Home' Greymouth Star : January 17th 2019 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 17, 2019
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Editor Paul Madgwick
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TODAY IN HISTORY ROBERT SCOTT
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS MUHAMMAD ALI
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
“ Therefore we do not lose heart. Though
outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we
are being renewed day by day.” — 2 Corinthians
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“I am always ready to learn, but I do not always
like to be taught.” — Winston Churchill, British
Benjamin Franklin, US statesman
(1706-1790); Al Capone, US
gangster (1899-1947); Betty
White, US actress (1922-); Eartha
Kitt, singer-actress (1927-2008);
James Earl Jones, US actor (1931-);
Muhammad Ali, US boxer (1942-
2016); Steve Earle, American musician (1955-);
Jim Carrey, Canadian actor (1962-); Michelle
Obama, US First Lady (1964-) .
1773 - Captain James Cook’s
Resolution becomes the first ship
to cross the Antarctic Circle.
1912 - Captain Robert Scott and
his expedition reach the South
Pole, one month after Norway’s
1929 - Popeye makes his first appearance as a
character in a comic strip.
1966 - US B52 bomber collides in mid-air with
a refuelling tanker over Spain. Eight people are
killed and the bomber’s H-bomb falls into the
1995 - Japan’s deadliest earthquake in 70 years
slams Kobe and other western cities, killing
more than 5000 and causing $130 billion in
1996 - Italy’s former prime minister Silvio
Berlusconi goes on trial for corruption.
1997 - In Dublin, a court grants the first
divorce in Ireland’s history.
2017 - The search is called off for Malaysia
Airlines flight 370 nearly three years after the
plane went missing with 239 people on board.
WEST COAST YESTERYEAR
Public servants and government officials in
Greymouth are still waiting for replacement
buildings for those damaged in the May 24
earthquake more than seven and a half months
So far no definite decision on the type or form
these buildings will take, or when they will be
built has been made.
Some departments have decided to rebuild
and have selected a site, but others have heard
nothing of future plans.
The Railways Department engineer’s building
in Mackay Street was recently pulled down and a
new building is proposed on the same site.
A railway official said today that the department
was still waiting on approval plans from
Wellington, and this was the main hold-up.
The Ministry of Works, Social Security Justice and
Mines departments said that they had received no
definite information of rebuilding plans.
Last year the Greymouth Re-development
Committee advocated a central Government
departmental building in Greymouth, with room
for all the displaced departments.
The Member for Westland, Mr P Blanchfield, took
this one step further and brought the matter up in
However, despite this, the need for these
buildings and the cramped and makeshift offices
public servants have to work in, no rapid move to
rehouse the departments has been evident.
Arrangements have been made, and the Grey
Hospital will have supplies of the vaccine to fight
off the Hong Kong influenza which is at present
sweeping the United States and is due in New
Zealand this winter, as soon as the supply is
distributed throughout the country.
Vaccine to fight the flu was flown into New
Zealand recently from Great Britain.
Acting Superintendent at the Grey Hospital,
Mr W Jones, said that Dr J MacLaurin, medical
specialist at the hospital, had made arrangements
for the flu vaccine to be delivered to Greymouth
as soon as possible.
Medical authorities have estimated that 80
New Zealanders will lose their lives in the coming
The general election in 2020 will differ
from 2017’s in one vital respect — it will
not be about “the economy, stupid”. This
poses serious problems for the coalition
The unlikely pairing of Labour and New
Zealand First would not have happened
had the dominant themes of the 2017
election not been inequality, homelessness,
child poverty and pollution. F luid public
concern surrounding these issues had
congealed into a broad political consensus
that “something must be done”. This, in
turn, had led to a blurring of traditional
electoral boundaries. It was this blurring
effect which encouraged a party of the
populist right to reach out to a party of
the centre-left and, more surprising still,
accept the participation of radical greens
in a new government.
The re-election of this unlikely electoral
alliance depends crucially on the dominant
themes for 2020 remaining firmly rooted
in the practical concerns of the majority.
Is the gap between the rich and the poor
widening or closing? Are people better
housed than they were in 2017? Have
first-home buyers been given the hand-up
they were promised? Has the percentage
of children living in poverty gone up or
down? Are New Zealand’s rivers and lakes
more — or less — swimmable?
Positive answers to these questions —
and the absence of too many distracting
alternatives — should turn the coalition
Government ’s re-election into a slam-
dunk. If, however, the National Party
Opposition can wrench the electorate’s
attention away from the coalition’s bread
and butter priorities, then everything will
be made significantly more difficult for
Labour, NZ First and the Greens.
Unfortunately for the governing parties,
the 2020 election shows every sign of being
defined by the politics of distraction.
For this, the governing parties have
no one to blame but themselves. They
were the ones who decided to put
euthanasia, the legalisation of cannabis,
the decriminalisation and liberalisation of
abortion, and the reform of New Zealand ’s
justice system on the political agenda. All
of these issues are distinguished by one
overriding political characteristic: Their
capacity to polarise the electorate. The very
outcome which this curious, composite
government should be straining every
political sinew to avoid.
The National Party and its allies have
lost little time in girding their loins for
this fight — one much easier to win than
a battle against consolidating the material
gains of the voting public. Already, the
conser vative lobby-group, Family First,
is poring over the poll results supplied to it
by Curia Research, the agency directed by
National’s long-time pollster, David Farrar.
Family First has noted the white-heat
generated by all aspects of the transgender
issue and, thanks to Curia Research, now
know how New Zealanders feel about
some of the most sensitive questions
associated with transgender politics. More
importantly, Family First has hard evidence
that the gulf between the attitudes of NZ
First and Green Party voters is vast. The
potential to destabilise the Government
by driving the transgender issue to the
front of the electorate’s consciousness is,
Curia’s data also makes clear how divided
the centre-left ’s electoral base is on the
transgender issue. If the right is able to
goad the identity politicians of Labour
and the Greens into displaying a series
of extreme responses to the transgender
issue, then the potential for alienating a
significant number of socially conservative
Labour supporters is considerable.
The likelihood of the activist left
perceiving this danger is, however, remote.
Of more significance to them will be the
fact that upwards of a third of voters are
happy to have transgender issues canvassed
within New Zealand schools. They will,
rightly, celebrate the sheer numerical
dimensions of the tolerance and solidarity
on display. Of less interest to these activists
will be Curia’s finding that a clear majority
of citizens are opposed to teaching
children that their gender, far from being
biologically fixed, can be changed.
The exploitation of the political
sensitivities associated with the transgender
issue will only be the first of many
diversions as the politics of distraction
unfolds between now and the general
election. At most risk of electoral injury
will be NZ First, whose deeply conser vative
electoral base will experience ever-
increasing levels of personal and political
unease as Labour and the Greens advance
their ultra-liberal social agenda.
If, by 2020, National is able to convince
NZ First supporters that Labour’s and the
Green’s priorities are no longer theirs, then
it will win.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
The politics of distraction
New Zealand Coalition Government leaders Winston Peters (NZ First), left, Prime
Minister Jacinda Ardern (Labour) and James Shaw, (Greens).
ormer Reefton man Tim
White was known for his
sharp-shooting skills as a
hunter on the West Coast.
It made him an ideal
candidate for a sniper during
World War Two.
But there was one major hiccup — Mr
White did not want to shoot anyone.
When he was drafted, Mr White
deliberately missed targets so he would
not be chosen for a role in which he
would have to shoot someone.
Eventually, after failing his sniper test,
Mr White was put in the 25th Battalion
as an infantryman and travelled to Syria,
Egypt, North Africa and Italy. He spent
three years on tours between 1942 and
The battalion fought in the Italian
Campaign and the First Battle of El
Alamein in Egypt.
After he died in 2011, Mr White’s
daughter, Suzanne White, uncovered one
of his machetes in his garden shed.
His family believes he acquired it
during his ser vice in the army.
“I found it in his shed after he died.
It’s a very powerful tool, it represents an
ability to carve a path, to clear a way. I
really like it. It is a nicely weighted and
balanced tool,” Ms White said.
Mr White had a large collection of
knives which he used in his job as a
butcher and as a hunter.
“Knives were a big part of his life . . .
way of reviving memories of him, of
remembering him,” she said.
Mr White’s grandson Alex O’Keefe
decided to get the machete restored and
give it to his mother for Christmas.
Mr O’Keefe, who is a keen skater,
tasked Wayne Walsh, owner of CW
Works, with the job.
Mr Walsh, who has a workshop in
Spreydon, recycles skateboard material,
which he uses to restore blades that are
used in the kitchen or for camping and
“other random stuff,” he said.
When Mr O’Keefe approached Mr
Walsh about his granddad’s machete,
he was more than happy to help and
provided a new handle.
“I love that Wayne is adding value
through craft. And the connection
through my son’s skateboards being the
material is so perfect. I love that these old
objects are modernised and given a new
life,” Ms White said.
In 2017 Mr Walsh decided to turn
his “tinkering” into more than just a
hobby and set up the Spreydon
All of the items at the shop are
handmade and he says he uses a 15-step
process to restore items.
Now that it has been restored, the
machete will be put on display.
“It becomes an heirloom that I will pass
on, along with its story,” Ms White said.
— The Christchurch Star
Coast soldier’s machete resurfaces
PICTURES: Christchurch Star
Alex O’Keefe with his grandfather’s machete. Inset: Tim White.
American double bow rocking chairs,
Windsor settees, pedestal tables,
ladder-back car ver fancy slat chairs —
traditional greenwood chair-making is
a rare skill these days. It is one Bay of
Islands’ furniture marker and workshop
tutor Richard Hare adores.
Traditional greenwood chair-making is
basically the pre-industrial revolution way
of making chairs, Hare explains.
He uses only hand tools, some of which
date back to the 16th century, and car ves
pieces directly out of straight-grained
wood logs. It is a method that keeps the
wood ’s strength and flexibility as it is
made into a chair.
“I make chairs traditionally because
they’re a beautiful, naturally evolved
product that had lots of techniques that
aren’t used anymore,” he said.
“I can’t think of a better way of making
a chair that will last generations.”
He was previously more interested
in making Scandinavian-type modern
furniture but was drawn to traditional
greenwood chair-making because of the
tool work involved, Mr Hare said.
“As well as using tools that I enjoyed
using, I was making a product that is a
very sustainable and appropriate product.”
Making a more contemporary chair
using the traditional techniques is on his
“ bucket list ” but that it’s very difficult to
do without compromising the process, he
He can use a variety of different
trees for the chairs if it’s a “fairly clean
splitting” hardwood, Mr Hare said.
While in the South Island he primarily
used native beech. In Australia and the
North Island, he has used eucalyptus.
His preference, if he can get it, is ash or
His tools have come to him in different
ways over the years, and he says
they have become an extension of who
“One of the things that really intrigues
me about this craft is the fact that these
tools are hand-eye co-ordinated. The skill
of it is the knack. After nearly 700 chairs,
I’m still getting the knack.
“It’s a constant challenge and that keeps
me passionate about it.”
Making furniture the traditional way
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