Home' Greymouth Star : January 11th 2019 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, January 11, 2019
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
Phone 03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Editor Paul Madgwick
Sports Editor Viv Logie
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
Reporters 03 769 7913
Hokitika reporters 03 755 8422
TODAY IN HISTORY AMELIA EARHART
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS RAHUL DRAVID
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new
creation has come: The old has gone, the new is
here!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17.
350 words or less
No noms de plume. Full name, address and
phone number required
One letter per week
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth
E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you are ruled by mind you are a king; if by
body, a slave.” — Cato, Roman statesman and
historian (234 BC-149 BC).
William James, US philosopher
(1842-1910); Rod Taylor, Australian
actor (1930-2015); Clarence
Clemons, US saxophonist with the
E Street Band (1942-2011); Daryl
Braithwaite, Australian singer
(1949-); Mary J Blige, US singer
(1971-); Amanda Peet, US actress and writer;
Rahul Dravid, Indian cricketer (1973-); Holly
Brisley, Australian actress (1978-); Cody Simpson,
Australian pop singer (1997-) .
1866 - The ship “London” is
wrecked in the Bay of Biscay en
route to Australia, with the death
of some 231 people.
1922 - A 14-year-old Canadian,
Leonard Thompson, becomes the
first person to have his diabetes
successfully treated with insulin.
1928 - Death of English novelist and poet
1935 - US aviator Amelia Earhart begins a trip
from Honolulu to Oakland, California, becoming
the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific.
1964 - US Surgeon General Luther Terry issues
the first government report saying smoking may
be hazardous to health.
1974 - The first sextuplets known to survive are
born to Sue Rosenkowitz in Cape Town.
1981 - A three-man British team led by Sir
Ranulph Fiennes completes the longest and
fastest crossing of Antarctica, reaching Scott base
after 75 days and 4022km.
2016 - Rupert Murdoch and actress-model Jerry
Hall announce their engagement in The Times.
WEST COAST YESTERYEAR
The West Coast is socially and culturally
unattractive to many doctors and on the whole its
population is parochial and apathetic.
Making this observation in the December
issue of the bulletin of the New Zealand Medical
Association, Dr S W Twemlow, of Reefton, in an
analysis of West Coast medical services continues:
“ There are rather amazing local antagonisms
between various parts of the Coast which make
administrative co-operative effort likely to be
slow, arduous and unattractive to any medical
administrator who wants to practice medicine. “
He says doctors’ wives on the West Coast have
a considerable adjustment problem and are not
prepared to wait for the acclimatisation period,
which seems to be about five years.
“Educational prospects, especially for the high
school age children, are poor and most are sent to
“ The West Coast has many unique aspects which
make the Health Department analogy to Taranaki
ludicrous,” Dr Twemlow, an executive member of
the association, said in beginning his article.
“Population estimates for the next 20 years
are for a virtually static population, assuming
that certain industries such as the coal-powered
station goes ahead, otherwise the population will
“ The already thin services are spread over a
sparsely populated area of about 300 miles long
with precarious communications.
“ The total population of about 37,000 is
insufficient to support private specialists.
“ There are seven special areas on the Coast, of
a total of 15 in the South Island, mainly served by
The supply of available doctors is drying up
in the face of resistance to Health Department
bursaries and as a result of a nation-wide GP
The former New Zealand Rugby League
international, J Butterfield, of Greymouth, has
applied for the position of coach for the South
Murwillumbah Rugby League Club, the Sydney
Sun herald reported yesterday.
Murwillumbah is 570 miles north of Sydney.
It always looks
bad when the
ruling party jails the
just a few months
before the election.
If only Khaleda
Zia, the leader of
(BNP), had decided
to boycott this
election like she did the last one, she
would probably still be a free woman. But
she decided to run, and so was sentenced
to jail time on various implausible
Her rival, Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina, could probably have won a fair
election against the BNP, but even with
Khaleda Zia in jail she took no chances
and arranged a landslide in which her
Awami League and its allies won almost
all the 300 seats in parliament. The BNP
only got seven seats, which is also pretty
After a decade in power, the Awami
League is getting arrogant and careless.
In Chittagong, the country’s second city, a
BBC reporter actually saw the pre-stuffed
ballot boxes being delivered to a polling
station. (Hint: When pre-stuffing ballot
boxes, ensure that they are opaque, not
Just another fake election, you might
think, no better and no worse than the
shambles of a vote in the Democratic (or
just Dreadful) Republic of Congo on the
same day. The outcome in the DRC has
not been announced yet (half the voting
machines were burned), but you may be
sure that the government will win there
too. So why should anybody care?
The DRC has the highest extreme
poverty rate in the world, with six out of
seven people living on less than $1.25 a
day. In six decades of independence, the
country’s 88 million people have never
seen a democratic transfer of power. They
hold elections anyway — even China has
“elections” — but nobody expects them
to change things. Bangladesh is a very
When Bangladesh broke free from
Pakistan 48 years ago after a bloody war,
it was seen as an economic basket case,
because its only natural resource was its
people — and there were too many of
them. There are even more of them now
— 167 million — but the pessimists were
Bangladesh works. It is still a very
poor and very corrupt country, but its
economy has been growing at an average
of 6.5% for the past 10 years and is now
at almost 8%, second highest in the world.
Unemployment is low, inflation is low and
steady, and it has its population growth
The region now called Pakistan and the
region now called Bangladesh had exactly
the same population when they were part
of the same country. Today ’s Bangladesh
has 167 million, while the Pakistan of
today has 202 million. Bangladesh’s
population will stop growing at about
200 million in 2050; Pakistan will have
300 million people in 2050 and still be
Even more impressive is Bangladesh’s
literacy rate, up from 47% to 73% in the
past 10 years. Who has been the prime
minister for the past 10 years? Sheikh
She may have locked up her rival,
arrested hundreds of BNP party workers
and brought charges against tens of
thousands of BNP party members. She
may have rigged the election. But the
country is doing fine. It just has this
endless civil war going on between its two
main political leaders, both now in their
70s: Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.
The “battling begums”, as the
Bangladeshi press calls them (begum
is a title used to refer to a Muslim
woman of high rank), did not start out
as enemies. Shortly after the country got
its independence in 1971, it fell under
military rule for almost two decades.
Sheikh Hasina’s father was the prime
minister murdered in the first coup;
Khaleda Zia’s husband was the ruling
general assassinated in the second coup.
The two women managed to co-operate
in removing the last military ruler in 1990,
and they have been the most important
politicians in the country ever since.
They quickly became first rivals and then
enemies, but they alternated in power in
a more or less functional democracy until
2014, when Sheikh Hasina decided she
would prefer to stay in power permanently.
Contrary to previous practice, she
declared that it would be her government,
not a neutral and temporary caretaker
government, that ran the 2014 elections.
Khaleda Zia protested that the election
would be rigged by the Awami League
government, and her party boycotted the
vote. That was a bad mistake: she handed
everything to Sheikh Hasina on a plate.
This time she tried to correct her mistake
and said that the BNP would run in the
election — so Sheikh Hasina sent her to
jail, and rigged the election so ruthlessly
that the BNP won only seven seats out of
So what? The country is doing well by
all the usual indicators. True, it is, but the
street violence grows with every election,
and BNP supporters everywhere are afraid
to let their views be known.
Bangladesh is now effectively a one-party
State in which somewhere around half the
population hates and fears the ruling party.
For the moment the fear predominates,
but sooner or later the Awami League will
stumble and the hate will be expressed
in actions. It would have been better to
stick with democracy, even if that meant
winning only part of the time.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
End of democracy in Bangladesh
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Sheikh Hasina, left, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and her rival Khaleda Zia.
here is a little Aussie
outback shire, almost
15,000km from Memphis,
where legend has it all staff
keep an Elvis suit behind
It is not a far-fetched tale if you know the
history. Almost three decades ago, Bob and
Anne Steel staged a 60th birthday party
for the local newspaper editor, cranked up
some Elvis tunes and the joint began to
“Everyone was singing along,” Bob
The sweet devotion for the boy from
Mississippi at their Gracelands restaurant
that night got the couple with a burning
love for Elvis thinking how they could get
those stakes up higher.
The idea for the Parkes Elvis Festival was
born, and first staged in 1993. While it was
not an overnight success, it got better with
the help of council backing.
Now every January, the rural hamlet of
12,000 people west of Sydney swells more
than double its size for the celebration,
which coincides with the king of rock ‘n
roll’s January 8 birthday.
It’s not unusual to see caped Elvis’s
crossing the dusty highway in the height of
the scorching heat as the town transforms
into a sea of quiffs and sideburns.
What is now dubbed the world’s biggest
tribute event to the king, pumps millions
into local coffers and sets local sales of
rhinestone jumpsuits soaring.
The guitar man’s face is projected onto
buildings at night, his music piped through
the town loudspeakers and even the bakery
sells custard tarts bearing his face etched in
There is no escaping the wonder of Elvis,
even if you try.
“Elvis is the most famous face in the
world,” Bob Steel explains.
“More people in the world know Elvis
than any other single person and he’s been
dead since 1977. Even little kids know who
When festival fever reaches high pitch,
the Miss Priscilla contest is a boon for local
hairdressers, Elvis impersonators of varying
talent strut their stuff and even pint-sized
Presleys opt for a gong.
The fun continues with a street parade
and a renewal of vows ceremony overseen
by an Elvis celebrant, because sometimes
tigers play too rough and life can make it
all shook up.
Some locals move out when Parkes
morphs into Elvis city, to avoid the influx
of fans known to come from afar as
Others rent out their digs for a nice sum
as accommodation sells out.
Elvis has seeped into the culture of the
town, other wise known for its giant radio
telescope that picks up whispers from
It is a far cry from the pre-festival days,
where Bob Steel recalls motels ran empty
and businesses closed down in January,
because it was too quiet in the dry, hot
Despite a slow build up, it is now the
busiest time of year.
Festival organisers point to an official
endorsement from Elvis Presley
Enterprises as integral to its growth.
The friendliness of revellers also keeps
fans returning — it is the kind of place
where no one’s gonna be lonesome
Al (Alvis) Gersbach, a grader operator
for shire, is the town’s “on call Elvis” and
has been dressing up as the icon for 15
At the end of the 2018 event, he is seen
sweating in a black studded jumpsuit as
the mercury nudges 40degC.
“It’s been a long week,” he muses.
Alvis has seen the town transform since
the very first festival.
“I used to take my children down to
watch the street parade as a couple of
floats went past and thought, ‘oh well,
that ’s a little bit different. Now it takes
nearly two hours to do the whole thing’, ”
The longtime Elvis fan never refuses a
photo, despite some unusual requests.
“It’s about giving someone else joy. That ’s
what you try to do, put a smile on the
dial,” he says.
The best thing about his “on call” job is
the chance to be someone else — and an
icon at that.
“He’s a guy that ’s come from nowhere.
He’s had nothing and quite happy to give
things away to people who had nothing,”
Elvis comes to town
PICTURE: Getty Images
Participants in the street parade pose during a previous Parkes Elvis Festival.
nowhere to eat
Well, our journey home from Motueka
to Christchurch turned into an adventure
on Tuesday evening, having to backtrack
from a way up the Lewis Pass back again
and route change to Greymouth for the
Two adults and two small girls set to
stay the night, wonderful accommodation
arranged, and then looking for something
to eat. We found nothing open other than
all the fast food places and two expensive
restaurants. Believe us, we were over fast
food by that stage but to Macca’s again it
The accommodation were great when
they realised why people were arriving in
looking hassled. Lots of accommodation
but at 6.30pm the town was deserted, and
no family-priced places to eat.
Come on Greymouth. I read recently
concern at people just driving through ...
Anyway, we had fun at Shantytown
before setting off for home, and it was a
great respite from all the rest so we are
thankful for the good points.
West Coast heroes
Timaru man, Terry Kennedy, in his
recent rant about Greymouth’s new
hospital, said ‘we the people of the West
Coast ’. Am I right in thinking that this
is the Terry Kennedy who left the West
Coast several decades ago?
If so, he may be from the West Coast
damn cheek poking his nose into affairs
that no longer concern him. Might I
humbly suggest that he look after his
own backyard and leave the real
West Coasters to worry about their
Also, in regard to the recent New Year
Honours list. Any chance of publishing a
list of the folk, like former Buller mayor
Pat O’Dea, who politely declined an
In my view they are the true heroes of
Over Christmas, while visiting a
few friends (quiet a lot, actually) in
Greymouth, I was most surprised to
be asked the same question concerning
making a visit to see a GP, especially at
one of the medical centres.
It seems that to see a GP cannot always
in fact be guaranteed, whether you make
an appointment in advance or a few
days prior, and some people appear very
concerned that if they do
not telephone the practice on the day of
the visit they may arrive to find they have
to see a practice nurse. Not what they
want appears to be the general comment.
On top of this, with no public transport
available in Greymouth except taxis many
pensioners cannot afford this on top of a
visit when no GP is present. This needs
urgently looking at I think?
I must say I did note the after-hours
surgery ad in the Greymouth Star with
no mention of the name of any doctor
who would be in attendance? Someone
needs to see this matter is addressed
before a fatality occurs.
Moana says ‘thanks’
The Moana Save Our Church Committee
would like to extend a huge ‘thank you’
once again to the many organisations,
businesses and individuals who assisted
in so many ways with this year’s Moana
Market Day 2019, on January 2.
To our major sponsors Mark Jones
Collision and Repairs and Moana Hotel,
the financial contributions were significant
For the continued support with many
large contributions we are indebted to:
Farmlands Greymouth, Greymouth BP,
Greymouth Showcase Jewellers, Into Jeans,
John Mills, Kingsgate Greymouth, Kotuku
Heritage Society, MBD Contracting, Mitre
10 Greymouth, Moana Trout Fishing
Safaris, Moana Volunteer Fire Brigade,
NBS Westport, New World Greymouth,
Nimmo Photography, Phil McGoldrick,
Pop-Up Weddings West Coast, Sound
Sensation Christchurch, Taurus Group
Christchurch, T Croft Ltd, Tech Space,
TLC Home Ser vices, Westside Surf and
Street, and Westmere Drilling Ltd.
The many other businesses, organisations
and individuals, especially those who
volunteered on the day, are too numerous to
list but their help and generosity will not be
To the fabulous stallholders who
continued to smile despite the rain, a huge
‘thank you’ for sticking with us — we do
value the support.
Finally, to the public who came, found
bargains, got wet and had fun, come and
spend the day with us again next year. Plan
to bring a picnic blanket and deck chairs to
enjoy the live band ...
Our Heavenly High Tea and virtual
reality vouchers can be brought as
Christmas gifts from our pre-Christmas
We have a church to save and with
continued help, we will achieve this!
Moana Save Our Church Committee
Perils of the world
Apropos of absolutely nothing, has
anyone ever mused about the prevalence of
perils that have scared the pants off people
throughout the ages?
There was the Black Peril, the Red Peril,
and more than one Sky Blue Pint Peril.
At present the Coast ’s very sur vival is the
power of the ghastly Green Peril. This
too shall pass, folks. Cheer up! Take the
long view — it will be all the same in
a hundred years. That is if maniacs like
Trump have not managed to blow the
world to smithereens. Hahaha. Happy
L A Elphick
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