Home' Greymouth Star : September 8th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, September 8, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1943 - Allied Commander Dwight D
Eisenhower announces Italy’s unconditional
surrender in World War Two.
1945 - Hideki Tojo, Japanese prime minister
, attempts suicide rather than face a
war crimes tribunal. The attempt fails
and he is later convicted and hanged.
1972 - Israeli Air Force, in
retaliation for slaying of Israeli
athletes at Munich Olympics, attacks
10 Palestinian guerrilla bases and
naval installations in Syria and
1974 - President Gerald Ford grants an
unconditional pardon to former President
1993 - Gunmen in Johannesburg kill at least
21 black commuters and wound 25.
2003 - Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler’s
filmmaker and one the last of Germany ’s
famous Nazi-era figures, dies aged 101.
2006 - Racing car driver and nine-time winner
of the Bathurst 1000, Peter Brock, is killed
during the Targa rally, aged 61.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Richard I, the Lion Heart, king of England
(1157-1199); Sir Harry Secombe, Welsh
singer-comedian (1921-2001); Sid Caesar, US
comedian (1922-2001); Peter Sellers, British
comedian-actor (1925-1980); Patsy
Cline, US country singer (1932-
1963); Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan,
US musician of Grateful Dead
(1945-1973); Stefano Casiraghi,
Italian businessman and husband of
Princess Caroline of Monaco (1960-
1990); James Packer, Australian
businessman (1967-); Lachlan Murdoch,
Australian businessman (1971-); Pink, US
singer (1979-) .
“That pestilent cosmetic, rhetoric. ”
— T H Huxley, English biologist and author
“God saw everything that He had made, and
indeed, it was very good. ” — (Genesis 1:31).
Amid the natural
beauty of Dixon Park
the first outdoor
ever to be held in Greymouth will be said
on October 22. The Mass, which will be a
highlight of the Marist Brothers Old Boys
75th jubilee celebrations, will be said by 12
priests, all old pupils of the Marist Brothers
High School, with the chief celebrant the
Bishop of Christchurch the Most Rev B P
Secretary of the organising committee Mr
G Cooper said today arrangements were
already well in hand for the Mass and other
celebration activities. A portable organ and a
public address system will provide the music
and and a group of men are already practising
the hymns to be sung. They will be split up
among the congregation to lead the singing.
A Hokitika forestry worker received a
fractured femur and concussion when last
night the truck he was driving left the road and
plunged down a bank on the Dobson straight.
He is Mr Mer vyn Francis O’Reilly, aged 33, of
Park Street, Hokitika. He was admitted to the
Greymouth Hospital where his condition this
morning is satisfactory.
The accident occurred about 10 o’clock last
night at a point a mile south of Dobson. The
truck, a Forest Ser vice vehicle, ended upside
down and there was extensive damage to the
While controversy over the traffic plan for
the junction of Smith and Tainui streets is still
alive, the machinery of the MOW agents of
the National Roads Board grinds implacably
on. Field assistants were today taking levels
between the proposed traffic island sites.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
ighteen years ago Graham
Vanstone left his dad’s house
on Father’s Day, and was
never seen again.
The 49-year-old left his
father Alan’s house at around
5.20pm on September 5, 1999, wearing a
white short-sleeved t-shirt and dark blue
jeans, after spending time with family.
Once he arrived at his Akaroa home, he
contacted his partner Maeve Allen.
She later told police she had been driving
through Ashburton when she got the call at
He promised to have the jug on for her
when she returned home.
But when she got there, he was gone.
Vanstone is one of 385 New Zealanders
who have disappeared since 1939.
More than a third of those are
unexplained. More than 100 lost at sea.
According to information obtained
under the Official Information Act (OIA),
Canterbury is the most common place to
go missing, making up 19% of the country ’s
Nearly half of those go tramping in the
region’s beautiful mountain ranges and are
never heard from again.
However, more often than not, the reason
behind why a person goes missing remains
a mystery — a third of all cases over the
past 78 years are identified as ‘unexplained ’.
In the 1990s, Graham Vanstone was
transitioning from being a successful
fisherman to realising his dream of owning
a ‘lifestyle block with an income’.
After selling his quotas, he purchased a
2ha property overlooking the village
of Akaroa, 80km south-east of
Christchurch with the idea of starting a
“He decided being wet and cold all the
time was not the best idea for the second
half of his life, so he sold his quota and
invested money in other ventures,” Dr
Graeme Coles, the man who would take
over the unfinished venture, said.
“He (Graham) got some vines planted
and did all the work to start a vineyard on a
steep site above a village.”
However, Vanstone never got to taste the
fruits of his labour, disappearing before his
first vintage was picked.
His elderly father, Alan, initially took
over managing the vineyard, before Coles
— a crop and food scientist and Graham
Vanstone’s brother-in-law ’s cousin — took
Both of Graham’s sons also took on roles
at the business, which produces a couple of
hundred cases of wine a year.
Detective Inspector Tony Hill became
involved in the case around five months
after Vanstone went missing.
Officers left no stone unturned, he said,
and he is confident they followed up on
every lead to its full conclusion.
A number of scenarios have been visited,
and revisited, over the years.
Father’s Day 1999 was a decent spring
Sunday, with a high of 17degC and clear
In the days following Vanstone’s
disappearance police urged nearby farmers
to check outbuildings and sheds for any
signs of habitation.
Perhaps he had gone for a walk and
sheltered from a turn in weather.
Or maybe, as mentioned by police at the
time, Vanstone was alive and did not want
to be found.
His father Alan, then 78-years-old, told
The Press newspaper on October, 4, 1999,
his son may have been abducted.
However, he could not think of any
motive, he said.
“He would not have left home unless
he was forced to,” he told The Press at the
“He took no clothing and no shoes. Even
his jandals were left behind.”
Police forensically searched the home
and found no evidence of a struggle, Hill
said — they do not believe he left the house
The majority of his personal belongings
were found at his Akaroa home —
including his wallet, keys and car.
The cellphone he used to call Maeve
Allen at 6.20pm was still sitting by his
In fact, the police struggled to confirm
what he did take with him.
No one could provide police with a good
inventory of his wardrobe, Hill said, so they
could not even determine whether he left
the house with shoes on.
“His relationship with his then-partner
had not been going that long. Although he
had a strong relationship with his family
and father, not to the degree that someone
could conclusively say he had nine pairs of
shoes and one’s missing,” he said.
It is a case that sticks with him, Hill said.
“No one wants to have a case that they ’ve
never brought to a natural conclusion. But,
I’m also more than satisfied that the length
police have taken to investigate this case
has gone above and beyond,” he said.
As for Vanstone’s family, Hill said he is
frustrated for them.
“They would like some closure into what
happened to Graham. I suppose after all
this time they still sit in a position where
they wonder ‘where is Graham?’ to this
Vanstone’s family declined to comment, as
did his then-partner Allen.
Today, the father and son share a final
resting place at the Akaroa Catholic
The gravestone reads: “In memory of Alan
James Vanstone March 21, 1921 — January
30, 2003, much loved husband, father and
Another inscription just below reads:
“Also in memory of his son, Graham
John Vanstone, disappeared in Akaroa on
September 5, 1999 — aged 49 years”
Christchurch man Michael McGrath, 49,
has been missing for nearly four months.
He was last seen at his home on
Checketts Avenue, Halswell at 4.30pm
on Sunday May 21, but was not reported
missing until Tuesday.
His normal routine was to have dinner
with his mother on Tuesdays but he never
His family found his home locked, with
his wallet and cash inside.
McGrath’s 1994 blue Subaru Legacy sat
in the driveway and his push bike was also
His phone had not been used since May
21, nor had his bank account.
Within days, a detailed search and rescue
operation ensued and a dive squad scoured
waterways in the Halswell area.
Three properties were scene examined,
including that of Christchurch Men’s
Prison guard and childhood friend, David
Benbow — who police would say would be
a ‘person of interest ’.
A team of more than 20 police staff
searched the Kate Valley refuse centre over
four weeks — where a considerable number
of ‘items of interest ’ have been found.
McGrath’s twin brother, Simon, said
family and friends are desperate to get him
“ You have these nightmares,” Simon
“I wake up and I’m living a nightmare. I
think something sinister has happened to
“I know something bad has happened.
He’s never walked off in his life. He’s
a good brother, good set of friends. He
wasn’t on the wrong side of the law. It ’s not
something he would do.”
Investigations into McGrath’s
disappearance are continuing.
Police have set up a dedicated phone line
for people who have information regarding
Anyone with information can call
0800 346 364 (0800 findmichael) or
provide information anonymously via
Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
It has been nearly a year since then-17-
year-old Yuri Santana told his mother he
was going for a walk.
On October 4, 2016 he left his home on
Rangitata Huts Road in Clandeboye at
about 10am, wearing light blue shorts and
a light grey zip-up jacket with light green
striped on the sleeves.
He was last seen on Badham Road, near
the intersection of Rangitata Island Road
at 11.40am — and has not been seen or
heard from since.
In the days following Santana’s
disappearance, search teams and a
helicopter were used to explore the
Rangitata River area.
The family, who also have a seven-year-
old daughter, moved to New Zealand from
Brazil nine years ago, and do not have
other family here for support.
His mother, Rosy Santana, said the day
her son left he was pretty much normal —
he was a calm and quiet boy in general.
Santana’s 18th birthday was in December
— an oc c asion his family had to celebrate
“I miss him so much,” Rosy Santana said,
“the fact there is no sign anywhere to find
him is making me feel ... I don’t know even
how to describe the feeling ... Not having
him around is making me suffer.”
The investigation into the disappearance
of Santana has been suspended pending
any further information or lines of enquiry,
Anyone who sees Yuri or has any
information about his whereabouts is asked
to call 111 or contact Crimestoppers on
0800 555 111.
The following have been missing for a
year or more as at May 2017:
Auckland City: 14
Bay of Plenty: 44
Search and Rescue (Aviation): 5
Search and Rescue (Lake): 10
Search and Rescue (Land): 13
Search and Rescue (Mountain): 37
Search and Rescue (River): 11
Search and Rescue (Sea): 110
Suspected suicide: 28
— New Zealand Herald-Newstalk ZB
People missing in NZ
Ross Murcott was a family orientated,
community minded man who loved the
West Coast and the township of Dunollie
where he resided at 3 Inverness Street
from 1950, with his wife Isabel.
Ross was born in Nelson, one of seven
children of George and Mabel Murcott,
and as a boy attended the Spring Grave,
Brightwater and Wairau schools.
He left school at age 14, working for an
uncle on a farm before travelling to Ross
in 1937 where he worked in the Stuart
and Chapman Mill for a number of years.
He completed compulsory military
training with the armed forces before
moving to Greymouth where he began
a career working underground at the
Rewanui coalmine, where he spent 33
years as a miner and an underground
He also worked in the Reynolds and
Party private mine out the Coast Road
for over six years.
Ross was regarded by all as a man
who could turn his hand to anything,
including building and designing one of
the first jetboats on the West Coast in the
He was a keen fisherman and was
also known as D unollie’s Mr Fix it and
repaired untold mowers, cars, washing
machines and push bikes for many people
in the community — free of charge.
Ross enjoyed the outdoors and during
his retirement spent times working at the
Tahuna Beach Holiday Park in Nelson.
He loved sport and was awarded life
membership of the Runanga Rugby
League Club and the D unollie indoor
“He was always fixing things and helped
a lot of people and did a lot of work down
at the Runanga League grounds over the
years,” neighbour Shirley Kaye said.
“Ross was a gentleman and was
interesting as he had such a good
“He was a good neighbour.”
1921 - 2017
The mystery of why we love — or hate
— Marmite seems to have been solved.
Rather than a question of taste, it is a
question of genes.
DNA testing of 260 men and women
found that 15 genes predicted whether or
not they liked the spread.
“Marmite taste preference can in
large parts be attributed to our genetic
blueprint, which shows that each of us is
born with a tendency to be either a lover
or a hater,” Thomas Roos, who led the
“O ur data reveals that there are multiple
genes that contribute towards this, and it
is a really exciting discovery.”
He said a genetic aversion to the
spread could be overcome: “Like
anything in genetics, taste preference
is dictated by both nature and nurture.
Our environment can impact our taste
preference as much as the genes we are
Philippa Atkinson of Marmite said:
“For over a century we too have been
questioning why the nation are so clearly
divided between love or hate for Marmite.
“Finally, we have the answers. The DNA
data provides a glimpse into our taste
preferences. While it’s fascinating looking
at the data on this scale, the fun really
starts when you test your own DNA and
begin to delve into your own genetic
make-up and see if you were born a lover
A moderate influence of genes on
our taste preferences has been found
to include a liking for vegetables, fruit,
protein, snacks, starches and dairy
products in children aged three.
One gene has been found to help
determine whether we like bitter foods or
not — but possessing this gene variation
was not found to have any bearing on
favouring or despising Marmite. The
study was carried out by food science
Avi Lasarow, of the firm, said: “These
fascinating findings show again how each
day we are understanding more and more
about the role that genetics play in our
daily lives. The mystery around Marmite
is one of the great British food debates,
and we are proud to have led this exciting
Marmite was invented in 1902 by the
German scientist Justus von Liebig,
who found that brewer’s yeast could be
concentrated, bottled and eaten. — New
What makes someone love or hate Marmite
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