Home' Greymouth Star : November 9th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, November 9, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1923 - Fourteen Nazis are killed as federal
troops break up march of Adolf Hitler’s storm
troopers in Munich, Germany.
1938 - Bands of Nazis roam streets of
Germany, burning and destroying Jewish
synagogues, homes and stores in
Kristallnacht (the night of broken
1963 - Coal mine explosion at
Umuta, Japan kills 452 miners.
1982 - Western sources say up to
2700 civilians and Soviet soldiers in
a convoy have perished after a fiery
collision in a mountain tunnel in Afghanistan.
1989 - East Germany opens its borders,
leading to the eventual tearing down of the
1991 - Shifting positions, Serbia urges UN to
send peacekeeping troops to Croatia.
1993 - Flush from a parliamentary election
victory, King Hussein says Jordan will forge
ahead in negotiating peace with Israel.
2008 - Bali bombers Amrozi, his brother
Mukhlas and Imam Samudra are executed by
2016 - Dreamworld announces it will
demolish the Thunder River Rapids ride that
caused the death of four Australians when it
flipped a couple of weeks earlier.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Singleton, Australian media
businessman (1941-); Lou Ferrigno,
US actor (1951-); Kevin Andrews,
Australian Liberal politician (1955-
); Laura Csortan, Australian model
and television presenter (1976-);
Jana Pittman, Australian athlete
(1982-); Delta Goodrem, Australian
“All life is an experiment.” — O liver Wendell
Holmes Jr, US Supreme Court justice (1841-
“But, in accordance with His promise, we
wait for new Heavens and a new Earth, where
righteousness is at home. ” — (2 Peter 3:13).
Quick thinking and
more than a little bit
of luck probably saved
the life of Mr Lindsay
McKenzie on a logging road in the Haupiri
region yeaterday morning. He was driving a big
logging truck with a full load when a spring is
thought to have broken, locking the steering
Mr McKenzie immediately sprawled full
length along the seat and as the vehicle shot off
the road and into a swamp the top logs on the
trailer shot for ward and flattened the cab. His
right hand was pinned to the steering wheel
but while he waited two hours for rescue he
was able to reach a spanner and working left-
handed to dismantle the steering wheel.
The Ngahere garage proprietor Mr Harry
Silk and other arrived to free the trapped man
and managed with use of a crowbar to free
Mr McKenzie from the wrecked cab. He was
treated at outpatients for the injury to his hand
but the next day was back at work.
The Hokitika Jaycees chapter has again
undertaken the organisation of the Miss West
Coast show. The contest will probably be held
near the end of February.
The Hokitika group was the organising body
behind last year’s show which followed the
style of a cabaret-ball.
A 79% increase in the number of visitors to
the Westland National Park was noted for the
year ending March 31, 1967. This represented
the greatest increase in all the national parks
throughout New Zealand.
The total number of visitors throughout the
park was 210,000, while at Arthur’s Pass there
were 70,000. Mt Cook only managed to tally
uFood for thought
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It was a mistake: A serious mistake;
a mistake born out of Labour’s
naive readiness to trust the National
Opposition. It was, after all, the first
sitting of the newly-elected House of
Representatives. Normally, an occasion
for a little bit of pomp and circumstance,
when Members of Parliament swear
allegiance to the sovereign, assume their
seats, and elect one of their number
Speaker of the House. Historically, a day
of bipartisan goodwill; a day for tradition;
a day of calm before the House settles
into its normal, adversarial, storms.
Not this day.
Clearly, when the leader of the
opposition, Bill English, told a member
of the parliamentary press gallery that
“ it’s not our job to make this place run
for an incoming Government ”, Labour’s
new leader of the House, Chris Hipkins,
refused to take him seriously. Not even
Chris Hipkins’ naive big mistake
Mr English’s parting shot — “ we have
no obligation to smooth (Labour’s) path.
None whatsoever” — was explicit enough
for Labour to take precautions against an
Not on the first day.
Not even when Simon Bridges,
National’s shadow leader of the House,
accused Labour of attempting to
perpetrate an “unprecedented” erosion
of the opposition’s democratic rights,
did Mr Hipkins smell a rat. Why should
he, when all he was proposing to do was
implement a number of unanimously
agreed changes to the rules governing the
conduct and membership of Parliament ’s
After all, these same amendments to
Parliament ’s Standing Orders — one
of which limited the number of select
committee members to 96 — had been
recommended to the previous House
of Representatives by no less a person
than the man now proclaiming them
to be a democratic outrage — Simon
Obviously, this was all about the
opposition giving voice to its frustration.
opposition is never easy and the
temptation to rhetorical overstatement
is always very strong. Mr English was
simply talking tough — that is his job
now. Mr Bridges? Well! Taking his cue
from Mr English, he was simply pumping
up the rhetoric to bursting point. Hell,
Mr Hipkins had done it himself often
enough when seated on the opposition
benches. All this fire and brimstone was
being laid on for the benefit of National’s
aggrieved voters, still smarting over the
election outcome. There was no need for
him, or anyone else on the Government ’s
side of the House, to get excited.
Except, there was.
With the Foreign Affairs Minister,
Winston Peters, and the Trade Minister,
David Parker, both out of the country,
and three more Government members
absent from the chamber, Mr Hipkins
was three votes shy of a majority on the
floor of the House. No matter, the only
important business of the day was the
election of Trevor Mallard as Speaker of
the House, with National’s Anne Tolley as
his deputy. All parties had been consulted,
and all parties were agreed. The vote was a
Until Mr Bridges turned it into
They say that the first and most
important skill a politician is obliged
to master is how to count. Mr Bridges
tallied-up the Government numbers
and realised that the National Party
had command of the floor. Without
a moment ’s hesitation he pounced.
If Labour wanted Mr Mallard to be
Speaker, then they would have to yield to
the opposition on the number of select
committee members. Instead of 96, Mr
Bridges demanded 108. If Mr Hipkins
refused, then National would use its
temporary command of the House to
deny Mr Mallard his heart’s desire — the
It was a scene of extraordinary drama.
Mr Bridges, his face contorted in a rictus
of anthropoid belligerence, confronted
the beseeching countenances of Mr
Hipkins and Finance Minister Grant
Robertson. The image will do him no
harm — not among his caucus colleagues,
anyway. With a single, ruthless stroke of
parliamentary gamesmanship, Mr Bridges
has seized for himself the priceless mantle
of National’s warrior knight.
At what cost?
Mr Hipkins made the mistake of
believing that National would not stoop
to turning the opening of Parliament into
an ugly display of aggressive partisanship.
It is a mistake he will do everything in his
power to avoid repeating.
Mr Bridges, meanwhile, has signalled
that National is ready to employ the
tactics of the United States Republican
Party: Obstruction without reason;
obstruction without purpose; obstruction
In the memorable words of Bette Davis
in All About Eve: “Fasten your seatbelts,
it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Moa pit of death
10m-deep death pit in
thousands of bones from
unlucky flightless birds has
been dubbed the richest
site in New Zealand for
certain species, including moa.
“It’s just packed with bones under your
feet,” said Te Papa’s curator of vertebrates
Alan Tennyson, who paid a visit to the
small cave earlier this year.
“The cave is relatively famous, I suppose,
in the bird palaeontology world of New
Zealand, because it has produced a lot of
bones and it has still got bones in it.
“This particular cave is incredibly rich
. . . thousands of bones already found, and
there’s probably thousands more still
sitting in there.
“The funny thing is, it ’s really a tiny, little
The entrance to the hole is only a few
metres wide, but it is easy enough to spot
now the area is clear. Thousands of years
ago when the land was covered in thick
forest, hapless birds would fall in and
become trapped among the skeletons.
“On the surface there are modern
animals still there,” Tennyson said.
“A couple of dead sheep there. There are
still animals falling into that hole.”
The hole was first discovered in 1914
by a deerstalker who reported finding
moa bones, and Te Papa’s forerunner,
Dominion Museum, launched an
expedition in 1920.
The diverse range of bones include those
of kakapo, kiwi, North Island takahe,
weka, and the extinct adzebill, a bird that
used to be about 80cm tall.
Many of the bones, some of which come
from other animals such as the tuatara or
some species of frogs, have been excavated
and are held at Te Papa Museum now.
“It ’s not a unique site. The main ways
that fossil bird bones are found are in
sand dunes, swamp deposits, and caves.
There are a lot of caves in New Zealand,
obviously, and quite a few of them
have produced bones. This cave is just
particularly rich, probably the richest site
for some of the species that we now have
excavated over more than 100 years.”
Any further expeditions to the cave,
which is known as a pitfall trap, are on
hold for now. Tennyson said there were
still many bones to be sorted, and the cave
was a good place to preser ve the rest until
the museum had the time and resources to
excavate and sort more.
There was some argument for leaving
bones where they lay, with many cavers
preferring them to remain put for
“There’s some benefits in leaving bones
in situ because we don’t know what future
studies might be thought of,” Tennyson
“The bones in this particular cave are
actually a really good source of DNA.”
The most common type of bone found
in the cave is that of the extinct Finsch’s
duck, quickly recognisable by its beak. The
trap is also the country’s richest source of
Because the hole is a pitfall, it is
dominated by the remains of flightless
birds that “blundered along” and fell in,
unable to fly back out again.
“Once they fall down the hole there’s no
way of getting out. ”
The “key thing” about the site was that it
showed researchers where certain species
of bird used to be before their extinction.
“ We can do research on them, looking
at their relationships for example, based
on the DNA. It’s an amazing resource of
material.” — New Zealand Herald
PICTURES: Te Papa
The pit is easy to spot now, but thousands of years ago would have been hidden by thick forest.
Many tuatara jawbones were found at the bottom of the pit.
Thousands of bones have been recovered from the pit over the past 100 years, and are now held at Te Papa in Wellington.
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