Home' Greymouth Star : August 13th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, August 13, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1826 - Death of Rene Laennec, French
physician and inventor of the stethoscope.
1940 - Three United Australia Party ministers
and the Chief of General Staff die in an air
crash in Canberra.
1945 - World Zionist Congress demands
admission of one million Jews to Palestine.
1946 - Death of H G Wells,
1952 - The first recording of
Hound Dog, a smash hit for Elvis
Presley, is made.
1960 - First two-way telephone
conversation by satellite takes place
via Echo 1.
1961 - East Germany seals off border between
East and West Berlin, closing Brandenburg
Gate to halt people fleeing the country.
1964 - Last hangings in Britain take place
with two men executed for murder.
1987 - Treasure hunters report finding one of
Titanic’s legendary safes.
1989 - Thirteen people die when balloon
crashes at Alice Springs, central Australia.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Lucy Stone, US pioneering feminist (1818-
1893); Annie Oakley, US markswoman and
circus performer (1860-1926);
John Logie Baird, British inventor
of television (1888-1946); Alfred
Hitchcock, British film director
(1899-1980); Alan Sainsbury, British
supermarket pioneer (1902-1998);
Ben Hogan, US golfer (1912-1997);
Fidel Castro, Cuban leader (1926-
); Gretchen Corbett, US actress (1947-); Dan
Fogelberg, US singer (1951-2007); James
Morrison, English singer-songwriter and
guitarist (1984-) .
“ You should avoid making yourself too
clear even in your explanations. ” — Baltasar
Gracian, Spanish philosopher (1601-1658).
“ When they found Him, they said to Him,
“Everyone is searching for You.” He answered,
“L et us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that
I may proclaim the message there also; for that
is what I came out to do.” — (Mark 1:37-38).
The funeral of the
late James Lewis
Wicken in Reefton
yesterday was attended
by approximately 800 people. It was the largest
assemblage for a funeral in Reefton for some
Members of the Inangahua County Council
walked behind the hearse which carried
the body of the doctor who had ser ved the
community for 30 years. The cortege extended
to about a mile and a half with pupils of the
Reefton schools forming a guard of honour.
Greymouth’s railway station is a cold
forbidding place. As far as West Coasters are
concerned, it is Siberia. Westland District
Progress League official, Mr L F Anderson, felt
the word was apt when speaking at last night’s
meeting of the league.
Members were considering a suggestion
by Mr J B Bluett that when a new station is
erected it should be on a different site. Mr
Bluett said the NZR had property in Arney
Street and he understood that in the original
plan this would be the place for the new
“ We could ask them to put it with the back to
the Barber,” remarked Mr Bluett.
If he can find 25 interested people,
Greymouth’s Mr Colin Williams will form a
caged bird club on the Coast. Mr Williams is
a fanatical bird lover himself and has a large
well-stocked aviary of his own.
He says that one of the main reasons behind
the formation of such a club was to interest
West Coast bird owners in displaying their
“Such clubs,” he said, “allow for a competitive
spirit and many friends can be made with a
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
‘King Dick’ Seddon
I see from your paper of August 4 that
we have a new Seddon biography. It
pleases me to see that it might be out
before the election.
If it was, it would make it clear to the
people of the Coast that yes, we did have
a Member of Parliament who did know
where the Coast was.
Among my collection of very old books
Seddon, by James Drummond, including
many inputs from the great man himself.
Introduction by the Hon Sir Joseph G
Ward, KCMG, Prime Minister of New
Zealand. It was published in 1906.
The last telegram Mr Seddon dispatched
was sent to Mr Bent, Premier of Victoria.
It read, “Just leaving for God’s own
The several pages on his funeral I have
read many times. It never fails to make me
feel good. It highlights the reverence in
which he was held by all those whose lives
he had touched, all over the world.
Silence of the birds
An excellent letter from Douglas Carter
(Greymouth Star, August 8). I feel that the
obser vations of people who have lived and
worked in the bush from the early 1970s
should be recorded.
It is true that before 1080 poison, rat
populations fluctuated from year to year
depending on many factors, including
beech mast. Despite pest numbers being
high, the dawn chorus was something to
be mar velled at. Sadly, this is something
my children have never heard and are
unlikely to. Why? Because the reckless and
indiscriminate spreading of 1080 silenced
the birds in a few very short years. The rats,
of course, breed like rats so the balance
between predator and bird was skewed to
the point there was no comeback.
The younger generation having been
force-fed misinformation and catchy
slogans, such as ‘save the birds’ therefore
believe that poison is justified. If only they
knew why the forests are almost silent. It
is time for the older generation to speak
For the first time, I will be voting this
year based on just the one issue, 1080, as I
believe it is the greatest threat to the New
Zealand economy and the well-being of
It has been suggested to me that some
of my discussion about the funding of
the Grey Base Hospital rebuild may be
confusing for some people.
Let me simplify the position. The
proposed $74 million loan (including the
latest increase of $7 million) at an average
of 5% interest for 23 years will cost $85
On the other hand, if the Government
used the Reser ve Bank (which it is entitled
to do under the Public Finance Act) to
provide this at 0.15% (the administration
rate which is applied to the Government ’s
existing DHB loans), the total outlay in
interest would be $2.55m — a saving to
the DHB and the taxpayer of $82.45m.
Of course, in either case that leaves the
matter of the $74m debt hanging over the
Given that the DHB are always short
of money one can only presume, in
the absence of any comment from the
Government, that they intend the DHB
to be permanently stuck with this debt
— a nd the interest. Imagine what health
ser vices could be provided on the Coast
with an extra $82.45m over 23 years.
Now, for something equally interesting.
A 2012 report by the International
Monetary Fund analysed a proposal
by economists Henry Simons and
Irving Fisher, who stated, “Allowing the
Government to issue money directly at
zero interest (in New Zealand’s case,
through the Reser ve Bank), would lead
to a reduction in the interest burden on
government finances and to a dramatic
reduction of (net) government debt. ”
In other words, a win-win situation for
everyone — except the overseas-owned
commercial banks, which rake in the
So whose side are successive New
Zealand governments on — New
Zealanders or the international rip-off
merchants? Why won’t Bill English —
and a succession of past finance ministers
— adopt this method of funding? Why
do they force DHBs — and other
organisations undertaking public works
— to operate under this crippling finance
And again I ask, why have Tony Ryall
and Bill English evaded my questions on
this matter for two years? Do they want
DHBs like the West Coast ’s to become
bankrupt, whereupon they can blithely
claim that since DHBs have “failed” they
must be put up for sale to the highest
bidder as another step in successive
governments’ overriding privatisation
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
The importance of
In regards to my letter in the Greymouth
Star on August 6, re mail lost, I have for
six years been living in Fitzgerald Street,
have had mail gone astray and this still
happens today. A letter to my neighbour
had her mail put in my mailbox, so I was
the kind thoughtful person, neighbour,
who put it in the correct mailbox. To
others in the community mail is not
important, as nowadays it is all on the
internet or modern phones. I believe we
need to be good neighbours in society
today in good or bad times, misguided
letter and postie.
The public are told a new model of health
care is needed because of increasing costs.
There are many reasons behind the
increasing costs. Consequences of changes
to doctors working hours in the 1980s are
contributing factors. ‘Junior’ doctors used
to have to work long hours, sometimes
with stretches of continuous duty lasting
up to 80 hours. An allowance was paid for
hours worked above 40 hours per week. It
was cheap as the allowance decreased to
few cents per hour for longer shifts with
hours greater than 84 hours per week
being free of charge. Shorter hours meant
less experienced doctors, less continuity of
To keep the costs down, weekend
medical staffing level was dramatically
reduced. Specialists, general practitioners
and teachers qualified with much
less general clinical experience. Early
specialisation and reduced clinical training
for nursing graduates compounded the
effect. The combination of changes led to
a greater number of errors and diagnostic
delays, which led to increased health care
workload in hospital and in primary care.
A logical solution would have included
an improvement and an increase in
post-graduate training period for some
specialties as well as improving the support
However, over the past decade alternative
plans have been set in place. The new plans
increased the number of frontline staff
with a shorter duration of training. More
pay and responsibility for lesser training
was welcomed by many benefiting from
the changes. As expected, this led to even
more errors. As clinical leaders would have
been aware of the increasing error rate, the
new hospital plans would have needed co-
operation of many.
obin Williams, a brilliant
shapeshifter who could
channel his frenetic
energy into delightful
comic characters like Mrs
Doubtfire or harness it into
richly nuanced work such as his Oscar-
winning turn in Good Will Hunting, died
yesterday in an apparent suicide. He was
From his breakthrough in the late 1970s
as the alien in the hit tv comedy Mork and
Mindy, through to his standup comedy
act and such films as Good Morning,
Vietnam, Williams ranted and shouted as
if just sprung from solitary confinement.
Loud, fast and manic, he parodied
everyone from John Wayne to Keith
Richards, impersonating a Russian
immigrant as easily as a pack of Nazi
He was a riot in drag in Mrs Doubtfire,
and as a cartoon genie in Aladdin. He won
his Academy Award in a rare dramatic
role, as an empathetic therapist in the
1997 film Good Will Hunting.
During a 1989 chat with AP, he could
barely stay seated, or even mention the
film he was supposed to promote, as he
free-associated about comedy and the
“There’s an Ice Age coming,” he said.
“ But the good news is there’ ll be daiquiris
for everyone and the Ice Capades will
be everywhere. The lobster will keep for
at least 100 years, that ’s the good news.
The Swanson dinners will last a whole
millennium. The bad news is the house
will basically be in Arkansas. ”
Following Williams on stage, Billy
Crystal once obser ved, was like trying to
top the Civil War. In a 1993 inter view,
Williams recalled an appearance early in
his career on The Tonight Show Starring
Johnny Carson. Bob Hope was also there.
“It was interesting,” Williams said. “ He
was supposed to go on before me and I
was supposed to follow him, and I had to
go on before him because he was late. I
don’t think that made him happy. I don’t
think he was angry, but I don’t think he
“I had been on the road and I came out,
you know, gassed, and I killed and had a
great time. Hope comes out and Johnny
leans over and says, ‘Robin Williams, isn’t
he funny?’ Hope says, ‘Yeah, he’s wild. But
you know, Johnny, it’s great to be back here
In 1992, Carson chose Williams and
Bette Midler as his final guests.
Like so many funnymen, Williams had
ambitions to play serious roles. He played
for tears in Awakenings, Dead Poets
Society and What Dreams May Come,
which led New York Times critic Stephen
Holden to write that he dreaded seeing
the actor’s “Humpty Dumpty grin and
crinkly moist eyes”.
But other critics approved, and Williams
won three Golden Globes, for Good
Morning, Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire and
The Fisher King.
His other film credits included Woody
Allen’s Deconstructing Harry, Paul
Mazursky’s Moscow on the Hudson,
Robert Altman’s Popeye (a box office
bomb), and Steven Spielberg’s Hook. On
stage, Williams joined comedian Steve
Martin in a 1988 Broadway revival of
Waiting for Godot.
“Robin was a lightning storm of comic
genius and our laughter was the thunder
that sustained him. He was a pal and I
can’t believe he’s gone,” Spielberg said.
More recently, Williams appeared in
the Night at the Museum movies, playing
President Theodore Roosevelt in the
comedies in which Ben Stiller’s security
guard has to contend with wax figures
that come alive and wreak havoc after a
In April, Fox 2000 said it was developing
a sequel to Mrs Doubtfire and Williams
was in talks to join the production.
Williams also made a short-lived return
to tv last year in CBS’ The Crazy Ones, a
comedy about a father-daughter ad agency
team which was cancelled after one season.
“I dread the word ‘art ’,” Williams said
in 1989. “That’s what we used to do every
night before we’d go on with Waiting for
Godot. We’d go, ‘No art. Art dies tonight.’
We’d try to give it a life, instead of making
Godot so serious. It’s cosmic vaudeville
staged by the Marquis de Sade.”
His personal life was often short on
laughter. He had acknowledged drug and
alcohol problems in the 1970s and 80s and
was among the last to see John Belushi
before the Saturday Night Live star died
of a drug overdose in 1982.
Williams announced in 2006 he was
drinking again but rebounded well enough
to joke about it. “ I went to rehab in wine
country,” he said, “to keep my options
Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams
would remember himself as a shy kid who
got some early laughs from his mother
— by mimicking his grandmother. He
opened up more in high school when
he joined the drama club, and he was
accepted into the Juilliard Academy, where
he had several classes in which he and
Christopher Reeve were the only students
and John Houseman was the teacher.
Encouraged by Houseman to pursue
comedy, Williams identified with the
wildest and angriest of performers:
Jonathan Winters, Lenny Bruce, Richard
Pryor, George Carlin. Their acts were not
warm and lovable. They were just being
“ You look at the world and see how scary
it can be sometimes and still try to deal
with the fear,” he said in 1989.
“Comedy can deal with the fear and
still not paralyse you or tell you that it’s
going away. You say, okay, you got certain
choices here, you can laugh at them and
then once you’ve laughed at them and you
have expunged the demon, now you can
deal with them. That ’s what I do when I
do my act.”
Williams could handle a script, when
he felt like it, and also think on his feet.
During a media tour for Awakenings,
when director Penny Marshall mistakenly
described the film as being set in a
“menstrual hospital”, instead of “mental
hospital”, Williams joked, “It ’s a period
Winner of a Grammy in 2003 for best
spoken comedy album, Robin Williams —
Live 2002, he once likened his act to the
daily jogs he took across the Golden Gate
Bridge. There were times he would look
over the edge, one side of him
pulling back in fear, the other
insisting he could fly.
“ You have an internal critic,
an internal drive that says,
‘OK, you can do more.’ Maybe
that ’s what keeps you going,”
“ Maybe that ’s a demon.
Some people say, ‘It ’s a muse. ’
No, it’s not a muse! It’s a
demon! Do it you bastard!!
Hahahahahahaha!!! the little
Williams is sur vived by his
wife Susan Schneider, and
three children: daughter Zelda,
25; and sons Zachary, 31, and
Fans warmed to the man of
He played an alien, a
therapist, a teacher and even a
Scottish nanny but one thing
characterised Robin Williams’
varied roles: his warmth.
Nominated for a Best Actor
Academy Award three times,
he finally won an Oscar for
Best Supporting Actor for
his performance as therapist
Dr Sean Maguire in the 1997
movie Good Will Hunting.
A well-known stand-up comedian,
Williams’ screen career began on the long-
running situation-comedy Happy Days
where he was cast as the alien Mork.
Wowing cast and crew with his quirky
sense of humour -- he ad-libbed many of
his lines -- Mork soon got his own show
on the beloved Mork and Mindy, which
ran between 1978 and 1982 and at its peak
saw audiences of up to 60 million.
Williams continued to ply his trade on
the stand-up circuit, and began filming
specials for television featuring his act.
His first film, Can I Do It ‘Til I Need
Glasses? a sex comedy, was perhaps best
forgotten, but it was soon followed by a
succession of movies in which he usually
played comic roles tinged with sadness.
As well as his Academy nominations,
he went on to receive the Cecil DeMille
Golden Globe Award in 2005, and
another five Golden Globes, two Emmys,
five Comedy Awards and two Screen
Actors Guild Awards.
His first Oscar nomination came for
Good Morning Vietnam, in which he
played a loud-mouthed but lovable DJ,
a character his fans would perhaps go
on to most identify him with: irreverent,
energetic, outspoken, empathetic, crazy
Sadly, the truth behind the character was
rather more complex.
Ten of his best roles:
1 The World According to Garp (1982)
In his first major role, Williams played
Garp, the affable son of feminist icon
Jenny (Glenn Close) in an adaptation of
the popular John Irving novel. Showing
he could do sweet and serious as well as
funny, the film was well-received and he
caught the eye of casting directors and
2 Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Williams’ first big hit, he played Airman
Second Class Adrian Cronauer who finds
himself working as an Air Force DJ in
Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War,
and soon ends up on the wrong side of his
superiors thanks to his irreverent humour.
His hysterical, largely ad-libbed on-air
tirades won Williams public admiration
and affection, and his greeting of “good
mooooooorning Vietnam” became an
3 Dead Poets Society (1989)
With his role as inspirational English
teacher John Keating at an elite boarding
school in 1952, Williams showed his
true versatility, capturing the imagination
of his on-screen students and real-life
young people all over the world. Another
catchphrase was born when he instructed
his charges to call him “O Captain! My
Captain!” — a reference to the Walt
4 Hook (1991)
Perhaps the ultimate Peter Pan,
Williams shone in this Steven Spielberg
take on the classic play, playing a grown-
up “Peter Bann” whose relationship
with his wife and children have become
5 The Fisher King (1991)
Touching, sweet, poignant, Williams’
portrayal of Parry, a deluded homeless
man who saves a cynical depressed DJ,
played by Jeff Bridges, after both are
touched by the same tragedy, won critical
as well as popular acclaim.
6 Aladdin (1992)
Williams unwittingly began the trend of
serious, popular actors providing voice-
overs for animation, thrilling children and
adults with his rendition of the Genie in
Disney ’s Aladdin. He had voiced the role
as a favour to Disney in gratitude at the
success of Good Morning, Vietnam on
the condition that his name and image
not be used for marketing, promises
Disney reneged on.
7 Mrs Doubtfire (1993)
Perhaps his most beloved and most
popular role, Williams played Daniel
Hillard, a divorced father who inveigles
his way into spending more time with
his children by disguising himself as a
Scottish nanny, Euphegenia Doubtfire.
8 Good Will Hunting (1997)
In his Oscar-winning role, Williams
again showed off his serious side as Dr
Sean Maguire, a therapist who cares for
a genius troublemaker played by Matt
9 Night at the Museum (2006)
In this fantasy adventure film set in the
Museum of Natural History, Williams
steals the show as a statue of Theodore
Roosevelt, one of a number of exhibits
which come to life.
10 Happy Feet (2006)
In his return to animation, Williams
played penguins Lovelace and Ramon.
2013: L ee Daniels’ The Butler.
2011: Happy Feet Two.
2009: Night at the Museum: Battle of
2006: Night at the Museum, Happy Feet.
2001: AI Artificial Intelligence.
1999: Bicentennial Man.
1998: Patch Adams, What Dreams May
1997: Deconstructing Harry, Good Will
1996: The Birdcage, Jumanji.
1994: Being Human.
1993: Mrs Doubtfire.
1991: Hook, The Fisher King, Dead
1990: Awakenings, Cadillac Man.
1989: Dead Poets Society.
1988: The Adventures of Baron
1987: Good Morning, Vietnam.
1984: Moscow on the Hudson.
1982: The World According to Garp.
1978-1982: Mork and Mindy (tv series).
— New Zealand Herald
Fast, furious and funny
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