Home' Greymouth Star : December 6th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, December 6, 2013 - 9
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uLetters to the editor
1877 - omas Edison demonstrates the rst
sound recording, reciting Mary had a Little
Lamb at West Orange, New Jersey.
1889 - Death of Je erson Davis, rst and only
president of the Confederate States of America.
1917 - Collision between Belgian
and French ammunition ships at
Halifax, Nova Scotia, takes 1600
1921 - Britain signs peace treaty
with Ireland under which Irish Free
State is established.
1941 - US President Franklin D
Roosevelt appeals for peace to Japan's Emperor
Hirohito - one day before the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor. He also authorises the Manhattan
Project, which results in the creation of the
1969 - A concert by e Rolling Stones at the
Altamont Speedway in Livermore, California, is
marred by the deaths of four people, including
one stabbed by a Hell's Angel.
1988 - Death of Roy Orbison, one of the
greatest stars in rock and country music.
2000 - Death of Werner Klemperer, the
German-born character actor who played
Colonel Klink on the tv sitcom Hogan's Heroes.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Henry VI, last Lancastrian king of England
(1421-1471); Anthony Trollope,
English novelist (1815-1882);
Agnes Moorehead, US actress
(1900-1974); Dave Brubeck, US
jazz pianist-composer (1920-2012);
Peter Buck, American musician,
REM (1956-); Andrew Flinto ,
English cricketer (1977-).
"In dreams begins responsibility."
--- William Butler Yeats, Irish Nobel
Prize-winning poet (1865-1939).
"Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord
appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get
up, take the child and his mother, and ee
to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you;
for Herod is about to search for the child, to
destroy Him." --- (Matthew 2.13).
James Je eries, of
Cobden, an upper
sixth form pupil is dux
of the Marist Brothers'
High School, Greymouth, for 1963. He is the
eldest son of Mr and Mrs J M Je eries,
45 Sturge Street, Cobden.
Je eries as well won the Monsignor Long
Memorial Prize for Christian doctrine in
sixth form and the O'Neill Cup for general
excellence in that class.
e Keating Cup for dux of the primary
department of the school was awarded to Lex
Omand who also won the Bevilacqua Medal.
e human remains found on Punakaiki
beach on Saturday afternoon were those of
14-year-old Dobson schoolboy John Edward
Pickering who went missing while playing
near the ooded Grey River at Dobson on
November 17, the district coroner, Mr R A
Kay JP, found yesterday afternoon.
He adjourned the inquest after hearing
evidence from the Greymouth Hospital
pathologist, Dr A G Fraser, constable G
Fletcher and Peter Hoggarth, 14, a friend of
the dead boy who was with him when the
You are never too old to start writing.
Positive proof of this is that at the age of
91, Christchurch resident Mr Hill Chinn
has become an author for the rst time. His
book, Packtrack to Highway, deals with
reminiscences of West Coast life and will be on
sale in about a fortnight.
"I have a very vivid memory. I found myself
living the events over again as I put them
down," he said commenting on his publication.
During his lifetime Mr Chinn has been a
goldminer, surveyor's assistant, coach driver, pig
hunter, horse musterer and axmill owner.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
In seaside Minami Sanriku,
residents have been arguing over
what to do with the ruined red
steel structure in the centre of
e tower has become something
of a grim memorial since its innards were
blown out by a 16m-high wall of water,
reducing it to a mangled shell.
About 95% of the town around it was
washed away in the March 11, 2011
tsunami, with hundreds of its residents.
at day, Mayor Jin Sato had chaired
a meeting about how best to protect the
community from such a disaster.
When the disaster came shortly after the
meeting, even a 5m-high seawall could not
save the town.
Mr Sato and others rushed from the
town hall to the roof of the nearby disaster
A girl's voice blared over a loudspeaker,
"Please go to higher ground!", but three
storeys was not high enough.
e red steel wreckage is all that remains
of the disaster readiness centre.
Mr Sato was underwater for three
minutes, clinging desperately to the
building's radio antenna as his town
vanished around him.
By the next morning, only a third of the
30 who had been on the roof with him
were still alive.
Forty-two people died in the centre,
including 24-year-old Miki Endo, whose
voice was heard on the loudspeaker.
Her body was not found for a month.
e town government wanted to keep
the centre's remains as a monument to
victims, but some grieving families could
not bear the sight of it and demanded it be
Submissions circulated in the community
until a nal decision was made to tear
it down after the town government
decided it would hamper the rebuilding
Nearly three years later, the structure that
only just saved Mr Sato's life is not the
only obstacle to recovery.
"Honestly speaking, for the last two
years, we have been ghting a battle
against the national government over all
of the regulations and laws they have," he
His community wanted to move a
recreation space, around a third of which
was destroyed, to higher ground where
much of the new town was being planned.
But citing zoning rules, state bureaucrats
requested it be rebuilt on part of its low-
lying site. ere were hundreds of other
examples, Mr Sato said.
e town's residents remain scattered
across nearly 60 di erent residential areas;
670 families live in temporary apartments
spread around the country.
Many are still in cramped temporary
housing units, of which there were about
2000 around Minami Sanriku alone.
ere are e orts to help repopulate the
area in 28 new residential complexes, but
only a dozen are being built.
Mr Sato acknowledged reconstruction,
costing hundreds of millions of yen, was
moving much too slowly.
"Disasters are a very cruel thing."
Getting tourists back to the town had
been a challenge, "but we are still facing
the serious issue, which is our declining
Residents have been ghting ercely
to restore the town to the bustling little
resort it once was.
Planning is in progress for a new 8.9m
seawall to shield Minami Sanriku against
a one-in-100-year event.
Tourism and shing, the two planks
of the economy, have recovered to be
about 80% of what they were before the
e makeshift Minami Sanriku Sun
Shopping Village, across the road from
a heap of debris, has little more than a
sh monger, a sportswear shop, a beauty
parlour and a few other kiosks.
About 300 households no longer exist
in the area, but there is hope the people
will return, and the village seems to serve
a more important purpose than a business
"Having this place for people to
gather and talk is very important," one
shopkeeper told the Herald.
eir optimism is echoed in messages
written by primary school children, amid
drawings of smiling faces, on a banner
hanging at the local evacuation centre.
"We are all together," they read. "Move
for ward with courage."
"Please continue to value the heart that
allows you to live on."
Out in Shizugawa Bay, sherman
Manuba Sugawara checks on his oyster
farm, which after a year has begun to
yield a livelihood again.
Many of the 33-year-old's friends were
at sea when the tsunami bore down upon
them. ey never returned.
Of 1100 shing boats that operated
in the area, only 70 remained, and Mr
Sugawara, who was not working that day,
was able to ee with his family.
ose who survived kept themselves
employed by clearing debris, and then
began cultivating seaweed, which took
much less time than shell sh to seed and
Asked whether he now feared being near
the sea, Mr Sugawara said: "Of course."
But shermen knew it was not the ocean's
fault that so many of their loved ones had
"It is true, people get nervous, but
they hate the tsunami, not the ocean,"
said Noriko Abe, owner of the Minami
Sanriku Hotel Kanyo.
"We have bene ted directly from the
ocean. A lot of people still love the ocean,
despite what happened."
e bottom two oors of her bayside
hotel were ravaged by the tsunami, but the
building remained intact because of its
solid rock foundation.
Feeling a duty to protect the town, she
opened the hotel's doors to sur vivors with
businesses or young families, most of them
left with nothing but the clothes on their
" e town was swallowed in an instant
by the tsunami. We were all devastated."
Not far up the coast road stands
Togura Junior High School, the concrete
building's doors and windows still boarded
up since the tsunami's waves climbed to
even its hilltop heights.
e school itself had been designated
as an evacuation zone, but school o cials
had sense enough to move the children
With the exception of one girl who died
after being caught in a wave, the students
survived as the tsunami engulfed their
school below, before forming a swirling
whirlpool above the building.
e 9.0 megathrust earthquake was
powerful enough to send a tsunami
crashing into 500km of coastline, but it
was the Tohoku region's 160km or so of
shoreline that bore the brunt.
Port towns like Minami Sanriko,
Miyako and Inshinomaki gave shockingly
disproportionate contributions to the
disaster's overall death toll of some 16,000.
Today, recovery among business in the
wider Tohoku region is chugging along
A survey by the region's university found
just a third of businesses had earthquake
insurance before the disaster, but those
rms were able to cover only half the cost
Overall, earthquake insurance could
cover only 13% of the total damage
caused by the earthquake, because of a low
insurance contract rate.
e Government has been criticised for
being "inactive", and responded by o ering
loans, to be repaid back once businesses
Although business conditions are
considered to be recovering, particularly
in real estate and construction, which are
prospering because of the rebuilding work,
large rms are struggling compared with
before the disaster.
Many companies have shifted their
headquarters away from seaside areas.
Agriculture is the slowest recovering
industry, as farmland and shing
companies have been wiped out.
All along Tohoku's coast, hundreds
"coastal measures" are being planned
and built to better shield its exposed
e work will combine hard engineering
solutions such as barriers and breakwaters
with natural obstacles such as raised dunes,
hills and plantations dubbed "coastal
At Sendai, Tohoku's largest city, defences
will put a breakwater, a forest, a canal, a
hill and an embankment between the city
and another tsunami.
More than 1500 homes within newly
designated disaster risk areas are to be
moved, with city support.
But the chief city o cial overseeing
reconstruction, Mitsuya Suzuki, said that
despite these measures, people needed to
know the best protection against a tsunami
was to leave the area immediately.
Because there was no means of
communication, many of the 800 who
died in the city had no idea a tsunami was
washing through its suburbs, he said.
" e only defence against tsunami ... is
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Two Japanese soldiers stop to look at a ship which was blocking a road which the army was trying to clear.
Living with disaster
For seaside village residents in Tohoku, it seems only yesterday that a devastating
tsunami crashed into their town on the Japanese coast. And as New Zealand Herald
science reporter JAMIE MORTON found, their recovery is far from complete.
Many New Zealanders joke about the
size of their population. "Forget about
six degrees of separation," they chortle,
"in this country you're lucky to make it as
far as two!" e general consensus seems
collection of big cities, then New Zealand
is a village --- and a pretty small one at
But if New Zealand is a village --- what
sort of village is it?
A curious question? Not if you are
Statistics New Zealand and you are
looking for a simple way to present the
results of the 2013 census. Visit their
website and you will be asked to think of
"New Zealand as a village of 100 people".
e rst thing you will notice about
the village is how much it has grown.
irty-two years ago there were just
74 inhabitants --- most of them of
European and Maori origin. It was also
a much younger village. In 1981 half the
population was under the age of 28. In
2013 the median age of the village has
climbed to 38 years.
e other thing you will notice is how
many people living in the village are now
of Asian ancestry. Since 2001 the number
of Asian inhabitants has doubled. Where
once there were ve there are now 11
villagers of Asian origin.
If the growth in the village's Asian
population is not slowed appreciably, then
the 14 villagers identifying themselves
as Maori will soon be displaced as the
second-largest ethnic group. Already, in
2013, as many villagers speak Hindi as
What really stands out about the
village in 2013, however, is its seriously
lopsided socio-economic structure. Only
10 villagers of working age earn in excess
of $70,000 per annum. ere are 25
working-age villagers earning between
$30,000 and $70,000, and 38 whose
incomes are less than $30,000. Over half
of the village's workers earn less than
$28,500 per annum.
e disparity between the earnings of
male and female villagers is ever starker.
Over half the working-men in the village
earn more than $36,500, while half of its
working-women earn less than $23,100.
e village's poverty is also on display
in the fact that only two out of every
three inhabitants own their own home.
In 2013, more than a third of the village's
residents live in rented accommodation.
irty years ago nearly three out of four
villagers owned their own home.
Of course, for the 10% of working
New Zealanders earning a comfortable
income it is extremely fortunate that they
are not living cheek-by-jowl with the
50% earning less than $28,500 --- and
that the people renting their second,
third or fourth property live 50km across
town and not just across the village
street. Social-economic disparities are a
great deal easier to manage, and to bear,
when the community's social-geography
encompasses more than the few square
kilometres required to support 100
e 10% of the workforce categorised
as "professionals" are only able to enjoy
their well-remunerated and relatively
untroubled lives because they do not
have to eyeball on a daily basis the young
women struggling in quiet desperation
to raise families on less than $25,000 per
annum. Would they really be able to pass
them by on the other side of a village
street? Would they really nd it so easy to
brand them the "undeserving" poor?
And would those struggling to sur vive
on $25,000 really nd it as easy to sink
into apathy and anomie if those living in
the big houses and earning the big bucks
were to be found not in leafy suburbs
they will never visit, but just a stone's
throw away at the top of the hill.
If, as Hannibal Lecter so chillingly
explained, we covet what we see every
day, then it would not be wise to be too
wealthy in a village.
Maybe that is why, for a long time in
New Zealand, the distance between
the rich and the poor remained so
Chris Trotter is an independent
left-wing political commentator
It takes a village
A British-made electric motorcycle
is taking to the wide open roads of the
United States this week as part of a
United Kingdom trade mission.
Agility Global promises a 100% clean
and green alternative to the conventional
e company was founded by former
marine Lawrence Marazzi who, after
returning from Afghanistan, decided
to return to his roots in Formula 1 and
Now the London-based business has
transported its agship model to Colorado
to drum up interest in the motorbike-
loving American market.
e Saietta, which means thunderbolt in
Apennine Italian, can go from 0-96kph in
2.3 seconds and has a maximum speed of
e bike is 80% charged in an hour and a
half and boasts a 209 to 402km range.
Its sleek, futuristic design means it
would not look out of place in a James
Bond movie and Mr Marazzi said he has
already had interest from a number of lm
franchises. He described the bike as the
"world's rst high-performance, clean tech
But the company needs investment to
expand and is looking for angel funding.
"We've been working with the next
generation of electric technology to
develop this model over the past ve
years," chief executive Mr Marazzi,
42, said. "What sets us apart from our
competitors is that we have started our
design on a clean sheet of paper and the
bike is not just derived from the format
of traditional motorbikes, which makes us
higher performance than a petrol bike."
Mr Marazzi said feedback so far on the
trade mission had been "phenomenal".
"It's impossible to go anywhere without
causing people to stop and stare --- it's a
real conversation starter," he added.
"We have been inundated with interest
so far but what we need now is to grow."
Agility Global is one of 16 British
companies which have been selected to
be part of the week-long Clean and Cool
Mission to Colorado, one of the fastest-
emerging clean technology centres in the
Supported by UK Trade and Investment
and the Technology Strategy Board, the
party is made up of some of the most
promising UK entrepreneurs and early
stage businesses in the industry. --- PA
British-made electric motorbike can hit 241kph
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