
in her illness, the course of the illness
would have been very different.
John von Radowitz
Broken hearts can be mended using an
injectable tissue repair patch smaller than
a postage stamp, research shows.
The Angio Chip consists of a
biodegradable scaffold seeded with lab-
grown heart cells and blood vessels.
Once injected into an ailing heart,
shape-memory technology causes it to
unfold into an expanding “bandage”. Over
time the scaffold breaks down, leaving
behind the new growing tissue.
Tests have shown that injecting the
patch into rats that have suffered heart
attacks improves the animals’ cardiac
Damaged ventricles pumped out more
blood than they did without the patch.
Lead researcher Professor Milica
Radisic, from the University of Toronto
in Canada, said: “It can’t restore the heart
back to full health but if it could be done
in a human we think it would significantly
improve quality of life.”
An implant requiring open heart surgery
it is not going to be widely available to
patients, Prof Radisic explained.
The alternative, an injected patch, was
developed over a period of nearly three
After a large number of failures, the
scientists came up with a design based
on physical rather than chemical shape-
This meant the unfolding process did
not require additional injections and
would not be affected by conditions
within the body.
Injecting the patch into rats and pigs
confirmed the heart cells sur vived the
procedure well, the researchers reported in
the journal Nature Materials.
Miles Montgomery, a PhD student in
Prof Radisic’s laboratory, said: “ When
we saw that the lab-grown cardiac tissue
was functional and not affected by the
injection process, that was very exciting.
“Heart cells are extremely sensitive, so if
we can do it with them, we can likely do it
with other tissues as well.”
The team is investigating whether the
patch can be improved or used to repair
other organs such as the liver. — PA
Researchers prove broken hearts can be mended
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