Home' Greymouth Star : May 9th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, May 9, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1671 - Thomas Blood, Irish adventurer better
known as Captain Blood, steals the crown
jewels from the Tower of London.
1785 - British inventor Joseph Bramah
patents the beer-pump handle.
1899 - The lawn mower is
1978 - The bullet-riddled body
of Italy’s former prime minister
Aldo Moro is found in parked car
in central Rome, 54 days after his
abduction by Red Brigades terrorists.
1986 - Death of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who
with Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the
summit of Mt Everest in 1953.
1994 - South Africa’s newly elected
parliament chooses Nelson Mandela to be the
country’s first black president.
2000 - In a landmark human rights trial, 13
Indonesian soldiers admit they dragged 26
student activists into a field in Aceh province
and killed them.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Brown, US slavery abolitionist (1800-
1859); Sir James Barrie, English dramatist
(1860-1937); Howard Carter, British
archaeologist (1873-1939); Mike Wallace, US
television personality (1918-2012);
Albert Finney, English actor (1936-
); Glenda Jackson, English actress,
turned politician (1936-); Sonny
Curtis, US musician and songwriter
(1937-); James L Brooks, US film
producer-director (1940-); Candice
Bergen, US actor (1946-); Billy Joel,
US pop singer (1949-).
“ Television has changed the American child
from an irresistible force into an immovable
object.” — Laurence J Peter, Canadian-born
“Honour your father and mother” — this is
the first commandment with a promise: “So
that it may be well with you and you may live
long on the earth. ”
— (Ephesians 6.2-3).
do the bulk of the
writing work from
Form 1 upwards
in Greymouth schools. Ballpoint pens are
discouraged in most although in the main
they are permissable for marking and note-
taking purposes. Pencils are the main writing
implement in the initial stages of schooling,
however, at about the Standard 3 level they are
replaced by pens.
Commenting on the use of ballpoint pens
in schools, the headmaster of Grey Main
School Mr S F Postlewaight said they
were not acceptable for formal work. “ The
standard of writing deteriorates through the
use of ballpoints,” he said. Other principals
Mr J S Thomson, principal of the Greymouth
High School, said he was not an advocate of
the use of ballpoints in formal writing. “ They
are not conducive to good writing.”
For the second successive morning,
Greymouth had a frost today. The mercury level
sank to 30.1 deg, making the frost somewhat
lighter than yesterday’s 3 deg affair, represented
the first occasion this year on which there have
been frosts on successive days here.
Winter’s calling card has been fairly liberally
distributed in New Zealand this week, with
Auckland yesterday experiencing a harsher
frost than Greymouth and Christchurch
having its eighth of the year.
The canteen at Lake Mahinapua was
totally destroyed by fire at 4.30 on Thursday
afternoon. A considerable store of sweets,
cordials and tinned fruit were also lost.
The owner, Mr C Ingram, was only recently
appointed caretaker at the lake by the domain
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
hen Lucky, Dicky
and Nicky Chettri
tried to break into
industry 20 years
ago, competitors tried to run them out of
They say men threatened them, harassed
them — even filed bogus police reports
“The men said this is a business for
the men and we should leave it alone,”
said Lucky, the eldest Chettri sister in
the 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking
“They would even accuse us of trying to
take away food from their table.”
Now the sisters have a booming business
and a waiting list of Nepalese women
who want to join their six-month training
programme for mountain guides.
The rise of the Chettri sisters’ business in
many ways reflects the increasing clout of
women in Nepal, a country which remains
in most ways deeply patriarchal.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing
Norgay first climbed Mount Everest in
1953. But it was another 40 years before
the first Nepali woman reached the peak.
Since then, women have made progress in
politics, education and business.
About 5% of Nepali politicians were
female in 1990 but women won a third
of the seats in the 2008 parliamentary
election. Some discriminatory laws
have been changed, including one that
allowed only sons to inherit parental
Shailee Basnet, who led a 10-member
Nepali women’s team to Everest in 2008,
said the number of women in trekking and
mountaineering has risen as well, and she
gave credit to the Chettri sisters.
“They have started a trend for women to
take up this profession. Women guiding
foreign trekkers in the region has become
a normal thing now,” she said.
The Chettris came up with the idea of
opening a woman-run trekking agency
when they heard from foreign female
travellers who were harassed, even sexually
assaulted and threatened by their male
guides while trekking remote mountain
“These girls were really afraid and felt
insecure,” said Lucky, 48, at their office
next to the picturesque Phewa lake.
Initially the sisters had trouble finding
more women who knew trekking, spoke
English and were willing to spend days
away from home walking with the
foreigners. Their solution was to bring the
women to Pokhara and train them for
“At the beginning it was very unusual for
the women to join our programme because
they had to leave their homes for many
days, working with westerners,” said Nicky,
the youngest of the sisters.
“Some thought it was against our culture
because women are expected to be at
home doing household work.”
But soon the word spread.
“These women began to like the idea
that they don’t need to depend on their
husbands for money,” Nicky said.
Gam Maya Tilicha, 25, once planned to
become a teacher but is now a full-time
guide at the agency.
“I never imagined that I would be a
trekking guide. But the income is very good
and I like what I am doing — meeting
people from all over the world and
travelling to new places in Nepal,” she said.
The sisters take in 40 students every six
months, giving them free housing, food
and clothing. The money earned from the
trekking agency supports the training.
Once they graduate, they make about
$3300 a year from guiding tourists, a
better-than-average salary in this poor
Himalayan nation. Monika Rai, a 19-year-
old student, hopes it leads to something
“ I am here to learn the skills of trekking
and English language so that I can
become a guide and make more money
than in any other jobs,” she said.
The Chettris have 150 women guides
who lead close to 1000 foreign trekkers
a year. They cater to those who travel
the lower mountain trails, not the
mountaineers who go beyond Everest ’s
base camp and up to the world’s tallest
Mountaineering and trekking is a big
business in Nepal, where half the foreign
visitors come to explore the mountains.
According to the Nepal Mountaineering
Association, some 340,000 foreign tourists
ventured on treks last year.
Many of the visitors are women
travelling alone who prefer to have
a female companion, such as Sophie
Whitwell, a 25-year-old marketing
executive from London who signed up
with 3 Sisters.
“ I would definitely want a female guide.
I am sure it would be fine if you went with
a male guide but you just don’t know, and
you are walking with them potentially
alone for several hours a day,” she said.
“ If you are in a scenario where you need
a rescue ... a female guide is just as capable
of walking to the next town to get help or
make a phone call. ”
Dicky, left, Lucky, and Nicky Chettri at the 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Company office in Pokhara.
Women reach top
I bought a Star while shopping in
Greymouth last Saturday and was pleased
to see the piece on the flood protection
wall and reference to some comments
I made in April 1989. It does seem like
The Government ’s policy was to not
fund catchment projects, rather for the
beneficiaries to meet those costs in full.
Christchurch is an example, where its
protection from the Waimakariri River
bursting its banks is funded by a targeted
rate levied across the whole city.
But Greymouth is a much smaller
community and by the late 1980s it had
experienced several major flood events
within a short timeframe. The community
was desperate for security and long-
term protection (and insurance cover)
but was completely unable to meet the
approximately $6 million costs of the
wall proposed by the catchment
As local MP, I sought assistance
from the Labour government and, in
an exception to its New Zealand-wide
policy, 80% of the funds were allocated by
Wellington, and the wall was built.
At the wall’s 10th anniversary function
in Greymouth it was stated that there
had been five events since its construction
which would have otherwise flooded
the town. No doubt there will have been
many more in the years since then.
The wall, therefore, has been an
outstanding success. I check it out every
time I am in Greymouth, about once a
month. The 25th anniversary is not too
far away. I hope that the regional and
district councils can organise a suitable
celebration of that milestone.
Sir Kerry Burke
Golf club responds
Re Maxine Morgan’s letter (Greymouth
Star, May 5) regarding the Left Bank Art
Gallery. Ms Morgan’s letter, intentionally
or not, seems to cast a slur on the
Greymouth Golf Club and its members.
To my knowledge, no deals have ever
been made on the golf course.
If Ms Morgan would like to play
golf and participate in these so-called
advantages she can become a member for
$150. The golf club is probably struggling
more for sponsorship than the art
What I would like to know is, what was
Ms Morgan doing on Easter Weekend
after Cyclone Ita caused so much
devastation? Many golf club members
were out there clearing debris from the
course, several of them in their 70s and
80s. Without the help of these volunteers
the club would not sur vive.
Later this year we are running
tournaments to raise money for Ronald
McDonald House and also for the
Westpac Rescue Helicopter, with all
proceeds going to these organisations.
What charities do Ms Morgan and the
Left Bank Art Gallery sponsor?
To my knowledge, Ms Morgan’s
innuendos re golf are totally unfounded.
Greymouth Golf Club
It is good to see the Mayor beginning
to reveal his view of policy for the Grey
district ’s future. However, if he had
been in less of a hurry to paint me as an
economic dinosaur, he might have seen
that my letters about the port have been
advocating the economic opportunity
that the port presents. That is, the
opportunity for business.
The difference in our views is about how
this should be achieved. D uring most
of his term in office, council’s policy has
been to defer maintenance on the port.
That is, let it run down.
Fortuitously, an additional fishing
company has recognised the potential of
the port and set up here.
It would appear that the Mayor is
trying to claim the credit for this, but
the council came within a hair’s breadth
of losing us this opportunity by trying
to screw the fishing company for money,
rather than recognising that the council
(ultimately the ratepayers) have to do
their bit to encourage business.
Herein lies the nub of the difference
between our views. He is a neo-
conser vative politician, believing that
free enterprise will cure everything;
just sell off public assets and abdicate
responsibility for strategic spending.
I, by contrast, favour the model where
both central and local government
accept that economic development is
a partnership with business, and that
means public spending as an investment
in economic growth.
There are some good ideas coming out
of various consultations, but it is all
going to be hollow talk unless some
money gets spent.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
responds: “Maintenance at the port has
not been deferred. Dredging of the lagoon is
ongoing, rock replacement at the breakwaters
is occurring and always has been.
A large section of wharf is now owned by
Westfleet and Talley’s, who have invested
large sums of capital in renewals, plant and
buildings. Council is cutting its cloth to suit
a port with no coal or timber trade.
In 1996 the council of the day stopped
rating for the port. For the first time since
1996, the draft annual plan 2014-15 has
included a rates contribution of 4%, so with
the new $12 million Westfleet fish factory
and other improvements we are heading in
the right direction without a huge burden
being placed on ratepayers.
It is easy to be an expert through a letter
to the editor, but be assured that councillors
are continually seeking value for ratepayers,
with sound economic development strategies.
Mr Morgan was part of that decision
making as a councillor but he chose to quit
after just six months after being elected for
a three-year term. Successful outcomes are
achieved through teamwork and by being on
council doing the hard graft, not by quitting
and then criticising.
Mr Morgan needs reminding that I was in
the march through Greymouth against asset
sales and addressed the crowd on several
Fishing is an economic opportunity for
the port and we are also well advanced
with another exciting venture. Craig Boote,
the managing director for Westfleet, is a
self-made businessman f rom Runanga.
Craig and I have worked very closely on
this project and we are both very happy
with the final outcome. Mr Boote’s success
is an example to all of what a lifetime of
hard work and a desire to come home and
reinvest in the Grey district can do. With
the rich fishing grounds off the best Coast,
his commitment and hard work will be
rewarded. He is not a quitter; he is in it for
the long haul.
The port is still to make a profit. It is one
of our last big hurdles but councillors are all
on board, rowing in the same direction on
behalf of the ratepayers.”
Climate change, but
not in Greymouth?
There is a current view that new
buildings should be carbon neutral. That
is, their energy requirements should
not add carbon dioxide to the already
stressed atmosphere. A combination
of orientation, and insulation, plus the
use of renewables for any additional
energy needs is required to achieve this
standard. In this way we anticipate the
future rather than replicate a past that
has brought us to this point of planetary
In this view, government and local
bodies should be setting the example.
How disappointing, then, for the Grey
District Council, currently attempting
to rebrand itself as progressive, to be
still pursuing in neanderthal fashion, the
coal burning option for the aquatic and
activity centres, an option that, so far, has
not proved problem free.
The one timid gesture toward the 21st
century is that the new boiler, as well
as coping with any grade of coal, can be
fired ‘with other materials’. Presumably,
this means the driftwood that will be
floating through the car park once the ice
caps have melted. Probably even a whale
or two will be able to be rendered.
How many wake-up calls, such as the
recent cyclone, are required?
I request that the council release the
scoping study that was presumably done,
considering all heating options for the
pool and new activity centre, including
the use of renewables such as solar and
wind, and their relative costings over a
period of 50 years.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
responds: “O ver 60% of all electricity
provided in the world is made f rom coal-
fired power plants. China is building a new
coal-fired power plant every week and is
not required to reduce carbon emissions at
all. India is the same. New Zealand has
carbon emission reduction targets. Australia
produces as much coal every 18 months as
New Zealand has provided in its entire
The boiler at the aquatic centre is coal-fired
because it is the most economic fuel to use.
Electricity is expensive and solar power is
completely uneconomic for the aquatic centre,
even if we covered the entire roof with solar
The boiler is only used for water heating
of the pools. The electricity bill is $140,000
annually. Until an economic alternative
comes along that is efficient and value for
money, our low ash, low sulphur, high
quality West Coast coal will fill the gap.
I support carbon reduction in the
atmosphere through better insulation of
housing, the use of low ash and low sulphur
coals, hydro power and research into carbon
sinks to store carbon dioxide emissions deep
down beneath the ground. Eventually,
science will develop battery-driven cars
that are efficient and can travel over long
There is no sense in not having a coal boiler
at the aquatic centre when the rest of the
world does not give a damn about reducing
carbon emissions. We have lobbied for the
Mokihinui and Arnold hydro dams, which
would produce clean electricity, but guess
who constantly opposes this development?”
Through your column, my family and
I would like to thank all the people of
Cobden and on our other runs that
we delivered the Messenger and New
World pamphlets to in all weathers, for
their support over the past 17 and a half
years we have been delivering to their
But as from last Friday we are no longer
delivering these to the letterboxes as we
have now resigned from this for personal
We also would like to thank past
super visors for all their help. Once again,
thanks for all the friendly chats and
Graham Hunt and Family
Those who live in the High Street area
have had our letterboxes vandalised and
we wish to know why?
Some of us have disabilities and we are
being asked to repair or replace the boxes
that have been vandalised by others. Why
should we be asked to repair or replace
letterboxes that have been vandalised by
those who do not live in this area?
The people who are vandalising our
letterboxes are walking, or driving past
in their cars after they have been out
drinking, and just looking for something
to do for the rest of the night, but there
is no need to vandalise something that
does not belong to them. Maybe those
who vandalise need to put their energies
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