Home' Greymouth Star : January 24th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, January 24, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
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must include your name, address, phone number
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Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1798 - Irish rebellion breaks out.
1848 - James Marshall nds a gold nugget
in the US state of California, touching o the
1895 - Death of Lord Randolph Churchill,
British politician, in uential leader of the
Conservative Party and father of
1907 - First Boy Scout troop is
organised by Sir Robert Baden-
Powell in England.
1915 - In World War One, a
British eet under Admiral Beatty
defeats the Germans under Von
Hipper at the battle of Dogger Bank and sinks
the armoured cruiser Blucher killing 870.
1935 - e rst beer in cans, Krueger Cream
Ale, goes on sale in the US in Richmond,
1965 - Death of Sir Winston Churchill,
statesman and wartime British prime minister,
1967 - South Vietnam's Premier Nguyen Cao
Ky runs into wild anti-war demonstration on
visit to New Zealand.
1969 - General Franco declares martial law
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Hadrian, Roman Emperor, born Publius
Aelius Hadrianus (76-138); Ernest Borgnine,
US actor (1917-2012); Neil Diamond, US
singer (1941-); Sharon Tate, US
actress (1943-1969); Helen Morse,
Australian actress (1946-); Warren
Zevon, US singer (1947-2003);
Jenny Kee, Australian designer
(1947-); John Belushi, American
actor (1949-1982); Nastassja Kinski,
German-born actress (1961-).
"Honesty is the best policy, but he who acts
on that principle is not an honest man."
--- Richard Whately, British theologian
"Be dressed for action and have your lamps
lit; be like those who are waiting for their
master to return from the wedding banquet, so
that they may open the door for Him as soon
as He comes and knocks." --- (Luke 12:35-36).
Revell, a man who left
an almost indelible
mark in Hokitika,
arrived in Greymouth just 100 years ago today
to take up a position that was to make him
the outstanding personality of the West Coast
gold elds. It was "Big" Revell, in his position
as government agent at Greymouth, who
nally convinced the people and the provincial
government of Canterbury that there was gold
to be won on the West Coast.
It was also Revell, as warden at Hokitika, who
stepped out Hokitika's rst street, Revell Street,
allowing 40ft for business frontages and 40ft
for the width of the street.
Revell, a tall Irishman and former inspector
of police at Timaru, arrived on the south
bank of the Grey River from Nelson on the
schooner Mary on January 24, 1864. He had
been selected to succeed the rst agent Charles
Townsend, who had been drowned on the bar
of the Grey River during the previous October.
Australian Brian Desmond Lukey will never
again eat sh and chips while in a vehicle. His
solicitor Mr H J Smith said this in the Reefton
Magistrate's Court yesterday when Lukey
pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving
causing bodily injury near Blacks Point on the
afternoon of December 4.
e charge was a sequel to an accident in
which the Landrover Lukey was driving
plunged 70ft from the Reefton-Lewis Pass
highway into the Inangahua River, injuring
himself and two passengers.
Lukey told the magistrate that he had been
driving towards Blacks Point while eating sh
and chips when the vehicle got out of control.
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
Lincoln TanLynn, a New Zealand-born
European, took on the
name Siti Aminah after her
conversion to Islam while
living in Malaysia in the late
Although she still professes to be a rm
believer of the faith, Ms Aminah said
she has had to lead "a double life" since
returning to New Zealand nearly 10 years
"I have been wearing the hijab (a veil that
covers the head and chest) since I became
a Muslim, but that became an issue when
I came back here," said the 47-year-old
customer relations o cer.
"For months I could not nd work and
I suspect a lot had to do with the hijab
because I landed a job after the very rst
inter view I went to without wearing one."
She did not want to be photographed
for this report, and spoke on the condition
that she was identi ed only by her Muslim
name. Today Ms Aminah goes to work
without the hijab, but wears it outside work
and when going out with friends.
"It's not that I am embarrassed about my
faith or anything, but I lead this double life
because I still have to make a living," said
Ms Aminah, who was raised a Catholic.
"In New Zealand, people get unfairly
treated and face prejudices when they are
visibly di erent, even in dressing."
Tomorrow, about 150 Muslim women
from across the country are expected
to gather at Zayed College for Girls in
Mangere for 'Wake Up Muslimah', a
women-only Islamic conference.
Participants at the three-day forum will
discuss issues facing Muslim women here,
including the status of women in Islam,
family violence and a session about how "a
man is not a nancial plan".
Dr Zain Ali, head of the Islamic Studies
Research Unit at the University of
Auckland, said the veils of Islamic women
--- such as the hijab and burqa --- remained
a 'hot button issue' in many western nations,
including New Zealand.
is month, police said a 15-year-old girl
who su ered a broken nose and tooth after
being allegedly bashed by her father was
asked to hide her injuries under a burqa, a
full Islamic covering.
In 2011, a burqa-wearing 18-year-old
English language student from Saudi
Arabia was left crying on an Auckland
street when a bus driver refused to let her
board because she refused to remove her
Islam is one of the fastest growing
religions here, with the number of followers
rising from 36,153 to 46,194, according to
the latest Census gures.
Dr Ali said immigration and natural
births were the main contributors for
the growth, although he had noticed an
increase in the number of conversions.
"Muslim women face the same challenges
as any other women in New Zealand ...
if it's not the scarf, then maybe it's your
accent, skin colour or having a non-
"But if you're a Muslim here, you will have
a combination of all four to contend with
because most Muslims here are migrants."
A University of Auckland School of
Business survey in 2005 found having
a Chinese or Indian name raised a job
applicant's chances to be considered
unsuitable by New Zealand employers.
Dr Ali said issues facing Muslim women
here included relationships, especially with
non-Muslims, parental expectations and
He said wearing a burqa was not a
religious requirement, but a cultural one in
certain Muslim communities.
e University of Michigan's Institute for
Social Research this month released the
ndings of a sur vey it conducted in seven
Muslim-majority countries (Tunisia, Egypt,
Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and
Turkey) on how Muslim women should
dress in public.
Respondents were given a card depicting
six styles of women in headdress, ranging
from a fully-hooded burqa and niqab, to
the less conservative hijab and one of a
woman wearing no head covering at all,
with the question: "What style of dress is
appropriate for women in public?"
Most respondents, 44%, found a white
hijab which completely covered a woman's
hair and ears to be most appropriate, with
just 2% choosing the fully-hooded burqa.
Dr Ali said it was di cult to interpret
the ndings fully because demographic
breakdown, including results by gender,
were not included in the release of that
e history of the veil is a complex one
and some studies have found it to predate
Islam by many centuries, dating back to
Assyrian kings. As Islam reached lands
where the regional practice included
the covering of women, the practice was
adopted as a Muslim practice there.
Some Muslim women, such as those
belonging to Malaysian-based Sisters in
Islam are opposed to women being forced
to wear the burqa.
At a forum at AUT University in 2011,
the group's executive director Ratna Osman
said the burqa was "an a ront to human
dignity" for those forced to wear it because
it was not a requirement in Islam.
Islamic Women's Council of New
Zealand spokeswoman Anjum Rahman
agrees the burqa is not a religious
requirement. However, she said women had
the right to choose the dressing they feel
"A woman's body is her own private space,
and she has every right to choose to cover
herself up without having to be judged or
penalised for doing so," she said.
Ms Rahman said the main issue Muslim
women faced in western societies was "the
notion that we are victims and victimised
and oppressed" despite their contributions
at all levels of society.
"When a young (Muslim) woman goes
for any job interview, rst she has to prove
that she is not all of those things, then she
has to shine above all the other candidates."
Two burqa-wearing women who
came to Auckland from Saudi Arabia
as international students were invited to
be interviewed for this report, but they
However, women who wore the hijab said
they were happy to be wearing them and
saw it as giving them a sense of identity as
Alena Katkova, 29, a Russian Muslim
convert, said people showed her "more
respect" since she started wearing the hijab,
a feeling shared by University of Auckland
student Rawand Shiblaq, 23, originally
from the Palestinian Territories.
Sahar Farhat, 23, who works as a co-
ordinator at the New Muslim Project,
saw the hijab as a symbol of freedom that
helped her connect to God. Saphiya Zaza,
23, a Lebanese New Zealander, saw it as
"more than a scarf " which a ected her
"character, interactions and relationships"
is weekend, Muslim women from
around the country will gather in Auckland
for Wake Up Muslimah, a women-only
Islamic conference. Here, three women, tell
about their lives and the challenges they
face in living their faith in New Zealand
Alena Katkova, 29, call centre operator,
from Siberia, Russia
"I was born in Russia, actually the USSR
where there was no religion and I came to
NZ in 2008, a country with many cultures,
nationalities and religion. When I started
studying at AUT I met several students
who were Muslims, and I got curious and
started asking questions and that is how I
got to Islam. It changed my life a lot, to be
honest, especially personality wise. Before
I converted, I used to go out with friends
partying and clubbing, but all that has
stopped. Since I started wearing the hijab,
how people treat me has changed and I
think I now get more respect. In Islam we
are not supposed to shake hands with men,
or hug and kiss anyone who is not your
relative, so I don't do it. If I greet men I will
just say "nice to meet you, but I'm sorry my
religion does not allow me to shake hands
with you" but with a smile they understand,
and New Zealand is a very accepting
country. However, there are challenges with
my family, and even my younger sister still
cannot understand or accept the fact that I
am now a Muslim.
"In Russia, people still think of Muslims
as terrorists because of what they see
and hear in the media. I feel comfortable
wearing the hijab, but when I'm thinking
about changing jobs, because my
quali cation is in teaching, I am always
thinking if they will actually accept me as a
Siti Aminah, 47, customer relations
o cer, NZ-Pakeha
"I am single and was drawn to Islam while
I was working as a teacher in Malaysia in
the 1990s. I was raised a Catholic, but in
my search for God, I found my answers in
the Islamic faith. However, while I believe
strongly in the spiritual aspect of the
religion, the cultural aspect can make the
faith journey a lonely one for someone who
is a single, white female. In Malaysia, you're
not supposed to mingle with males and
dating is out of the question, maybe that's
why I'm still single.
"Coming back here nearly 10 years ago,
the challenge just gets bigger because I
have been wearing the hijab since I became
a Muslim, but that became an issue when
I came back here. I went for interviews
wearing the hijab and for months I could
not nd work, and I suspect a lot had to do
with the hijab because I landed a job after
the very rst interview I went to without
wearing one. In my job, I have to deal with
people so I go to work without the hijab but
wear it outside work or when I'm out with
friends. In New Zealand, people get unfairly
treated and face prejudices when they are
visibly di erent, even in dressing and that's
a fact. It is also di cult dealing with people
who are used to kissing on the cheek as a
way of greeting ... and having to tell them
my religion forbids us from doing so."
Sahar Farhat, 23, New Muslim Project
co-ordinator, from Afghanistan
"I was born in Afghanistan but went
to school in Pakistan for a while before
moving to New Zealand. When I came
here, I knew a bit of English, and because
I am friendly and like to talk to people, I
didn't feel too isolated. I came at a time
when the September 11 attacks happened,
and I had guys at school coming up to me
saying things like 'is Osama bin Laden your
"I was born a Muslim in a Muslim family,
but I only started wearing the hijab less
than two years ago. I think even if you are
born a Muslim, there will come a certain
point in your life when you decide whether
you want to take your faith seriously or not,
you make a conscious decision especially
if one is deep and more of a thinker and
spiritual. Islam encourages us to think and
question. And studying philosophy and
sociology at university encouraged me to
question and analyse things more. I decided
to study more about religions, and as I
studied further I found that all the religions
have the same message pretty much. But
Islam made the most sense because it was
more rational and provided the most direct
connection with God. It is a correction and
completion of all the religions.
"Since I started wearing the hijab, even
some members of my family started
treating me di erently because even though
they are Muslims, it was more cultural
rather than spiritual. To me the hijab is
about freedom and the main essence of
Islam rst of all is about freedom and
liberation, and for example by putting on
the hijab I free myself from my own ego
and I connect to God and be in peace with
myself and others around me."
--- New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Sahar Farhat, left, Alena Katkova and Rawand Shiblaq feel they have been shown respect for wearing the hijab.
Lifting the veil
Face coverings can polarise New Zealanders. Some see them as victimisation, others as unnecessary.
ose who choose to wear them have to deal with di ering attitudes on a daily basis.
Our hospital, our
What happened to that hospital we once
Do you remember when we had rst
class physicians and surgeons performing
every type of operation? ey came from
near and far and settled here because they
had the facilities to carry out their work,
and they liked living here.
Nurses were trained here and the
hospital ran like clockwork, under the
management of a board of competent
locals and medical sta . Now, sick
Coasters are expected to make a weary
trek to Christchurch for practically every
Westland is a long and isolated province
and for health and safety we are entitled to
a fully functional hospital, like our fellow
It is all about money, a top heavy
bureaucracy and downsizing wherever it
can be sneaked in.
It is time those paper shu ers many
miles from here making decisions that
drastically a ect our lives have a rethink
about their obligations to the people of
As a Greymouth leaseholder facing yet
another rate increase I would like to bring
to the readers' attention why leaseholders
should not be absorbing further rate
Blaketown was rst registered under
the Gold elds Act 1866. Leases and
rent were set at a xed price under this
Act. e Land Transfer Act 1883 states
that the proprietors of the land were the
harbour board, they being the Crown
(government). To date, this title has not
changed. So how, I ask, can the council as
a separate body act on and void titles?
As a result of the Abolition of the
Provinces Act 1875 and 1876 all Crown
waste land vested in the provinces
reverted to the Crown. In layman's terms
wasteland was removed from council
control so in my view the council did not,
and do not, own the land but became
custodians of parts of the land which were
on perpetual titles.
Expenditure once again came into play
when the William Steer boat was put
on the rocks. is act of incompetence
resulted in huge costs to the council. e
council, however, was only partly insured
so money had to be sourced from other
funds to cover the cost. Lack of insight
and foresight by the council pointed at
mismanagement of council funds to the
tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
A prior/ongoing dispute over rate
increases highlighted once again lack of
common sense and mismanagement of
council funds. e council quoted that the
dispute to date cost them about $600,000
in private consultancy fees. e property
in question was a small parcel of land in
Blaketown worth about $45,000.
Our statutes of law and Bill of Rights
were made and put in to place for disputes
such as rates. If these statutes had been
adhered to there would have been no need
for exorbitant consultancy and lawyers
Once again the council spent
unnecessary money on private consultancy
and lawyers fees when they explored
the option of having Pike River coal
transported over the Greymouth bar. e
boats to be designed had a draught of
about 17.6ft, when in fact there was only
about 6ft of water on the bar at the best
of times. Yet, Pike River Coal Ltd had
no intention of shipping the coal as Solid
Energy had been given the rights to truck
the coal through to Lyttelton.
Once again, I believe this was
mismanagement of council funds and
Another scenario was when the port's
barge was tied up to condemned piles
where it slipped its moorings, oated
down the river, over the bar and on to the
beach. Recovery and damage costs were
estimated to be in the tens of thousands
of dollars. Again, the council was only
partly insured and ratepayers footed the
bill for this act of total incompetence.
en we have the piece of land situated
at the end of the Greymouth wharf,
which was sold for $1. And the land
where the new SPCA is located was also
sold for $1. e logistics here frankly do
not make sense.
To summarise, it would appear that the
ratepayer has been sacri ced on many
occasions over a lengthy period of time
as a result of legislation not adhered to,
lack of experience and common sense, and
mismanagement of funds. I look forward
to your reply.
Kevin George Curtis
Grey District Council chief executive
Paul Pretorius responds: "I believe the
reference to 'rate' increases should read 'rent'
Ownership of all harbour board land was
transferred to council as outcome of the 1989
local government reorganisation.
e William Steer incident dates back some
18 years. I believe that the Maritime New
Zealand nding was that mechanical failure
was the cause of the accident. Costs were
against the port account and not rates.
As a local authority, council has to recover
monies owed and that is what is currently
happening. e merits of the case have
been determined in its favour. e actual
costs involved have been reported and are
di erent to Mr Curtis' letter.
e Sea Tow (not council 's barge as he
claims) incident breaking loose dates back
approximately 20 years. While the incident
details were di erent to what Mr Curtis
claims, council was found to have been in
the wrong and an under-insurance of its
liability resulted in a loan having to be
taken up to pay the company. It is a cost
against the port account and not funded
e development of the Pike River
transport route involved responsible solicitor
involvement given the complexity of the
legal arrangements involved. Mr Curtis will
nd that the vessels planned to be deployed
were ordered by the shipping company and
not council and that his assessment that
it was larger than what the bar would
accommodate is, in fact, not correct. He will
also nd that actual bar depths are di erent
to his claim.
I cannot comment about the 'piece of land at
the end of Greymouth wharf ' as I could not
determine which property he is referring to.
e SPCA land was not sold but is leased at
a peppercorn rent.
Mr Curtis will, no doubt take some
comfort from the fact that local authorities
are subject to stringent public audits, which
include e ciency and legal compliance
audits. e fact that council has achieved
very positive audit results for some years
now and, in the process has received
words of high praise for the standard of
its administration of ratepayer interests,
indicate that council is serious in its
endeavours to be e cient and prudent and
that the issues that Mr Curtis is concerned
about are being managed as well as we can."
People like Mary Molloy are to be
commended on their ght against1080.
People in New Zealand, especially on
the West Coast, are becoming more
complacent while DOC quietly continue
to poison our bush and native birds under
our very noses. Even they admit it kills
one of New Zealand's icons, the kea,
while the possums keep on possuming.
Unless you get the very people involved
with a good bounty, possums will
continue to multiply.
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