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WEST COAST FEATURE
Ngahere Catholic Church
Flashback 1989: Viaduct
proposed for Otira
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SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2014
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plans ready for
Plans for a new Greymouth
Hospital and Westport health
centre are really starting to move,
according to West Coast District
Health Board new chairman Peter
Ballantyne. He said at the board
meeting yesterday requests for
proposals for architects would go
out soon. Board members were also
told the request for private funding
for the Westport facility, which will
replace the old Buller Hospital,
would be put to the market. It will
receive no public funding.
The West Coast District Health
Board and St John have agreed
in principle on a daily run for
transfers between Greymouth
and Christchurch. The DHB says
negotiations are still continuing
with St John as part of a South
Island-wide joint DHB approach
for the provision and pricing of
non-acute patient transport ser vices.
no view on road
The Parliamentary Commissioner
for the Environment does not have
a view on the proposed Haast-
Hollyford road, her office says.
Dr Jan Wright regularly writes
about the West Coast, including in
recent reports about 1080 poison,
stewardship land and mining of
conser vation land. However, a
spokesman said this week
Dr Wright did not yet have a view
on the possibility of a southern road,
as she had not investigated it and
had not been asked to undertake an
Rain developing, widespread later
A 47-year-old man from Zagreb
in Croatia known only as Braco
(pronounced Bratzo) has whipped
up a storm of new age followers
across the globe. How does he do
it? With his eyes, apparently. As
reported by Gawker, his seemingly
unassuming optics have had an
extraordinary range of miracles
attributed to them, including
exploding a woman’s ovaries to heal
them. He achieves these through
mass ‘gazing sessions’ where loving
followers gaze at this mysterious
healer. — Metro
Health authorities say Tb Free
contractors did not breach consent
conditions after 1080 poison was
dropped from the sky near two women
out walking at Kokiri two weeks ago.
However, medical officer of health Dr
Cheryl Brunton said she is looking at
how similar incidents could be avoided
Reefton woman Gwen Gardner and
her sister were walking in the Maori
Gully Road area to look at a property for
sale, when a helicopter with a monsoon
bucket flew overhead. When they
returned to their car they found pellets
right next to it.
They returned home and immediately
showered, fearing they may have been
affected by poison dust.
Dr Brunton said that after investigating,
her staff did not believe Tb Free or its
contractors had breached the rules.
They believe Mrs Gardner did pass a
sign, but did not go past a closed gate.
One sign Mrs Gardner did see was for
an earlier poison operation.
Mrs Gardner believed she was on
a public road, but authorities have
maintained she had passed on to private
Dr Brunton said there was a lot of
private forestry land on the West Coast,
which local people regularly visited, and
had done for years.
“That ’s an issue,” she said.
They could see how Mrs Gardner
“made the mistake she did”.
Dr Brunton said she did not believe
there had been a risk to public health,
but the incident had raised issues about
aerial poison drops in forestry areas,
and how best to make sure people were
aware of the operation, and that they
were entering at their own risk.
The investigation was still ongoing,
and the full findings would be reported
firstly to Mrs Gardner.
Meanwhile, Dr Brunton said her
office had not yet received the consent
application for the upcoming Blackball
1080 drop. Blackball residents and Tb
Free are at loggerheads over how far
the drop should be kept from the town’s
Focus Trust West Coast chairwoman Trish Hird, left, and the strengthening families co-ordinator Jill Wilson were packing up offices in
Greymouth yesterday as the trust bows out after 26 years of operation. Mrs Wilson said she would continue in her role under the umbrella of
Presbyterian Support. Most other staff who worked for Focus Trust had also found alternative employment.
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Out of focus
Hollyford road trail goes cold
Debate over the legal status of
the route of the proposed Haast-
Hollyford road appears to have
reached an impasse.
Haast Hollyford Highway Ltd,
which wants to build a toll road
linking the West Coast more directly
with Milford Sound, insists the route
follows a legal paper road.
But Land Information Minister
Michael Woodhouse, in a letter
to the company last week, said he
considered the status of the land “has
never been clear’’ and the issue would
need to be settled by a court.
“A declaratory judgment would
provide certainty on the status of the
land and whether in fact the land is
a legal road vested in the Westland
District Council,’’ Mr Woodhouse
Asked to respond to the minister’s
Durham Havill said this week his
company was not interested in going
“The precedent such a requirement
would cause would result in councils
around the country being required
to obtain a court declaration on
unformed legal road before allowing
construction to begin,” Mr Havill
The cadastre is the system that
records the location and extent of
legal parcels of land, including roads.
maintains the road through the
rugged and remote area was ruled
legal in 1974, when it was vested
in the Westland County Council,
which Mr Havill formerly chaired,
and was removed “illegally’’ from the
cadastre about 1989.
It has challenged Land Information
New Zealand (Linz) to produce
evidence the road was removed
legally, something it says Linz has
failed to do.
Mr Havill considered letters written
by the chief sur veyor, O L Amor, in
1974, to be proof the road was legal.
Mr Amor had said the road “ would
be legal under section 110A of the
Public Works Act 1928’’.
Mr Havill said he believed it
remained up to Linz to prove Mr
Amor’s decision was wrong.
In his letter, Mr Woodhouse said
the recording of the road in the
cadastre “will not in itself make it a
Asked if the
unwillingness to go to court signified
a lack of confidence in its case, Mr
Havill said it was not a matter of
confidence but of common sense.
— Otago Daily Times
The race is on as three West Coast
towns prepare to celebrate their 150th
anniversary this year, with celebrations
to include re-enactments, goldpanning
and a beach treasure hunt.
Greymouth is first in the 150-
year stakes, after the steamer Nelson
crossed the Grey River bar on July 22,
1864, and pioneer storekeeper Reuben
Waite disembarked to set up a general
store on the riverbank. That site is
now Mawhera Q uay and occupied by
Seventy gold diggers also alighted
from the steamer the same day,
including the Watson brothers, who
struck it rich at what is now Watsons
Creek, at Karoro, making it one of the
richest gold discoveries on the West
However, rather than celebrate the
sesquicentennial in midwinter, the
Grey District Council decided to
move the celebration to the September
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said plans
were advanced for a ‘gold hunt ’ at
Watsons Creek, with stalls and period
costumes as people got to dig in the
sand for ‘gold ’ (discs), which could be
cashed in for a prize.
Although Greymouth is thought of
as a coal town, it was founded on gold;
the coalmines did not crank up until
1883, at Brunner.
Hokitika was founded three months
after Greymouth, on October 1, when
pioneer storekeepers John Hudson and
James Price set up their store on the
riverbank, at what is now the corner of
Revell Street and Gibson Q uay.
However, those celebrations were
also moved to coincide with the
first crossing of the Hokitika River
bar, again by the steamer Nelson, on
December 20, 1864, when government
agent Bill Revell laid out the first two
streets — Gibson Q uay and Revell
Hokitika Goldrush 150 chairwoman
Sonja Barker said the highlight
of the Hokitika commemorations
was a re-enactment of the Nelson
landing, following on from a similar
re-enactment for the town’s centennial
That will be followed by a luncheon
for invited guests, and a combined
churches picnic on the Sunday. Other
plans include a vintage plane ‘fly in’,
with a Fox Moth and de Havilland
Dominie, marking 80 years since the
start of the Westland air service.
Ross, which markets itself as a
gold town and is still surrounded by
goldmines, will also get a slice of the
action with 150th anniversary plans for
Ross Community Society chairman
Charlie McBeath said that would
mark the discovery of gold in the
Totara River that sparked off one of
the biggest goldrushes on the Coast.
The town was founded the following
year, which means the good times can
continue into 2015.
Celebrations include the Westland
Gold Pan Championships, to be held
on November 1 on the recreation
ground. Other plans include an old
goldminers’ trail walk, and a picnic with
a ‘bring your own’ sparkler fireworks
gathering in the evening.
Mr McBeath said he hoped the
goldpanning would be a test run for
the New Zealand championships,
which could also be held in Ross
the following year, rather than the
traditional venue of Arrowtown.
In 2010, the West Coast celebrated
the 150th year of its foundation,
following the signing of the Deed of
Purchase with Poutini Ngai Tahu on
May 21, 1860.
Westport was actually settled first —
about 80 people lived there at the end
of 1861, in a township known as Buller.
The name Westport was proposed in
1863. However, no 150th celebrations
were held or planned there.
West Coast towns queue for 150th celebrations
No risk to public health from
Kokiri 1080 drop — health report
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