Home' Greymouth Star : May 31st 2014 Contents 3
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SATURDAY, MAY 31, 2014
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Aussie hotel back
Things are looking up for a historic
Australian hotel with ties to the
West Coast. The West Coast Hotel,
in Cooktown, lost its roof when
Cyclone Ita hit in April, before it
moved on to pound New Zealand
on April 17. The hotel is reputed
to have been named after this
region, after goldminers departed
for Cooktown when the easy gold
ran out. According to the hotel’s
Facebook page, they are operating
out of the drive-through and expect
to be back in business soon.
wins world praise
An article about New Zealand
tourism in winter by international
travel guide The Lonely Planet has
recommended a trip on the Tranz
Alpine train to Greymouth. Writers
suggested visiting New Zealand
during winter as a chance to “avoid
the queues, peak pricing and the
summer holidaymaker crush ...
to tick off some of its big-ticket
attractions at a quiet time”. The
article described the Tranz Alpine
as “one of the world’s greatest
train journeys” which was “all the
more beautiful in winter”. It also
encouraged travellers to visit the
West Coast. “ Ignore any warnings
about the wet West Coast — the
locals will tell you the rain falls
‘mostly in big drops and mainly at
A ‘Goldilocks’ burglar who fell
asleep on the sofa in the house of
his pensioner victims after he had
raided £10,000 worth of jewellery
has been jailed. Derek Hardman,
31, was discovered snoozing by
pensioners Betty Spencer, 77, and
husband John, 71, after he had
prowled around their bedroom, and
plundered jewels and Mr Spencer’s
fishing equipment. The career
criminal was found snoring away on
the couple’s bedroom sofa after he
became “overcome with tiredness”.
Mrs Spencer, who had been in
the lounge watching television,
discovered the sleeping raider
and called for her husband and
neighbours. They poked the criminal
to wake him up — and held him
until police arrived.
Greymouth police say innocent
people had their names dragged
through the mud on social media
like Facebook and Twitter as
police were tracking down the
culprit responsible for torturing
A 22-year-old man appeared in
court on Tuesday charged with
cutting off a cat ’s paw, but not
before others had been named
and shamed — incorrectly —
“This is a new age of Chinese
whispers,” acting senior sergeant
Brent Cook said.
“Something is put on the
worldwide web and repeated
time and time again. Something
that started off as rumour ends
up with everyone reading it
thinking it is fact — and on
many occasions it’s not,” Mr
Too often people were too
quick to put names on Facebook,
and everyone who read it then
believed it was true.
“This is exactly what happened
in the cat torture case. One of
the people named was dragged
through the dirt and that person
was not involved with the
incident at all,” Mr Cook said.
Another example was the
Runanga home invasion last
weekend, in which a drug-
crazed skinhead burst in on a
family, who he did not know, and
terrorised them before fleeing.
In that case, the names of
suspects were bandied about on
Twitter and Facebook, and at
least two of those named were
“Innocent people are being
named because some of the
information on the site is clouded
and this is the main problem,”
Mr Cook said.
He said there was a public
expectation that when a suspect
was named on Facebook police
could arrest them straight away.
“ We cannot. We have to go
through the evidential process.”
He said Facebook users should
avoid “splattering” names of
suspected criminals on-line until
they know for a fact that that
person had been convicted of the
“I would urge people to think
before they push the button.”
media was now part of modern
New Zealand culture, and that
Facebook and Twitter, when used
responsibly, could be useful crime
fighting tools, but too often they
were also used to hinder or even
“ We have our own site, which
gives us a way to get news out
there smartly, as well as receiving
information quickly, which helps
us solve crimes.”
West Coast lawyer Eymard
Bradley was blunt: “Facebook is
a terrible thing”.
He advised his clients not
to go on Facebook at all, or at
least until their cases had been
through the judicial process.
The trouble was there were
no limits to what people could
post when using sites such as
Facebook, Viber and Twitter.
“ When people use Facebook
things get ugly — no one thinks
about the consequences,” Mr
“There’s defamatory stuff and in
a criminal’s situation a lot of the
time everything is out there on
the worldwide web before they
can even get any sort of fair trial.”
He was “ blown away ” by some
of the allegations he saw on
Facebook and how the site was
being used by some people.
“There needs to be protocols set
up. When things on Facebook
are ugly they get even uglier.
Social media sometimes gets
really nasty and people go for the
jugular. Some of it is hideous.”
Winter milking gaining ground
After a successful start last winter,
Westland Milk Products has decided to
continue to collect milk all winter, rather
than pause for the traditional winter lay-
Last year, a handful of West Coast
farmers took part with the aim of
supplying 2000 litres of milk with each
Operations manager Bernard May said
between six and 10 farms would take
part this year, depending on the weather.
Last year was a “good start ”, allowing
Westland Milk to test systems and
manage milk 365 days at its Hokitika
“ Most farmers from last winter are
milking again this winter. We are happy
for this to build slowly, allowing farmers
time to gain experience and learn from
each other before making a substantial
commitment,” Mr May said.
Enough milk would be brought in to
make it worthwhile for processing —
ideally 100,000 litres a day, but it would
take some time to reach that, he said.
In future years he expected more
farmers would milk all year as they
looked at ways to reduce nutrient losses
from their farms. Building feed pads or
feed barns was one way of achieving
“ Farmers with these facilities are more
likely to milk for longer lactations as
they can guarantee less wastage of
supplementary feeds such as silage and
All-year milking resulted in improved
efficiency, Mr May said.
For example, farmers could milk fewer
cows for the same or more milk output.
“They would have to carry fewer
‘empty’ cows, as they can be milked
through winter rather than being culled;
and lower numbers of replacement
heifers would have to be carried.”
Milking through winter also helped
lower the company ’s average fixed costs
and used the plant more efficiently by
reducing seasonal milking production
lows. Historically, plant could be under-
utilised during winter.
The new dairy season starts on July 22,
about a week earlier than usual.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
New Otira Hotel owner Lester Rowntree will not have any trouble with rats and mice as he shows off one of the relics — a giant trap — that he hopes to display
when he restores the old pub to its former glory.
Otira heading back in time
New Otira Hotel owner Lester
Rowntree says he feels right at home
since buying the pub in the former
mountain railway town.
“It ’s a bit like coming home again,” Mr
Rowntree, of Motueka, said of his move
to Otira, where his great uncles worked
as Cobb and Co stage coach drivers.
“There is no better place for me to be.
This has got everything that I want.”
At the start of the month Mr
Rowntree took over ownership of the
pub from Bill and Chris Hennah, who
still own the rest of the village.
The Hennahs, from Auckland, bought
Otira for about $70,000 in 1998, and
had been trying to sell the entire village
for up to $1 million.
Mr Rowntree has plans to restore the
hotel to its former glory and said he
hoped to “get it back to what it was”.
“There are not really any working
hotels that go back 100 years — the
history here is so profound.”
Part of his heritage plans include
building stables opposite the hotel, in
addition to running stage coach rides.
“I like working with Clydesdales, it ’s a
great passion of mine.”
He knew there was a lot of work
ahead of him to overhaul the rundown
building, but hoped to have some
developments by summer.
“It’s all do-able.”
He had yet to speak to the owners
of the Kumara Theatre Royal Hotel,
which was recently restored to gold
rush standards, but said he was keen to
co-operate with other tourism operators
in the area. “ We all need to be working
together to make it a rich experience for
tourists coming through.”
About 20 powerful 200-watt lights
have been suggested to line either side
of the Grey River as a way of focusing
attention on the quay area.
The idea is being explored by the
economic development group, which
involves about 100 people from the
public and Grey District Council.
Chairman, Mayor Tony Kokshoorn,
said the lights could start about Johnston
Street at the coal heritage park and
extend up the river to the Cobden Bridge,
and across to Cobden.
The group had estimated it would need
about 20 lights in three different colours.
“It would floodlight and light the river,
and put colour on it,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
The 200W LED lights would cost just
$2600 annually to run, when the council’s
50% electricity discount was factored in,
and the capital cost would be paid for by
Mr Kokshoorn said it may be possible
to hang the lights off existing poles along
Mawhera Q uay, or other alternatives to
Other ideas being investigated include
closing parts of the quay, and coming
up with a new traffic plan for the
town. A ‘discovery centre’ and museum
development on the quay would focus the
town on the river.
The development group has been
meeting for about 18 months.
Bright idea to light Grey River
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