Home' Greymouth Star : February 17th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, February 17, 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.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and - except for e-mails - your signature. Noms de
plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are o ensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1890 - Death of Christopher Lathan Sholes,
US inventor of the typewriter.
1904 - Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama
Butter y receives a poor reception
at its premiere at La Scala in
1909 - Geronimo, last Apache
chief to surrender, dies in custody.
1916 - British and French forces
complete capture of Germany's
African colony of Cameroon
during World War One.
1936 - Anglo-Irish trade pact ends tari war.
1944 - US forces attack Japanese at Eniwetok
Atoll in Paci c in World War Two.
1945 - A Soviet o ensive forces the rocket
expert Wernher von Braun and other scientists
to evacuate the V2 rocket site at Peenemunde,
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
" e passion for setting people right is in itself
an a ictive disease." --- Marianne Moore,
American poet (1887-1972).
"He said to me, " is is the word of the Lord
to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but
by My Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty."
--- Zechariah 4:6
e West Coast
tramp by Wellington's
Mr A H Reed had an interesting sequel in
the South Westland area at the weekend. e
veteran's march through there late in the week
stirred up some lively discussion, the result of
which saw Ministry of Works grader driver
Charlie Harman setting o from the Hari
Hari post o ce at 5am. He was out to prove a
wager that it was possible to cover the distance
on foot to the Whataroa post o ce, a stretch
of 21 miles, in seven hours.
His way lay over high Mt Hercules and his
betting opponent paced him by car to see that
the walker did not "sneak in a ride". Despite
these obstacles the latest recruit to hiking
walked up to the Whataroa post o ce in
triumphant style. It had taken him only ve
and a half hours.
e reward for the tough tramp? Reported to
Operations to y greenstone from the rough
Olderog Creek area at the head of the Arahura
River valley have been delayed for several days.
e helicopter of Airworks (NZ) Ltd engaged
to start on the haulage work struck trouble on
ursday of last week which threw it out of
Pilot John Palmer took o preparing to lift
his rst load to the terminal point at Mill
Road from where the greenstone is to be road
freighted to the Hokitika factory. e aircraft
was a few feet o the ground when a pu of
wind swung the tail of the helicopter into a
An examination of the damage showed a
bent rear rotor motor. A replacement part was
ordered from Australia.
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
A J "Banjo" Paterson, Australian poet who
wrote Waltzing Matilda (1864-1941); Andre
Maginot, French military expert
and architect of Maginot Line
(1877-1932); Barry Humphries,
Australian comedian-actor (1934-);
Alan Bates, British actor (1934-
2003); Gene Pitney, US singer
(1940-2006); Michael Jordan, US
basketball player (1963-); Billie Joe
Armstrong, American musician,
(1972-); Joseph Gordon-Levitt, US actor
(1981-); Paris Hilton, US socialite (1981-); Ed
Sheeran, English singer (1991-).
It may be stilettos at dawn to get a
ringside seat at New York's most exclusive
fashion shows, but forget the fur-clad
heiresses: today's VIP is the internet.
e explosion of social media is perhaps
the greatest revolution in fashion since
Mary Quant's mini skirt, transforming
the industry's branding and fan base.
And that revolution is on display like
never before at New York Fashion Week.
"It's been incredible, absolutely
incredible. Social media has made such
a di erence," says Lubov Azria, chief
creative o cer of fashion house BCBG
Max Azria Group.
e front-row presence of Vogue
supremo Anna Wintour may remain the
important accolade for any designer, but
Twitter and bloggers are chipping away at
the monopoly of magazines.
"It used to be where the editors would
come in, whether they liked the collection
or not, they would have a certain point of
view, and that's what everyone saw," says
"Now with social media, we have a
voice. We have a way to express what
we feel, why we feel certain things. It's
As a result, BCBG's typical client, the
socialite "who dances and dines", has
"I think it brought a younger crowd and
it also brought the crowd that perhaps
never knew this or this about the brand.
It brings awareness," says the Ukrainian-
Fashion houses all have websites, many
o ering e-commerce, as well as Twitter,
Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Runway shows are now streamed live
online, attracting an audience of millions
across the planet.
But Marc Jacobs, who recently stepped
down from his post at Louis Vuitton
to concentrate on his own brand, has
become the talk of the town by trading
not in dollars but in social media currency.
At the Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop,
fans and fashionistas collect a free
perfume sample for every Instagram,
tweet or any other post that includes the
e more creative the posts, the better
the prizes. And at the end of the week,
the winner gets a Marc Jacobs handbag.
Tommy Hil ger, another US fashion
house giant, says its social media channels
provide "personalised access" to millions
of fans and consumers.
Twenty local Instagramers were invited
to the label's catwalk show on Monday,
one of the biggest of Fashion Week, and
given backstage access to record what
Long gone, Hil ger said, are the days
when it took six months for the catwalk
shows to reach the consumer.
"Our digital initiatives underscore
the di erences between how runway
shows used to be done and how they are
organised today," Hil ger says.
Backstage vignettes o er an intimate
look at a part of the show previously the
preserve only of models.
Rebecca Minko , the New York
designer who initially made a reputation
for producing luxury yet a ordable
handbags, joined video-sharing app Keek
speci cally for Fashion Week.
e site allows users to post videos of up
to 36 seconds. One shows the arrival, in
the freezing cold, backstage. In another,
TV actress AnnaSophia Robb picks out
an out t.
en there is wearable tech.
Alexander Wang, arguably the
biggest draw of the week, unveiled an
androgynous futurist show in a Brooklyn
warehouse that featured 3D and heat-
BCBG Max Azria also has "Epiphany
Eyewear", its answer to Google Glasses,
which are equipped with HD video, and
sent down the runway on models.
Victoria Beckham, who has wowed
the fashion world since making her
sophisticated, elegant debut in 2008,
has collaborated with Skype in a special
Fashion Week project.
e collection of videos, audio
clips, Twitter and video interactions
highlighted her social media credentials,
all the more vital given her previous
e male voiceover says social media has
forced "a 21st century fashion revolution".
"Once you know the story behind
anything, it's more compelling. You can
connect with it. May be that's what we're
doing," adds a member of her team.
Social media fuels a fashion revolution
All work, no play?
Mackenzie Hay can
speak a few words
of French, hold
a pencil properly,
and is learning
He has been taught these in structured
learning classes he attends three days a
week at St Kentigern private preschool.
Mackenzie is three-years-old.
For his mum Nina Hay, it is about
giving her children a head start. She is
happy to pay $200 a week for the classes.
Her daughter Alianna, ve, attended
the same programme last year. "It is not
for everyone, but I wanted my children to
have the best start at school and having a
proper transition programme has worked
brilliantly for them," Nina says.
Parents are going to extremes to ensure
their preschoolers have a head start on
their peers, enrolling their under-5s in
formal transition classes before they hit
Some aged three and four are attending
such classes for up to seven hours a
day, ve days a week, studying subjects
including French, maths and geography.
And while some education experts warn
such intensive schooling is unnecessary
and could put youngsters o learning,
parents say the classes provide a perfect
kick-start for their childrens'education.
Enrolments for the privately run early
literacy and numeracy programmes for
children aged three and four are booming.
Auckland's St Kentigern School opened
its preschool in 2011 to meet growing
demand. e roll is full and there is a
waiting list of more than 50, with some
pregnant mothers putting their child's
name down for a place before they are
About 50 children aged three and four
attend daily structured education classes
that cost $360 per child for a ve-day
week at St Kentigern. During the course
of a seven-hour day they are taught
foreign languages, maths and science.
" e demand has been incredible,
especially this year," says Sue Nash, the
preschool's director. " e transition
classes mean that going to school is not
so traumatic for the children as they are
already well equipped with the basics.
"A structured learning environment for
three and four-year-olds might not be for
everyone but our parents want the best
possible start for their children and we are
happy to provide it."
Other transition class providers proving
popular include Poppies Kindergarten in
Auckland and the boutique chain Little
School. Other well-known fee-paying
city schools that have set up preschool
facilities include Kings School and
Diocesan School for Girls.
Little School caters for about 350
children at three centres in Wellington
and one in Auckland. Classes cost $64 a
"Numbers have increased signi cantly
this year and our enrolment o cer's
phone won't stop ringing," explains Maria
Johnson, Little School's founder. "Our
model is working well here and we are
also opening three more of our centres in
China, where parents like our structured
approach." Many regular primary schools
and kindys o er free or inexpensive
readiness for school classes that are not
as formal as their privately operated
e Auckland Kindergarten Association
oversees 106 preschool centres across the
city, catering for about 6000 children. e
kindys have a more play-based learning
programme for under-5s.
e association's marketing executive,
Talei Williams, insists there is no
evidence children need additional tutoring
beyond a quality preschool.
She believes it is parents who are driving
the need to put children aged three and
four into structured classes --- and warns
children could get turned o learning as
"Learning should be fun and children
should be allowed the space to just be
children," she says.
Rawiri Brell, the Education Ministry's
deputy secretary for early years, parents
and whanau, believes a level-headed
attitude is needed to prepare children for
"Taking a narrow approach to teaching
very young children may risk turning
them o learning, making the transition
to school less successful," he says.
Growing Up In New Zealand provides
data to the Government for planning
purposes from an ongoing longitudinal
study of 7000 children and their families.
Dr Susan Morton, who heads the study,
says statistics show education is one of the
biggest concerns for parents by the time
their children reach two.
"Concerns about increased competition
in the job market and for access to higher
education places in the future seems to be
at the front of parents' minds," Morton
So how hard should we expect our
preschoolers to swot? Or should we just
allow them their childhood, knowing
there are quite enough years ahead of
them for study and work?
In Auckland, Jo Su pays $40 a week
to send son Hilson, four, to Mt Roskill
Kindergarten. She says her experiences
of attending a strict preschool in her
native China led her to put her children
into a more relaxed environment. At Mt
Roskill there is more focus on play-based
"In China, there was no room for
creativity. It was very pushy and
competitive and I didn't want that for
my children. ey have their whole life
ahead of them to work and learn and it is
important to let them just be children."
She says Hilson gets up early in the
morning and can't wait to get to kindy to
be with his friends.
"He is very happy and that means
more to me than whether he can add up
numbers or read and write well the day he
Across the city, though, Nina Hay says
transition-to-school classes are about
giving her children a head start.
Alianna, ve, and Mackenzie, three, have
loved the classes.
"I wanted my children to know how to
read and write properly before they went
to primary," she says. "Mackenzie seems
happy and settled and he has learned to
sit still at his desk in class. I am not sure
if he is ahead of others with his learning
but his con dence levels have de nitely
Where children should be at --- and
ºAge two: Your child is barely out of
nappies but they will be talking, learning
words quickly and might be using two
word sentences like "Eat bikkie".
Dr Carrie Barber, senior lecturer in
psychology at the University of Waikato,
explains that emotionally they will already
be practising asserting control over
themselves and their world, with tantrums
of frustration when it doesn't work.
Barber says: "Most two-year-olds
recognise familiar peers and may express
a ection for them. ey will be walking
con dently and beginning to run, jump
and climb, but still holding their upper
body sti y." However, Tony Sissons,
longstanding principal at Kings School in
Auckland, believes most are still tentative
about the world around them.
"At two, children tend to play around
others but are contented with their own
exploration. ey will recognise familiar
faces most of the time. But this can
upset Aunt Georgina as they don't have
ºAge four: In the nal year before they
go to primary school, children will be
more con dent and are developing real
friendships with other children.
Barber says: " e child's language is
much more uent, and the parent should
be able to understand most of what they
say. ey should also be displaying as
much joy and curiosity as sadness and
anger. Physically, they can jump, throw
a ball, catch it some of the time and
are developing ne motor skills such as
holding a pencil or crayon, picking up and
playing with small toys."
Sissons says: "At this age, most can
recount shapes, colours and numbers.
Some will have di culty with letters.
ey will be able to count the number of
biscuits or sweets they have been bribed
ºAge six: By six, children are settling
into school life and should be starting to
master academic skills like writing letters,
basic reading, maths.
Barber says: "Emotionally they are
starting to show a distinct personality.
ey will also start to develop skills at
what they enjoy- a sport, or a musical
instrument or drawing."
Sissons says: "A signi cant part of their
personality has been formed and you will
" ey are beginning to decide who they
like and who they don't, and why."
ºAge eight: Tennis-mad Mitchell
Heaven from Snells Beach School, North
Auckland, is beginning to understand
what is expected of him at school.
Experts reckon this is normal by age
By this stage, children should be reading
and writing at a basic level and teachers
should be able to tell if they are meeting
Mitchell's mum Rebecca says she is
happy with the way her son is progressing
and believes the school keeps her fully
informed of his progress.
Mitchell says he "loves"going to school.
"Mitchell knows the rules and he goes
by the rules," she says. "He is ahead with
his reading and spelling and knows what
homework he has to do.
"I think children should have a good
balance of class work and physical activity
and I feel both are catered for well at his
ºAge 10: A major change at 10 is when
a child's learning shifts from learning to
read, to having to read in order to learn.
Barber says: " e child has pretty
good control and also knows when it's
appropriate to express emotions. Boys and
girls usually play separately. Bullying may
look di erent for boys and girls-for boys
it is more physical, along with taunts; for
girls it may be more about relationships,
being excluded or turning on your
Sissons says: "Socially, they are making
lasting friendships. e shift to assessing
information becomes important, too.
Quality teachers know exactly how a child
is performing and there are no excuses for
parents or the child to be unaware of the
ºAge 12: Grace Jack is in her nal year
at Northcross Intermediate on Auckland's
North Shore. She knows this period is
crucial for preparing her for high school.
Experts say by 12, Grace should be
mastering basic academics and starting to
think more systematically and abstractly
while developing individual interests and
Last year, she excelled at writing
and maths. She hopes to go on to
further education and perhaps work in
" e exams started to get really hard last
year so I am aware that the schoolwork is
being stepped up for high school," Grace
says. "I expect it to get even harder this
year but I think I know what is expected
of me and I think I am being well
"It is good to know what level you are
expected to be at because then you can
push yourself to get there and achieve. But
it is not all work we do.
"We are also encouraged to behave in
a good way and be respectful towards
Grace's only gripe is she feels she does
not get enough time during the day to
play with her friends.
"We used to get about an hour for lunch
but that has been halved"she says. "I don't
think that is fair and I would like a bit
more time with my friends."
Grace's mum Helen is satis ed with
Northcross. "She has great teachers and
a well rounded and supportive education
system around her," Helen says.
--- New Zealand Herald
Parents are going to extreme lengths to give their children a head start before they hit the school system. In an education special,
the Herald on Sunday examines the quali cations framework and the three Rs. Why do New Zealand children do better in
some subjects than others? We talk to parents spending big money to send their three and four-year-olds to transition classes.
RUSSELL BLACKSTOCK of the Herald on Sunday reports.
Links Archive February 14th 2014 February 18th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page