Home' Greymouth Star : November 20th 2013 Contents 7
Fast food not
what it seems?
$1 (Home Delivery 75c)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2013
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
for wife beater
A West Coast man who pinned
his wife against a door with both
hands around her throat, was granted
permanent name suppression in the
Greymouth District Court yesterday.
e 50-year-old was sentenced to
12 months' supervision after he
admitted assaulting the woman.
e court heard that at 10.30pm on
November 4, the o ender slapped
the woman's face, held her by the
throat and then threw her down
on a bed. Judge Alastair Garland
suppressed the man's name because
publication would embarrass the
woman and her children.
ASB on move
e ASB Bank will move into
a temporary container o ce in
Greymouth on December 18. e
temporary premises were lowered
into place by crane yesterday, on
the Mawhera Quay site previously
occupied temporarily by NZ Post.
ASB general manager property
Derek Shortt said the bank would
move out so its current o ces in
Mackay Street could be assessed by
the property's owner for earthquake
strengthening. "Customers will be
able to use the ATM at the front of
the branch and it will be business as
usual, with regular branch service in
the portacom," Mr Shortt said.
It was supposed to be romantic
--- 100 white doves launched into
the air would provide a stunning
backdrop to ve Chinese couples'
cherished wedding photographs. But
the newlyweds were left horri ed
when, instead of ying o into the
sunset, the hapless birds ended up
being captured by guests who took
them home to eat. In all, ve couples
brought about 100 doves between
them to the wedding venue at Hefei,
Anhui province, central China. After
failing to y away, the birds were
left apping and cooing around the
newlyweds as photographers caught
the entire incident on camera. After
the snaps were taken, the doves were
caught by hungry guests determined
not to let a free meal utter away.
--- Daily Mail
Cloudy spells, hint of drizzle
(Supplied by Nelson Weather Service)
Greymouth Star On-line
Two Westport men were unable
to convince a Greymouth District
Court judge yesterday that their
participation in the Operation
Marvel drugs ring was anything
less than signi cant management
positions in a criminal enterprise.
Blair Matthew Colligan, 33,
and Shane David Saunders, 31,
appeared for sentencing before
Judge Raoul Neave on Monday
Colligan was sentenced to
three years and ve months in
prison for cultivating cannabis,
possessing cannabis for sale, and
selling LSD and ecstasy.
Saunders was jailed for two years
and seven months on charges of
cultivating and selling cannabis.
e sentences were delivered
almost ve years after Operation
Marvel was wound up, with mass
arrests in December 2008. e
investigation wrapped up with
the simultaneous execution of
search warrants in several towns,
culminating in the arrest of 15
men and women, mainly from
Westport but also Porirua.
More than 30 marked and
unmarked police cars and
an Iroquois helicopter from
Auckland swept on houses in
Westport, Waimangaroa and
Cape Foulwind in the raid.
Police had spent 14 months on
the case and used phone taps,
secret cameras and undercover
Colligan has several mining
related companies, including one
$5 million contract to provide a
rail link to the proposed Bathurst
coalmine at Denniston.
Wellington barrister Raymond
involvement in the o ending was
ere were four outdoor
cannabis plots, and two indoors,
including one at the Denniston
Fire Station, but Colligan's only
involvement was helping in the
harvest of one plot, for which
he was paid about a kilogram of
Another plot that he had visited
would never have been found if
Colligan and Saunders had not
led police to it. During a "working
bee" in which a number of people
were packaging the cannabis,
Colligan could be overheard
twice on a covert recording
selling "one LSD trip and three
tabs of ecstasy".
Colligan was not a central gure
or principal in the organisation
--- "just a man assisting his mates,
out of misguided loyalty for no
more than a couple of pounds of
cannabis," Mr Squires argued.
Checks of his personal and
business bank accounts showed
that he had not bene ted
nancially for his involvement
with the gang.
e lawyer said his client was
capable of making a $25,000
donation to charity to make
Judge Neave initially said he
could take the donation into
account for sentencing, but later
changed his mind because "it
could give the impression of
e ectively trying to buy his way
out of trouble".
Lawyer Christopher Stevenson,
of Wellington, said Saunders had
been through a di cult past ve
years, including the death of his
wife and failing health of his
He had shown fortitude and
strength of character in turning
his life around and was extremely
"In hindsight, the operation
wasn't worth it. His family has
su ered. e consequences have
been very severe," Mr Stevenson
sentence should have a starting
point of 4.5 to ve years because
he had a limited level of o ending
in a "rough and ready" operation.
But Crown prosecutor Barnaby
Hawes said the drugs ring was
"a well-oiled machine" in which
Colligan and Saunders had
management roles, directing
and advising others, recruiting
workers, sourcing equipment
and sharing signi cant
communication about harvests
Transcripts of covert recordings
showed Colligan and Saunders
discussing sales of cattle to stock
agents, which Mr Barnaby said
was code for cannabis sales taking
place at the time.
Judge Neave agreed with the
Crown's assessment but gave the
two men credit for delays in the
case, personal hardships and time
spent on bail.
e windows have been polished, the
entertainment booked, and the rst
tourists have started hitting the West
Coast Wilderness Trail ahead of the
o cial opening this Saturday.
Kumara is poised to welcome
thousands of people as the ribbon is
cut on the Greymouth-Hokitika leg
of the cycleway.
e old gold town's senior citizens
have been baking, and gardens lled
with owers and bark.
e rebuilt historic eatre Royal
Hotel has taken receipt of a bike rack
that can hold 30 bikes, and signs have
been installed on the trail itself so no
one gets lost.
Work is nally under way on the
Kumara tram section of the trail,
between the Taramakau Bridge and
Hotel owner Kerrie Fitzgibbon
said Kumara was "a little bit like
Switzerland" --- neutral territory
between Greymouth and Hokitika,
and therefore ideal for the cycleway
opening. Tourists were already riding
the trail "before it's even open ---
that's pretty cool".
On Saturday, riders will leave
Hokitika at 6am, and Greymouth
at 9am to meet up in Kumara about
Festivities start at 10am, with the
o cial opening by Associate Tourism
Minister Chris Tremain at 12.15pm.
Champion Olympic cyclist Sarah
Ulmer will be in Greymouth at
8.30am for the opening of the cycle
trail starting platform opposite the
railway station. e public will be able
to join the cycle relays at any stage
from Greymouth and Hokitika, with
the aim of reaching Kumara before
the midday opening.
Events at the Kumara celebration
include a vintage bike race, sack
races, chocolate wheel and can can
girls. Entertainment includes the
Highland band from Westport, and
from Hokitika a brass band and the
old-time Kokatahi Band.
"We are running around in Kumara
like a group of headless chickens,"
Mrs Fitzgibbon said yesterday. " e
village is going to look absolutely
Shuttle buses had been arranged
so riders could get a lift back to
Greymouth and Hokitika. Festivities
in Kumara are expected to continue
into the evening.
Full details on the opening are
included in a souvenir supplement
being delivered to every home on the
West Coast in this week's Messenger.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Mathew Fitzgibbon and Hans Aichholzer were busy yesterday re-cladding the front of the old Kumara drapery store. All hands were on deck revamping two old
buildings in Seddon Street, with the nal touches also added to the 1876 BNZ Bank next door. "We are giving it a complete facelift and putting it back to
original," owner Mathew Fitzgibbon said of Phil Du y's former drapery store. "Along with the bank and the eatre Royal Hotel (directly across the road),
restoring it will certainly add character to the town's main street," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
VIPs to visit
e Philippines Ambassador
to New Zealand, Virginia H
Benavidez, along with rst secretary
and consul Arlene Gonzales-
Macaisa will be visiting Greymouth
on December 6.
West Coast Filipino community
co-ordinator Leonora Freeman said
about 200 Filipinos lived on the
Coast and the visit was an exciting
occasion for them.
"As far as I know, no Filipino
ambassador has ever visited the
During their stay from December
6-9, the visitors will facilitate
passport renewal and other consular
services, attend a Filipino night at
the Uniting Church, visit farmers in
outlying areas and meet West Coast-
Tasman MP Damien O'Connor.
Turiwhate plane fatalities
recalled 80 years later
Today marks the 80th anniversary
of a plane crash that killed a former
Greymouth mayor and the rst West
Coaster to obtain a New Zealand pilot's
Gipsy Moth ZK-AAI crashed into
Mount Turiwhate, near Jacksons, on
November 20, 1933. e crash claimed
the lives of pioneering Hokitika pilot Jack
Renton and former mayor Jimmy Lynch.
John Pugh, who lives near the crash site,
was to visit the memorial cairn on the
mountainside today to pay his respects.
According to aviation historian Richard
Waugh's book, Hoki to Haast, Mr
Renton --- a member of the Hokitika
hardware retail family --- took o from
the Southside aerodrome at Hokitika at
2pm, to return to Christchurch. However,
the plane did not arrive at Wigram and
anxiety mounted with a report from
Turiwhate of the sound of a plane at
2.30pm, followed by a crash.
Search parties led by M Treacy, T Teen,
W Neame, A Straight and C Morrison
were hampered by rain and fog. Many
locals helped by providing food and drink.
e following day searchers found the
wrecked plane about 200 feet from the
top, its silver wings crumpled. e engine
had been pushed back by the force of the
impact and the men killed instantly.
Searcher and pilot Bert Mercer removed
key parts of the wreckage before setting it
Mr Mercer later said he thought Mr
Renton had not been ying high enough
above the clouds.
Hokitika mayor Mr G A Perry requested
all shops close for the funeral and the
cortege to the Hokitika Cemetery was
more than half a mile long.
" is early ying tragedy made a deep
impression on many West Coasters," Mr
Waugh wrote in his book.
" e loss of two prominent citizens
alerted people to the dangers of ying in
ckle West Coast weather."
Six years after the crash, a
mountaineering club found the remains
of the wreckage and a few months later
built a memorial cairn. e plaque was
made from a piece of crumpled wing. It is
one of the earliest aviation memorials in
Focus on old Kumara
BBQ Meat Packs Available
Sausages, Steak, Venison Patties, Bacon
. . .madetoorder.
Perfect for parties or family get togethers.
Get your orders in early
We also have a large range of Salami and
small goods available.
Ph 732 4111
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