Home' Greymouth Star : March 22nd 2014 Contents 3
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WEST COAST FEATURE
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SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
close historic Fox
e historic Fox River bridge,
north of Punakaiki, has been
closed to pedestrians after a
bridge foreman spotted a possible
structural problem. e truss
bridge was built in 1931, two years
after Greymouth and Westport
were linked by the Coast Road. It
became redundant 60 years later,
when the Ministry of Works built
the current State highway bridge.
Friends of Fox River and Bridge
Society president Les Holmes said
they were going to start repairs
on the steel parts of the structure,
when a bridge foreman identi ed
a problem with the south span.
At this stage they did not know
how serious it was but had to
err on the side of caution, Mr
Holmes said. "From what I can
see, it's something that can be
repaired, and probably won't cost
the earth." e group had yet to get
an engineering assessment. "We're
hoping it's xable."
(Supplied by Nelson Weather Service)
Greymouth Star On-line
A French mayor caught speeding
at almost twice the legal limit told
police he was trying to dry his car
out after a visit to the car wash.
Jean-Louis Hennon's excuse is
considered one of the most bizarre
ever o ered for breaking the law.
After being caught by a ash
gun doing more than 100mph
in a 55mph zone, the mayor of
Courcelles-Epayelles, in the Oise
department of northern France, said
he had just left a service station.
Mr Hennon said: "I'd been to the
carwash and on the way back I
may have accelerated for around a
kilometre, no more, to dry the car
out." --- Daily Mail
Labour's Damien O'Connor and
the Greens' Kevin Hague already
have strong followings on-line, while
political novice, National's Maureen
Pugh, is catching up with 575 'likes'
However, she has just joined Twitter
and struggles with cellphone reception
at her Turiwhate home, in the
Taramakau Valley, but says she plans
"I'm putting a huge amount of time
into Facebook and plan to use it to
reach as many people as possible," the
former Westland mayor says.
"(It) takes me over ve hours to
get to Takaka and four hours to get
to Haast by car. (But) I can reach
hundreds of people a day through
Facebook simply by sharing stu
about me, so the electorate gets to
know me, and what is topical in the
Facebook posts for 'Team Maureen'
include a picture of the family's
hot rod, National Party policy
announcements and the more
personal, such as the fact she was
babysitting her grandchildren.
Both she and Mr O'Connor saw
that mileage was to be had by sharing
pictures of themselves at the Hokitika
Mr Hague, 53, is the most proli c
user of social media. He has 3717
followers on Twitter and has made
more than 9000 tweets.
ey include the political --- for
example, about Pike River Mine ---
but he also puts out more personal
information, such as a trip to the
rugby. Via Facebook, he noted that
he expected social media's role this
election would be substantial.
"As you know I make extensive
use of social media, and it will be a
big part of my campaign (I'm one
of the biggest users in Parliament),
and the Green Party's. Social media
use allows us to speak directly with
people around the country (including
traditional media who understand
"Using these media I can connect
directly with hundreds or
thousands of Coasters on a
regular basis, which makes
it often more e ective than
traditional channels (and
great use of public money)."
With 3882 Facebook
'friends', he is also currently
reaching the largest group.
West Coast-Tasman MP
Labour's Damien O'Connor
has 2786 'friends' on
Facebook, and 805 Twitter
followers. Many of his
tweets are about farming and
biosecurity, re ecting his portfolios.
Replying on Facebook, he says social
media is having a "slowly growing
in uence as an older age group starts
utilising the opportunities to connect
with their wide ranging families and
"Many are reconnecting with old
friends and can enable information
and debate on real issues to bypass the
lters of mainstream media."
e 2014 general election is under way and for the rst time in the West Coast-Tasman electorate, social media --- Facebook and Twitter --- will play a role, especially with the battle
to win younger voters. Labour's Damien O'Connor, National's Maureen Pugh and the Greens' Kevin Hague are all aged in their 50s, growing up in an era when technology extended
to typewriters, dial phones and later, fax machines. But the advent of the internet and even cellphones has changed the world --- and the way politicians communicate.
LAURA MILLS tested the three main candidates to check on their social media skills.
If you have needed a prescription
lled in Greymouth at some point
over the past 40 years, chances are
pharmacist John Boyes may have done
it for you.
"I have spent 40 years as a
pharmacist, and about 35 of those years
have been spent on the West Coast,"
said the fourth generation West
"I wanted to be a lawyer, but one
of my teachers said, 'You're not good
at public speaking. But you're very
good at chemistry, you should be a
His family moved from Greymouth
to Christchurch when he was aged 11
and it was on a return trip, while he
was on pharmacy school holidays, that
he went down to the pub and ran into
well-known pharmacist Richard Olsen.
"He said, 'how about you come and
work for me when you nish?' He
actually found out that I passed before
I did," Mr Boyes said.
So he returned to his hometown in
1973 to do his internship at Olsen's
"He encouraged me to stay on and
we had 25 years together."
Later, Mr Boyes moved to
Christchurch and worked in the
airport pharmacy before heading for
a year-long stint in Cairns, Australia.
Upon returning to Greymouth in 2005,
he worked for a month back at Olsen's
before he jointly purchased a pharmacy
in Hokitika. He was just ready to head
back to full-time work, when he was
diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"I decided I wasn't going to work
full-time any more."
He has since become a "roving
employee," dividing his week between
Hokitika and Greymouth.
He got to know many of the faces
around town over the years, and in turn
he has become a well recognised face
"You end up doing prescriptions for a
lot of people and you get to know a lot
" e biggest satisfaction is being able
to help people."
Over his career Mr Boyes had seen
pharmacy operations change over the
"When I started there were
only three items you paid for on
e biggest change had been the
introduction of computers, although
Olsen's rst computer was a far throw
from today's machines: "It took two
people to lift it and in six months we
had lled its memory!"
With retirement looming, he is not
planning to slow down at all.
"I have 460 days to the pension, not
that I am going to retire."
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
John Boyes, at home among the prescriptions at Unichem Olsen's Pharmacy.
Medicine man marks 40 years
Emotions are running high in
Kumara after at least 21 chickens
were killed by a marauding dog in
night-time raids on local chicken
Over the past couple of months,
a number of residents in and
around Greenstone Road and
Seddon Street, along the western
edge of the town, have woken
up to nd their chicken runs
had been forced open and birds
One woman, who declined
to be named, said she lost four
roosters and three chickens over
"It's really annoying, bloody
Someone had spotted the dog in
her chicken run and recognised it,
but did not know who it belonged
to and had not seen it since.
"We've locked (the chickens) up
really well at night, and done all
the chook runs up. We shouldn't
have to. It's not fair."
Another resident said both of
her chickens had been killed,
even though her chicken run was
completely fenced in and covered.
"One was just completely eaten.
All that was left was the egg she
was going to give me. I'm too
scared to get any more (chickens)
until something's resolved."
She said the situation was
"horrible" and a lot of residents
"People just think they're only
chooks, but that's not the point.
"We've had a problem in Kumara
for some time now with roaming
dogs. You have your suspicions
but you can't say for certain."
Westland District Council
dog control o cers had visited
Kumara a number of times, but so
far no one knew who owned the
rogue dog was or exactly where it
At least four households in the
town had been a ected so far.
SPCA Hokitika manager
Louise Royal said the dog control
investigation was still under way
and she declined to comment
Coast political candidates take hustings to social media
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