Home' Greymouth Star : April 12th 2014 Contents 3
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Ruru-Moana Anglican church
WEST COAST FEATURE
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Coast memories of the 1970 royal tour
WEST COAST FEATURE
Help to keep
patients at home
Moves are afoot to help sick South
Westland residents stay in their
homes longer. West Coast District
Health Board chief executive David
Meates said the first planning
meeting for the development of an
‘acute demand model’ has been held.
“This will be an integrated model
aimed at keeping people well and
in their own homes, reducing the
need for hospital admission and
supporting early discharge from
hospital,” Mr Meates said.
200 vintage cars
Horsepower of a different kind will
take over the Omoto Racecourse at
Easter as the West Coast Vintage
Car Club hosts more than 200
cars of all makes and models for
the Greymouth BP 2 Go Vintage
Car Club of New Zealand 2014
National South Island Easter Rally,
on April 18-20. The visiting cars
date from 1910 to 1980, and will be
travelling from as far as Invercargill
and Whangarei. They will be driving
in and around the Greymouth and
Hokitika districts. An open day will
be held for the public to view the
cars at Omoto on Easter Sunday,
from 10am to 2pm.
It sounds like a harmless concept
to encourage mum and dad to get
involved in their child’s education:
pupils take it in turns to have the
class teddy bear at home over the
weekend, then they write about how
their family spent it with Ted. But
it seems the practice has become
the latest source of one-upmanship
among parents — prompting some
schools to ban it, so intense is
competition. Teachers report that
experiences logged by children
in the ‘class bear diary’, where all
pupils’ accounts are recorded, include
attending orchestra rehearsals and
enjoying corporate hospitality at
high-profile events. One child wrote
that the bear had helped pilot a ship
and another said the bear ran the
Great North Run. Research shows
some schools have stopped using the
concept due to ‘parent politics’.
— Daily Mail
Gusty easterly, showers clearing
New Zealand’s most remote resident
has given a blistering condemnation
of the Haast-Hollyford highway
proposal, saying the most effective way
to destroy a wilderness is to build a
road through it.
Robert Long and his family live self-
sufficiently in complete isolation on
the Gorge River, in a hut two days’
walk south of Haast.
They gained national attention in
2010 with his book A Life on Gorge
The Haast-Hollyford highway would
stretch 136km between Hollyford
Valley, near Milford Sound, and
Arawhata, south of Haast.
Adding to that
Fiordland Coast Walks owner Grant
MacKinnon last week issued a
press statement suggested building
a $30 million ‘side road’ to Big
Bay to include a campground and
hotel accommodation, saying the
Hollyford road would open up further
development possibilities at the Red
Hills — and at Gorge River.
Mr MacKinnon has since confessed
that he does not want to see the
Haast-Hollyford go ahead, but said
he recognised a business opportunity
should that change.
“There will be pressure from the
public to get out to Big Bay, given it
is so close.
“The pressure will come from the
public in the same way as this road is
He admitted the road would be
difficult to push through, given “New
Zealanders’ sentiments against this
kind of proposal”.
If it did, though, he expected a Big
Bay road could go in, too.
“I expect the amount of red tape
for this road to be equal to Haast
Hollyford’s red tape,” Mr MacKinnon
Contacting the Greymouth Star by
satellite from his Gorge River home,
Mr Long made an impassioned case
against any roads in that remote area of
South Westland and Fiordland.
He said the reason so many people
visited the remote coastline already
was because of its isolation and “the
fact that there is no road through here”.
Thousands of people visited the area
each year, leaving little or no impact.
“Thousands of resourceful, motivated
people make the extra effort to reach
here by foot, boat or air transpor.
“The rest of the travelling, exploring
public should not be able to once again
intrude upon and destroy the special
reward that is already available to any
Mr Long said that area offered
some of the best outdoor experiences
available in the world.
“ It is inconceivable that any
Fiordland, Mount Aspiring or South
Westland Department of Conser vation
administration worth its salt could
possibly allow such a destructive
intrusion to occur on their watch.”
Lower South Westland and northern
Fiordland contained the largest
undeveloped lowland forest remaining
in New Zealand, and isolation
had largely protected the region to date.
“The most effective way to destroy a
wilderness is to build a road through it.
This has been demonstrated countless
times over the planet.”
Mr Long said that once a road was
put in, the mineral-rich area would be
exposed to the “onslaught of mining
Big Bay was a unique coastal sand
dune area that provided nesting sites
for dotterel, terns, oyster catchers,
scaup and little blue penguins.
“A road would open that area up to
“ What message will this send to
people of this land if DOC allow
what is essentially an overseas private
company to finance and set up a toll-
collecting business at the expense
of a hundred kilometre strip of
pristine forested national park and
conser vation lands?”
Haast-Hollyford road promoter
Durham Havill says the highway
would allow thousands of people to
enjoy the area compared to the few
who can get there now, only by foot.
Haast Hollyford Highway Ltd owner
Durham Havill said the proposed toll
road could carry between 800,000 and
900,000 people in its first year.
The suggestion from Robert Long,
the only resident of remote Gorge
River, that the area should remain a
special reward to “motivated” people
meant only 20 people a year could
enjoy the area, compared to thousands
via a road, Mr Havill said.
He said they had taken environmental
impact into consideration when
planning the road and consequently
the decision was made to go
inland instead of hugging the
“ We put a lot of consideration into it.
Going coastal would have been a nice
drive, that would have gone right past
Mr Long,” Mr Havill said.
He did not believe the road would
have the hugely detrimental impact
on wildlife that Mr Long suggested,
citing examples of other areas where
infrastructure had been done near
“If you drive through Arthur’s Pass,
you see there is plenty of birdlife.”
He also dismissed the suggestion
that a road would open up the area to
being mined for resources.
“ We are only interested in tourism
and boosting numbers into the West
Coast and Southland.
“ We are not even interested in
“ We have no control over that
anyway, that ’s the government.”
Mr Havill said he was not aware
what minerals were in the area other
than asbestos in the Red Hills, and he
doubted minerals companies would
chase that now.
“ I wouldn’t have a guess as to what
minerals are there.
“But there are minerals all over New
“ We are just interested in a tourism
‘ We are only interested in tourism’
PICTURE: Random House
Robert Long in the Gorge River.
A $76,000 bridge will be built
as part of plans to rejuvenate the
Cobden Lagoon and turn it into an
eco-sanctuary are accelerated.
The Cobden Aromahana
Sanctuary is largely based on the
site of the old Greymouth rubbish
dump, close to the tiphead.
Already, a track winds its way
from the tiphead road and along
the edge of the lagoon to the
beach. Work to make this into a
loop, circumnavigating the lagoon
is under way, with the track to be
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn said the council-funded
bridge, for pedestrians and cyclists,
would cross Range Creek where it
entered the lagoon.
A timeframe to finish the entire
eco-sanctuary has been set at two
Car parking will be expanded, and
at least one bird hide is planned on
the river side of the lagoon.
Fill dug up from the Greymouth
sewerage scheme construction has
been placed on top of the dump site
to cap it, but that project is drawing
to a close.
Mr Kokshoorn said the area
should start showing a “marked
improvement ” shortly.
The Kahuna Boardriders Club
has contributed to work at the
tiphead, and the Department of
Conser vation is trying to restore
whitebait habitat on Cobden Island,
with work about to to start on
planting thousands of flaxes.
Volunteers man stoat traps
and Mr Kokshoorn said he was
personally donating nine penguin
The area was already popular, with
a senior citizens group walking
there regularly on Fridays and a
group of dog walkers on Sundays.
“From the old Cobden dump, the
transformation will be incredible,”
The dump closed in 2000 after
Marine reser ves covering 17,500ha
offshore of the West Coast will come into
effect later this year, and the Department
of Conser vation says more information
on how the rules will be enforced will be
Conser vation Minister Nick Smith
recently agreed the reser ves could go
ahead, nine years after the idea was first
At one stage there was talk of naval
patrols to enforce the rules.
DOC expects the reser ves will be place in
the latter half of 2014, and more detailed
information about who can do what, and
where, will be made available then, DOC
spokeswoman Lizzy Sutcliffe says.
The forum that drew up the proposal
suggested people should still be allowed
to collect pounamu and driftwood off
beaches, as long as it was non-commercial.
The forum also said quadbike and horse
riding along the foreshore should be
allowed, as long as it does not disturb
nesting and roosting birds.
The reser ves will be Kahurangi,
Punakaiki, Okarito, Tauparikaka (Ship
Creek) and Hautai (Gorge River).
Dr Smith said they would protect
Hector’s dolphin and New Zealand fur
seals, fish-like sharks, cod and long-finned
eels, and seabirds such as the Westland
petrel, white-fronted terns and blue and
Fiordland crested penguins.
DOC mum on marine
New push to transform Cobden Lagoon
Hermit says ‘no’ to Hollyford
Greymouth Star On-line
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