Home' Greymouth Star : December 17th 2013 Contents 7
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Two killed in
Police have released the names of
two Buller men killed in separate
freak accidents within an hour
of each other on Saturday. e
65-year-old tractor driver who
died when he had to jump clear of
the machine while weed spraying
in Little Wanganui, was Stephen
James Milliken. e 82-year-old
who died instantly of chest injuries
sustained while using an antiquated
saw bench to cut rewood, in
Seddonville at 11.30am, was Johan
Christian Josef Hubert.
Hoax caller blu s
A hoax caller sent Greymouth
police on a wild goose chase
last night. A caller told police at
11.20pm that he had witnessed two
men with crowbars breaking into
and wandering around a Tainui
Street business. Investigations
revealed that it was a hoax call and
police are now trying to trace the
call and if successful, will prosecute
the o ender.
A woman motorist who crashed
into a set of railway lights at the
Totara Flat rail crossing on State
highway 7 yesterday afternoon
was not injured. Constable Mark
Watson, of Reefton police, said the
crash happened about 1pm, when
the driver failed to negotiate a
55kph corner, "taking out the signal
Long sunny spells, heat showers inland
A disagreement got slightly out of
hand when builders cemented a car
to the footpath. e argument came
about when the car dealer refused
to move a parked VW Caddy from
the footpath in Belo Horizonte,
Brazil. Mark Drummond, who is
not the owner but was responsible
for selling the car, said the footpath
had been used to display vehicles
for more than 20 years. Local media
reports it is not technically illegal
to park there as it is a public space,
but construction workers were
unable to complete maintenance on
the footpath because of the parked
car. ey asked Mr Drummond to
remove it but he refused, so then
they cemented it to the pavement.
e Brazilian transport department
sent a towing company to remove
the car following a number of
complaints from locals but found the
car xed to the ground. --- Metro
Town rallies for Tongan family
e Greymouth Tongan community
is in deep mourning after a car crash
yesterday claimed the lives of a mother
and her teenage son.
Lavinia Langi, 43, and Lesili Langi,
15, died when their car crashed o
Taylorville Road over a bank and
landed upside down in a creek. A
three-year-old survivor was taken to
Grey Base Hospital and treated for
shock. He has since been released.
Senior sergeant Allyson Ealam, of
Greymouth police, said the toddler
--- who apparently crawled to safely
from the wreckage --- mistakenly told
police that his eight-month-old sister
was also in the vehicle.
"We launched a search for the baby,
until we were told that she was being
cared for by someone else," Mrs
Crash investigators were still looking
at what caused the crash, which
happened on a twisting section of road
as the car was descending downhill.
e family, who lived in Cobden until
moving to Blaketown only a week ago,
was returning to Greymouth at the
time of the accident after driving out
to Taylorville to purchase cheap meat.
" e road was wet and possibly
slippery. e vehicle will be inspected
to make sure it was safe," Mrs Ealam
said. Indications were that Mrs Langi
It was the second fatality on the
same corner in three years.
e Grey District Council said today
it would review the state of the road to
make sure it was "as safe as possible".
Meanwhile, the Tongan community
is rallying to support the grieving
family as are schools, including
Greymouth High School, where
Lesili was a Year 11 student. His sister
also attends the high school, while
three younger siblings attend Karoro
"It is obviously very sad for us,
especially at this time of the year,"
Karoro School principal Maureen
" e community is rallying behind
the family. Students have written
messages to their classmates and we,
as a school, are waiting to hear how to
best support them," Mrs Truman said.
e local Tongan community had
been "fabulous", as had the larger
community: "We have had donations
of food dropped o to us to give to the
Langis, as well as nancial donations".
Greymouth High School principal
Andy England said Lesili was a "very
special part of the school".
"He was a character and a trickster
and enjoyed playing pranks on his
He was also involved in the Tongan
dance group and often performed.
"I remember seeing him light up
when he was leading the dances --- he
was really amazing."
e Langi family moved to
Greymouth about seven years ago.
Former Pike River Coal boss Peter
Whittall has withdrawn his invitation
to meet face-to-face with the families of
the 29 victims of the November 19, 2010
e decision will be no disappointment
to the "vast majority" of the families
with whom the o er had gone down
like a lead balloon anyway, but a few had
indicated a willingness to meet him.
A press release today from Mr
Whittall's legal team said derogatory
comments and threats of a private
prosecution had ruled out any chance of
" e o er was made sincerely and
in good faith in the hope of achieving
some reconciliation, by Mr Whittall
personally expressing his sympathy for
the families' su ering," the lawyers said.
"Regrettably Mr Whittall's o er
has been met with attacks from many
quarters, some of which have been quite
inappropriate and derogatory. Not only
was the o er publicly rejected by family
spokesmen but it was also met with
threats of private prosecution and further
litigation. In these circumstances, we
have advised Mr Whittall that he should
not meet with any families at this time.
Mr Whittall is disappointed but has
accepted our advice."
Spokesman for some of the families,
Bernie Monk, had vowed that he would
"never" meet Mr Whittall, but secretary
for the group Carol Rose spent this week
contacting the families individually in an
e ort to arrange a meeting.
Mrs Rose said today "very few " had
accepted the invitation and the "vast
majority" were adamant they did not
want to meet the man.
She said that the logistics of setting
up a meeting would have been di cult
anyway with a lot of the families living
out of Greymouth, and having to arrange
travel back for it.
Mr Whittall was mine general manager
at Greymouth during the development
of the mine and chief executive at the
time it exploded, claiming the lives of all
but two of the workers underground at
e Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Enterprise spent about two years
building a case against him and he was
formally charged in October 2012 with
12 counts of failing to protect workers
from harm relating to methane, strata
and ventilation management, and failing
to mitigate explosion risk and impact.
However, last week all charges were
dropped in the Christchurch District
In his absence, Mr Whittall's legal
team advised the court that he would, on
behalf of the directors and o cers of the
former Pike River Coal Company, pay
$110,000 to each of the 29 families who
lost men in the mine, as well as the two
rough his lawyers, he also expressed
a desire to meet the families, but that has
now been withdrawn.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Megan Coates, as the Queen of Hearts, addresses Sophie Speirs, as Alice, during the syndicate three performance of the Grey Main School end of
year concert at the Greymouth Regent eatre. e show, 'Alice in Grey Main Wonderland', had plenty of puns, rabbits, rockers and even foxes for
the audience to enjoy. It was performed last night and again this morning to a full house.
Chorus today started work to
deploy its ultra-fast broadband
network in Greymouth, with West
Coast lines company Westpower
hanging the cables o power poles
in a New Zealand ' rst'.
e rollout will pass about 3500
households and other premises, and
eight schools, connected directly to
Chorus has contracted Electronet
to carry out the work and due to
an agreement with lines company
Westpower, a large section of the
project in Greymouth will be
installed on existing power poles.
e aerial bre cable has been
specially designed for Chorus
and takes into account local New
Chorus general manager for
infrastructure Ed Beattie said
Greymouth was the rst area where
Chorus was deploying its bre
"Westpower and Electronet share
our views on the socio-economic
bene ts of ultra-fast broadband
and have taken a very collaborative
approach to working with us to
bring bre to their region as soon as
possible," Mr Beattie said.
" e Greymouth bre network
will be a mix of underground
and aerial cabling, and using
Westpower's existing poles means
we can minimise the disruption
to the community that digging
up roads and footpaths would
"It also means we can get on with
our deployment faster, and help
ensure the community can get
access to UFB sooner."
Mr Beattie said Westpower's
enthusiasm had enabled it to bring
forward the use of an aerial network
It was a model Chorus hoped to
replicate in other areas.
Electronet chief executive Rob
Caldwell said his company would
be responsible for connecting
Chorus' bre cabling and ducting to
Westpower poles just below existing
Once the network rollout was
completed in an area, end users
would be able to request an ultra-
fast broadband service from their
retail service provider and Chorus
would connect them to the network.
Chorus is building about 70% of
the ultra-fast broadband network
in a public-private partnership with
Fast broadband rollout begins
"Regrettably Mr Whittall's o er
has been met with attacks."
º e Greymouth Star has
launched a fund to help the Langi
family, kickstarting the fundraising
with a $1000 donation. Further
donations can be made to the Langi
Family Relief fund at the ANZ
bank, in Greymouth.
Alice in school land
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