Home' Greymouth Star : July 30th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1715 - Eleven ships sink and nearly 1000
passengers and crew drown when a convoy of
12 Spanish ships filled with gold and silver is
struck by a hurricane off the coast of Florida.
1898 - Death of Otto von Bismarck, founder
and first chancellor of the German Empire.
1928 - Colour motion pictures are exhibited
by George Eastman.
1935 - First Penguin book is
published, starting the paperback
1942 - Various Australian cities
come under aerial attack from the
1947 - Nor wegian Thor
Heyerdahl’s raft Kon Tiki reaches
Tuamoto Islands in French Polynesia after
sailing from Peru to test theory that Polynesia
was settled by South American Indians.
1949 - British warship HMS Amethyst
escapes down the Yangtze River, having been
refused a safe passage by Chinese Communists
after a three-month stand-off.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Emily Bronte, British author (1818-1848);
Henry Ford, US auto pioneer (1863-1947);
Henry Moore, British sculptor (1898-1986);
Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, US actor (1933-);
Buddy Guy, US blues musician (1936-); Peter
Bogdanovich, US film director
(1939-); Paul Anka, Canadian-born
singer-composer (1941-); Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Austrian actor and
former California governor (1947-);
Delta Burke, US actress (1956-);
Kate Bush, British singer (1958-
); Laurence Fishburne, US actor
(1961-); Lisa Kudrow, US actress (1963-);
Vivica A Fox, US actress (1964-);Christine
Taylor, US actress (1971-); Hilary Swank, US
“ Incompetents invariably make trouble
for people other than themselves.” — Larry
McMurtry, US writer (1936-).
“ Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and
come out of him!” And the unclean spirit,
convulsing him and crying with a loud voice,
came out of him.” — (Mark 1:25-26).
In 1927 young
Luigi Vieceli left
his northern Italy
birthplace of Fonzaso
— a tiny town of 4000 souls. He said he would
return. Two months ago, as a tourist, he did.
Today, happily ensconced behind the bar of
his Gilmer Hotel, he is glad to be back in
Greymouth. Round the world in three months
has convinced Luigi Vieceli that “New Zealand
is the best little spot in the world”.
Thirty-seven years ago he emigrated from
his native Italy to Greymouth. As a youngster
he took to coalmining and spent 25 years of
his life on Coast fields. Then he took over a
Greymouth fish and chip shop for six years.
For 18 months prior to his recent world trip
he, with his son, has been mine host at the
Mr Vieceli, though glad he made the trip,
will not go back. New Zealand in general and
Greymouth in particular will be good enough
The West Coast Rugby Union hopes its
representative team will repeat history and
seize the Seddon Shield from Golden Bay-
Motueka on Saturday of next week. Rugby
union vice-president Mr Ben Watkin was last
night appointed to manage the Coast team on
its trip north, repeating a venture of eight years
ago when Coast robbed the bays of the shield,
6-3, at its first defence in years.
Today Mr Watkin was engaged in
the preparation of extra new seating at
Greymouth’s Rugby Park. With no other
‘ home’ representative matches on the calendar
for the year, the seats will be required only if
West Coast wins the shield. And the union is
taking no chances in being caught unprepared.
uFood for thought
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Nguyen Phuong Linh
Dang Van Hoanh sits
on the deck of a creaky
ferry, nursing a broken
leg wrapped in grubby
bandages and splinted
Staring out to sea, he recounts how an
unidentified vessel rammed and sank his
boat one night in May in South China
Sea waters claimed by both Vietnam and
China. One of his six crew was killed and
another is still missing.
“I planned to marry after that fishing
trip but we lost everything,” Hoanh, 27,
told Reuters as the ferry headed to Ly
Son island off central Vietnam where he
and many other fishermen live. “Now, I’m
broke and in debt.”
Hoanh believes he got caught in the
crossfire of a dispute between Hanoi and
Beijing over China’s recent deployment
of a $1 billion oil rig near the disputed
Paracel islands off Vietnam.
China moved the rig back toward
its coast in mid-July, but for 10 weeks
scores of coastguard and fishing vessels
from both sides squared off around the
platform in a daily routine in which the
Vietnamese boats appeared to be no
match for the larger Chinese vessels.
Reuters reporters joined two
Vietnamese coastguard patrols near the
rig in May and July. On both occasions,
faster and better equipped Chinese ships
chased them off.
Hoanh has no proof because it was
dark, but he believes a bigger Chinese
boat rammed his small wooden craft on
May 25. At the time, Ly Son authorities
said they also suspected it was Chinese.
China did not comment on the incident
but it had frequently accused Vietnamese
boats of being aggressive around the rig
and blamed them for any collisions.
Hoanh said he had wanted no part
in the drama and had sought to fish
elsewhere, unlike some of his fellow
fishermen who took part in the cat-
and-mouse jostling around the drilling
“Since the rig was put there, we moved
further north to avoid the Chinese. But
they still rammed us and sank us,” he
said, adding Vietnamese fishermen were
not safe anywhere.
Another Vietnamese fishing boat was
sunk in an incident on May 26 near the
rig. Its 10 crew were rescued.
About 3000 fishermen live on Ly Son,
28km off Vietnam’s coast and which for
centuries has been a base for fishermen to
venture into the South China Sea.
China claims 90% of the strategic
waterway. Vietnam, the Philippines,
Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim
parts of the ocean, which is potentially
rich in oil and gas but also home to vital
fishing grounds for the region.
Tensions with China in disputed waters
had already been costly to Vietnam’s
fishermen, but worsened after the oil rig
was deployed on May 2.
Fourteen of Ly Son’s 426 boats were
badly damaged in collisions with Chinese
vessels while the platform was off
Vietnam, said Pham Thi Huong of the
local Ly Son government. The damage
bill was $280,000, she said.
That compared with 17 incidents across
the South China Sea involving Chinese
ships in 2013, Huong added.
Bui Van Minh, 33, said he had been
harassed by Chinese vessels some 20
times this year, including getting blasted
with water cannon from a Chinese
coastguard ship near the rig last
“ We were angry, but we couldn’t do
anything,” Minh said.
Fishermen complained they were
spending more on fuel to avoid risky
waters while others said they had struck
deals to sell their catch to buyers at lower
prices in return for loans to repair their
Some help might be on the way after
the government in Hanoi approved a
16 trillion dong ($750 million) support
package, to take effect next month.
Of that, 11.5 trillion dong will be used
to buy 32 coastguard and surveillance
Fishermen seeking new boats can apply
for low-interest loans and the State
will cover insurance costs for all vessels
and crew under the package. But with
an estimated 800,000 fishermen and
128,000 fishing boats in Vietnam, the
money might not go far.
Indeed, Vietnamese officials said they
could not match the financial support
Chinese authorities were giving their
“This policy is not a magic wand ...
We can’t compare with investment in
China’s fishermen,” said Le Ngoc Phuoc,
vice chairman of the Vietnam Fisheries
Association, which represents all of the
“Their strategy is to occupy wherever
they go, that ’s why they focus strongly
on building huge boats with modern
equipment.” — Reuters
Fishermen running scared
Vietnamese fisherman Dang Van Hoanh stands, with his injured leg, onboard a ferry boat returning home from hospital.
A Tauranga family heading to France
this year to pay tribute to a fallen ancestor
who fought and died in World War
One has become the subject of French
Jake Webster (Tiaki Wepiha) was one
of 15 Maori from Waitoa who left New
Zealand to help the French in World War
He never came home.
Next month his family will make the
first collective pilgrimage to France, where
he is buried, to pay their respects.
On Friday, members of the wider
Webster family gathered in Welcome Bay
to formally welcome the documentary
crew who were following their journey.
The documentary crew flew to New
Zealand after learning of the family’s story
through the New Zealand Commission
in France, which was dealing with the
family’s upcoming wedding next month.
Family member Awanui Black said the
documentary makers jumped on the story
because they were working on a project
about fallen foreign soldiers buried in
“And in France there’s very little known
about the contribution of New Zealand
and nothing about Maori.
“They found the story really intriguing. ”
Mr Black said the documentary focused
on a Canadian man, a man from the
United States and his ancestor Jack
Mr Black said the contribution of Maori
from the Western Bay in World War One
“It was an opportunity to see the world.
“They were also encouraged in many
respects to go to show their solidarity
with New Zealand and with the British
Empire in the hope that Maori would
be considered equal in this country. It
was actually referred to as the ‘price of
“So there are all these emotions
happening on Friday,” Mr Black said.
“ We also had the last of our elders, in
their 80s and 90s, who remember those
people, so it was very tangible for them.”
The documentary crew arrived last week.
Gus Webster, who is the eldest living
male descendant in the Webster family,
said his cousin was getting married next
month in the Czech Republic
and an entourage of whanau
were heading over for the
As part of the trip, the family
would make the journey to
Calais in France where their
great-grand-uncle was buried.
Jack Webster never had any
children, but descendants from
his parents would span to about
250 people in the Western Bay.
By the numbers
The total population of New
Zealand in 1914 was just over
More than 120,000 New
Zealanders enlisted, and about
103,000 ser ved overseas.
More than 2200 Maori
and about 460 Pacific Islanders
ser ved overseas with the New
550 nurses ser ved with the
New Zealand Expeditionary
Force, and many others enlisted in the
About 18,500 New Zealanders died
in or because of the war, and about 41,000
More than 2700 died at Gallipoli and
almost 12,500 on the Western Front.
The names of those who died
are recorded on about 500 civic war
memorials throughout New Zealand.
— APNZ-Bay of Plenty Times
PICTURE: Bay of Plenty Times
Tauranga man Gus Webster is inter viewed by French documentary director Marion Fiat.
French tv focuses on Maori soldier’s family
A third of the permanent snow and ice on
the Southern Alps has vanished in less than
four decades, according to an analysis of
In an article published on Australian
website The Conversation, three New
Zealand researchers describe the story of
the alps’ disappearing ice as very dramatic.
The analysis, by climate scientist
Dr Jim Salinger, Otago University
Professor Emeritus Blair Fitzharris and
glaciologist Dr Trevor Chinn, follows
on from a paper published by Dr Chinn
last year documenting the retreat of our
Partly using aerial sur veys by the National
Institute of Water and Atmospheric
Research, the three authors have calculated
the alps’ ice volume has shrunk by 18.4
cubic kilometres or 34%
— and those ice losses have been
accelerating rapidly in the past 15 years.
When compared with rapid glacier
retreats in many parts of the world, the loss
raised serious questions about future sea
level rise and coastal climate impacts, they
In 1977, Dr Chinn began taking aerial
photographs to measure the annual end-
of-summer snowline for 50 index glaciers
throughout the Southern Alps, which are
still taken by Niwa.
He and his colleagues have now used
Niwa results to calculate the annual glacier
mass balance, and to quantify the volume
changes of small to medium glaciers in the
These glaciers responded quickly to
annual variability of weather and climate,
and were in balance with the current
But this was not so for the 12 largest
glaciers, among them the Tasman and
Godley, which had a thick layer of
insulating rocks on top of the ice lower
down the glaciers’ trunk.
“Their response to new snow at the top
is subdued, and may take many decades to
respond,” the authors wrote. “Up until the
1970s, their surfaces lowered like sinking
lids maintaining their original areas.
Thereafter, glacial lakes have formed and
they have undergone rapid retreat and ice
To make the calculations, they used the
snowline sur vey data along with earlier
topographic maps and a GPS sur vey of the
ice levels of the largest glaciers to calculate
total ice-volume changes for the Southern
Alps up until this year.
Over that time, they said, the ice
volume had fallen by 34%, or from 54.5
cubic kilometres to 36.1cu km in water
Of that reduction, 40% was from the 12
largest glaciers, and 60% was from the small
to medium-sized glaciers.
Veteran mountain guide Shaun Norman
described their calculations as astonishing
An injury in 2000 had kept him off the
high alps since then, but even before, the
changes had been visible, he said. “One
could see that less snow dumps in quite a
few years meant pieces of rock which you
knew were always covered suddenly were
staying clear for 12 months of the year, and
The World Glacier Monitoring Ser vice
estimated the 1890s extent of ice volume
in the Southern Alps was 170 cubic
kilometres, compared with 36.1 cubic
kilometres now — a change the authors
said was evidence of the local effects of
Based on regional warming projections of
1.5degC to 2.5degC, it has been projected
by glaciologists Valentina Radic and Regine
Hock that just 7 to 12 cubic kilometres of
ice would remain on the alps by the end of
Research suggests that ancient New
Zealand glaciers were out of tune with their
Northern Hemisphere counterparts when
they grew and subsided thousands of years
The study, published this week in the US
journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences), goes against an
alternative view that our glaciers followed
the same patterns as those in the opposite
hemisphere between 30,000 and 20,000
years ago, when ice sheets were at their
most recent maximum extension.
The study, led by Professor Henrik
Rother of the University of Greifswald in
Germany, analysed a record of glacier debris
in the Southern Alps’ Rangitata Valley from
between 28,000 and 16,000 years ago.
According to the study, the records of
glacier movement preserved in “exceptional
detail” showed New Zealand glaciers
peaked earlier and retreated more slowly
than Northern Hemisphere glaciers, and
were only partially influenced by northern
— New Zealand Herald
Southern Alps permanent snow and ice vanishing
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