Home' Greymouth Star : November 8th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1793 - L ouvre Museum in Paris opens to
1895 - Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, German
physicist, discovers x-rays.
1923 - Adolf Hitler stages unsuccessful coup
in Munich that comes to be known
as the Beer-Hall Putsch.
1942 - Allied forces begin landings
in North Africa, beginning the
Algeria- Morocco Campaign.
1960 - John F Kennedy elected US
1990 - US President George Bush
orders 200,000 more US troops to the Persian
Gulf in preparation for an attack on Iraq.
1998 - In Bangladesh, 15 former military
commanders are sentenced to death for the
1975 assassination of the country’s first prime
2000 - Canadian writer Margaret Atwood
wins Britain’s coveted Booker Prize for her
novel The Blind Assassin.
2008 - New Zealand goes to the polls and
elects a National Party government led by John
Key, ending nine years of Labour rule under
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Bram Stoker, British author
(1847-1912); Margaret Mitchell,
US author of Gone With The Wind
(1900-1949); Rickie Lee Jones,
US singer-songwriter (1954-);
Gordon Ramsay, British chef and tv
personality (1966-); Chris Fydler,
Australian swimmer and Olympic
official (1972-); Tara Reid, US actress (1975-);
Sam Sparro, Australian producer, songwriter,
performer (1982-) .
“Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.”
— Boris Pasternak, Russian author (1890-
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you
and that you may be in good health, just as it is
well with your soul. ” — (3 John 1:2).
The study has begun
of every nook and
cranny of every West
Coast public house. In
about a month, three Licensing Commission
inspectors will have completed an examination
of the 97 Coast pubs.
It is quite clear that there is no immediate
threat to any West Coast hotel no matter
what its physical standards are. Following the
commission’s decision its requirements are
placed before the hotel owner who is given a
specified time in which to make the alterations.
Another inspection is made in 12 months to
see if the requirements have been met.
The commission can not close hotels, but
if its requirements are not met it can make
application to have a hotel’s licence revoked.
Boston marathon winner Dave McKenzie
was placed second in the New Zealand
Sportsman of the Year award, presented at
the annual dinner in Auckland last night.
Over whelming winner was motor racing
champion Denis Hulme with 183 points, the
highest in the history of the award, according
to Murray Halberg head of the Murray
Halberg Trust for Crippled Children, the body
organising the award.
The Westland District Progress League has
received several entries from local schools in
its quest to find a suitable cover design for the
tourist brochure it is sponsoring. The league
will be looking for originality and impact value
in each design.
League chairman Mr W A Harris said some
of the entries were very commendable. “I feel
confident we will get exactly what we are after.”
The league is offering $20 for the winning
uFood for thought
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part of a
of work at New Zealand’s
largest collection of category
one buildings, has won a
prestigious UNESCO award.
The $40m restoration
of the Great Hall and
Clock Tower buildings at
Christchurch’s Arts Centre
has earned an award of merit
in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific
awards for cultural heritage
The Gothic Revival masonry
buildings, which sit in the
north-west corner of the Arts
Centre site, a stone’s throw
from the botanic gardens in
central Christchurch, suffered
major damage in the quakes of
2010 and 2011.
They had to be seismically
strengthened and retrofitted.
Significant heritage features,
like the turret and stained
glass windows, were
Arts Centre chief executive
Andre Lovatt tolds Newsroom
that three years ago the charitable
trust set a goal of winning a
significant heritage award and
UNESCO is the preeminent
organisation for celebrating such
“Looking back on the three years and the
project and what ’s been achieved, it ’s huge
for us,” he said.
“It’s a big endorsement of the hard work
that a very, very large team is putting in
and it’s more fuel, really, for us to keep
doing what we’re doing.”
Part of that job is fundraising; the trust
has a $35 million shortfall for the centre’s
restoration, which should be finished by
the end of 2020.
The UNESCO awards jury’s chairman,
Duong Bich Hanh, chief of UNESCO’s
Bangkok culture unit, said in a statement
the restoration returned a major historic
landmark to the public and “celebrates
a memorable step towards the city’s
Forty-three projects from 10 countries
were in the running for the award. It was
the fourth time a New Zealand project
had been recognised.
The Arts Centre was the city’s original
university and previously housed
Christchurch’s Girls’ and Boys’ High
In the bowels of the Clock Tower
building is Rutherford’s Den, where Nobel
Prize-winning physicist Ernest Rutherford
conducted his early experiments.
Beyond that scientific pedigree, there is
also a huge emotional connection to the
site for many people, especially for local
lovers of arts, culture and heritage in a city
which lost so much in the 2010 and 2011
Mr Lovatt said heritage features in the
Great Hall and Clock Tower heritage
features have been meticulously restored
and new structures have been built within
the buildings themselves.
“That new structure makes them strong
and enables us to all have confidence that
the buildings are going to stand up to
future earthquakes, if we ever have them.
“That process basically starts with pulling
all of the interior heritage fabric out,
removing it, filing it and recording it so
that it can eventually go back in.
“And then we put new concrete structure
internally within the building and then
put the heritage fabric back on.”
Despite the strengthening work, the
buildings are, geometrically, almost
identical to how they were prior to the
earthquakes. Mr Lovatt described that
process as complex and difficult.
“ You don’t see, in these buildings,
widespread use of exposed steel, which
is very, very significant from a heritage
perspective because all of the good stuff, if
you like, the stuff that makes the building
strong is hidden.”
The Arts Centre of Christchurch
charitable trust was created when the
university left the central city in the 1970s.
Its mission was to hold and conser ve
the heritage buildings, but also to be a
place which accommodates, fosters and
promotes the arts, culture and education.
The Clock Tower was built in 1877 and
the Great Hall in 1882. They are the oldest
buildings of the Arts Centre’s 23.
As part of the restoration they now have
modern heating, lighting, power and data
technology. That includes central heating
in many places and underfloor heating in
the Great Hall.
The Great Hall’s memorial window,
which commemorates the death of 185
former Canterbury College students and
faculty in World War One, has 4000
individual pieces of glass.
“Thankfully it was safely removed prior
to the February 2011 earthquake so that
it could be kept safe. Having it out of
the building while the building’s being
restored has enabled it to be completely
refurbished — so new lead, all of the glass
was cleaned. And then the frame that
we’ve put it back into in the building is so
much more robust,” Mr Lovatt said.
The restoration cost for the two oldest
buildings cost a touch over $20,000 per
square metre — “ we literally can’t afford to
do that everywhere”, he said.
In other parts of the Arts Centre, the
cost will be as low as $8000 per square
metre — which means some buildings
might have discreet areas of exposed
steel and some slight changes in size to
account for strengthening work.
At its peak, when virtually half the site
was being worked on, up to 250 people
worked on the centre’s restoration.
Now, nearly 60% of the centre’s
footprint is either open or soon to be
open to the public. The tenants are a
carefully thought-out mix of commercial
— to earn the trust money, such as a
cheesemongers, deli and a sushi and
dumpling outlet — as well as space for
arts, culture and education.
Restoration manager Chris Whitty
took Newsroom on a behind-the-fences
tour of the work in the Department of
Engineering cluster of buildings and
One of the engineering buildings, which
has been stripped right back, used to
house the Court Theatre’s main theatre.
The timber floor, which used to sit
about 60cm above the concrete base, is
gone. Timber floorboards and windows
sit on racks as hammering goes on
overhead and outside.
Massive concrete piers run from the
floor to the high ceiling, and are linked
under the floor.
At the top of the West Lecture
building, apartments are being built for
writers, scientists and artists in residence.
Below, there will be two cinemas and a
On the middle floor, near a new lift
shaft, he explains that the heritage shell
of the building is almost all that is left of
the original, built in 1917.
“The stairwell is the only heritage bit
left in the building. This was a bit of a
mish-mash and has been chopped around
in the early, early 1980s. So this piece of
the building here is basically a box that ’s
gone up within the heritage building.”
It is hard for Christchurch people to
stand in the Arts Centre without evoking
a flood of memories. For people of your
correspondent ’s generation, who attended
high school in the late 1980s, they
might re-live scenes of spending hours
wandering markets amid wafts of ethnic
food stalls; lazy afternoons listening to
live music on the grass; attending theatre
sports and plays at the Court Theatre; and
Christmas Eve drinking sessions at the
Dux de Lux pub.
After the still-broken cathedral, it is
arguably the city’s most beloved heritage
precinct. With more than half of it now
open, the Arts Centre gives Christchurch
people another much-needed reason to
visit the central city.
Christchurch Arts Centre’s Clock Tower building, constructed in 1877. The Gothic Revival buildings suffered major damage in the quakes of 2010 and 2011.
Restoration wins UNESCO award
The $40 million restoration of the Great Hall and Clock Tower buildings at
Christchurch’s Arts Centre has earned an award of merit in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific
awards. DAVID WILLIAMS of Newsroom reports.
New Zealand’s 52nd Parliament is now
open for business and a new operator is at
The Labour-NZ First-Green coalition
Government is the outcome of what
MMP negotiation is all about — securing
support and allies within the political
National failed with that and its leader,
Bill English, seems intent on claiming at
every opportunity “we secured the largest
vote and we are the biggest party”. Such a
statement is irrelevant.
Unfortunately for National, having the
most votes does not always mean you are
always the winner.
Labour got more votes than National in
two recent first-past-the-post elections, yet
it stayed in opposition and took it on the
chin. You can not have it both ways.
The same has happened in September
in the MMP world voting-wise, and the
sooner some within the National Party
realise this, the sooner they will get over
it and the sooner they will have energy to
start rebuilding some friendships, if there
are any out there to har vest.
If National, though, does not find some
soon it will be in opposition for some
considerable time under MMP; some
would welcome such a prospect.
Victory for National in 2020 is but a
pipe-dream presently. A key to it getting
off the floor is renewal. Some faces on
National’s front bench looked tired and
well beyond their ‘use by’ date.
Coupled with some unabashed ‘I
know best ’ from the likes of Nick Smith,
Johnathon Coleman, Judith Collins and
even robotic Bill, given his tiresome
responses to the Todd Barclay affair, many
of National’s line-up have lost their appeal.
They are stale. For that reason English will
not be there in 2020.
He is looking at the treble trying to
win at the ballot box. He has been the
bridesmaid a couple of times now. Even
Steven Joyce looked an island given his
election deficit scaremongering that only
loyal Bill English supported.
And when an American with rolls of
cash can come to New Zealand for only
a few days and then he is fast-tracked to
purchase a large block of land, these sorts
of issues grate on many, as does a minister
in the form of Nathan Guy, who was all
evasive when questioned over the matter.
It all looked a bit dodgy.
Under National’s watch as in the past,
the rich only got richer and those that
were not, got poorer.
It was not that long ago National
actually wanted to ‘close the gaps’, but a
flip-flop and the promise of more tax cuts
for those on the upper end, never appealed,
yet National stuck with it at a cost
politically. Many were far more concerned
about other matters — health today, for
example, not tax cuts for a tomorrow that
was a long way off. The money on offer
would effectively be nullified by the time
it was due.
The Labour-NZ First-Green
relationship will not be without many
challenges, but even at this early stage the
public and even businesses seem to have
warmed to the new faces and the new
The Greens worry many, but they will
be kept in check for better inside the tent
than outside, where they would be unable
to do much about what concerns them.
The Ardern Government has to be
mindful that it would be put to the sword
electorally if change was too drastic and
not in accord with the average household’s
wishes and expectations.
For example, opening up the prison
doors because there are too many locked
up will upset many. You do the crime, you
do the time, no matter the cost. That is
what many law abiding citizens think.
Radical change has been the downfall
of Labour and it should not forget that.
Rogernomics re-invented will see Labour
destroyed if there is a replay and it would
be seated on the opposition benches for
far longer than three terms, should history
Winston Peters is nearing the end of
his long political career and he wants
to bow out on a positive note. He was
astute enough to realise a fourth term
government was a likely death sentence for
NZ First. The Maori Party found that out.
Peters front-footing the Pike River Mine
re-entry was underestimated by National,
which never took the issue seriously. There
is no doubt that Peters garnered profile
and votes for his position.
National only belatedly realised there
was indeed a housing crisis after three
terms, and the same could be said about
the health system. Several ministers had
a repeated case of denial whenever issues
causing some angst were raised and
resorted to the much used line that ‘more
resources than ever have gone into health’,
and ‘more elective surgery is being done
than ever before’ as was the case with the
former health minister.
Few are impressed either when a
government shifts the goal posts to
achieve an environmental water quality
target that was unobtainable without some
The majority of the voters in an MMP
system did not see much in the way of
improvements in their circumstances
through the government ’s lens, and voted
The world stage has always had a great
bearing on New Zealand’s fortunes and
that will continue. There is little any
government of whatever making can do
Prime Minister Ardern has an
opportunity to redress the balance though,
and change the path we should be on. All
New Zealanders should wish her well.
Bill English, too, would gain more
respect and bring back support if National
was constructive instead of being
obstructive, as he indicated National
would be, as the ‘biggest party’ in the select
committees. That sounds like sour grapes.
The best party is the one that works in
the interests of all New Zealanders. The
last government he led was off course — it
had no MMP friends, yet needed them.
Hopes for a fresh new Government
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