Home' Greymouth Star : January 4th 2018 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 4, 2018
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uLetters to the editor
1936 - Billboard Magazine in the United
States prints the first popular-music chart.
1944 - Allied forces launch an attack east of
Cassino, Italy, in World War Two.
1951-North Korean and
communist Chinese forces take
1958-A team led by Sir Edmund
Hillary reaches the South Pole
using modifiedtractors; Sputnik I,
the world’s first artificial satellite,
launched in October 1957 by the
Soviet Union, falls to earth.
1965 - Death of T S Eliot, American-born
poet, playwright and Nobel Prize winner.
1967 - Donald Campbell, British car and
speedboat racer, is killed during an attempt to
break the world water-speed record.
2004 - A Hughes 500 369HS helicopter loses
radio contact while between the Routeburn
Track and Milford Sound. The wreckage and the
bodies of the two people aboard are not found
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Isaac Newton, English physicist (1643-1727);
Jacob Grimm, German author (1785-1863);
Louis Braille, French inventor of reading
system for the blind (1809-1852); Sir Isaac
Pitman, shorthand inventor (1813-
1897); “General Tom Thumb”
(Charles Sherwood Stratton),
US circus midget (1838-1883);
Floyd Patterson, US world boxing
champion (1935-2006); Dyan
Cannon, US actress (1937-); Alan
Sutherland, All Black (1944-); Susan
Devoy, New Zealand squash player (1964-);
Julia Ormond, British actress (1965-) .
“A guilty conscience needs to confess. A
work of art is a confession.” — Albert Camus,
Algerian-born French existentialist writer.
“ Every Sabbath Day Aaron shall set
them in order before the Lord regularly as
a commitment of the people of Israel, as a
covenant forever.” — (Leviticus 24:8).
Brigade prevented the
of the Westport Railway Station by fire in the
early hours of Saturday morning, however on
Sunday the building was again found in flames.
It was a hopeless task for the brigade which had
so well restrained the first outbreak, and the
major portion of the station was gutted.
The fires are being investigated by the
Greymouth Criminal Investigation Branch.
Arson is suspected.
Two Runanga men took the royal and sporting
honours in the New Years awards announced
on Monday. A civic leader Mr Cecil Roy Wylde
became a Member of the British Empire
(MBE) and sporting figure Mr David Closs
McKenzie won the L onsdale Cup for his 1967
Roy Wylde is Runanga born and bred. In 1954
he was elected mayor, a position he has held ever
since. In 1934 he took over a garage business
which became Wylde’s Motors, a business which
he still conducts.
Mr D C McKenzie’s fantastic marathon career
was crowned with his winning of the 1967
Lonsdale Cup which is awarded each year to
the athlete who has made the most outstanding
contribution to any of the sports on the calendar
of the British Empire (Commonwealth) Games.
Four rifles and a quantity of ammunition
were stolen from Donalsdon’s Sports Store in
Albert Street over the New Year weekend. The
theft was discovered when the store opened for
business this morning. A year ago the same store
was broken into and rifles, ammunition and a
telescope were stolen.
The CIB has the current theft under
uFood for thought
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orest and Bird West Coast
field co-ordinator John
Caygill reckons it ’s “a bit
of a scramble” checking the
traplines on the Rainy Creek
Project, “And on some lines
there’s a lot of scramble!” he says.
Rainy Creek’s beautiful forest draws keen
It is situated just east of Reefton. John
lives in Greymouth but drives up to Rainy
Creek every second weekend. Most of
the other six or seven volunteers who are
actively involved in checking traplines live
locally, but two keen regulars live 1Â1⁄2
hours away. Such is the ‘pulling power’ of
“It’s a really beautiful area,” John says.
“A lovely bit of bush on a nice day. It’s
very peaceful, with beautiful forest.”
Currently an area of around 450ha is
being trapped, with a 300-400m climb up
each trapline. Rainy Creek volunteers need
to be fit and bush savvy.
“There are around 30 traps in each line
and it takes three to five hours to check a
line,” John says. “Only one of the lines is
on a properly formed track. The others are
flagged with tape, so if you lose the line
you could get lost very easily. It’s physically
At 450ha, John reckons the area is a
marginal size for creating a haven and
making an impact.
“ We can’t eliminate predators but we’re
suppressing them,” he says.
“ We’re catching less now, although the
number of traps we have is increasing. In
the future we want to expand the trapping
into another part of the block. ”
Currently the Rainy Creek Project
has 98 DOC 200 traps along the main
ridges of the Rainy Creek catchment
area with 90 bait stations in between. The
bait stations are not, however, being used
“ We’ve now extended the trapping with
self-resetting traps,” John explains. “ We’ve
got 16 Good nature A12s for possums and
45 A24 traps.”
The self-resetting traps reduce the labour
requirements of the trapping regime —
an important consideration when many
volunteers are older, often retired people.
The DOC 200 traps are checked every
three weeks and even the Good nature
traps are checked every six weeks in
Reefton’s hot, humid and wet climate.
“ It ’s a very high rainfall area,” says John.
“ It gets very hot in summer — 26-28degC
— s o the lures get mouldy very quickly.
We fi nd we get most of our catches in
the first few weeks. We change the gas
every 18 weeks too, because the cylinders
can corrode around the thread in the
Rats and the occasional stoat are the
main predators trapped.
The group uses Erayz rabbit meat and
catches mainly rats and some stoats —
“quite a few stoats at some times of the
year,” says John.
The Rainy Creek Project is managed
by West Coast Forest and Bird members
and other local volunteers who took over
the restoration work from gold-mining
company, Oceania Gold.
“Oceana Gold had a big mine on the hill
and there was a condition in the mining
agreement that they carry out pest control
below the mine,” John explains. “ They had
an agreement with DOC for several years,
but the pest control ceased in 2008 and
the money went elsewhere. They pulled
out most of the equipment too. So West
Coast Forest and Bird took it on, got a
grant and set up trap lines.
“ It was a chance for Forest and Bird to
do something positive in our community.”
Others from Reefton were also keen to
be involved and the project has evolved
“ It ’s good bush in the foothills of the
Victoria Ranges, with red beech, hard
beech, kamahi, rimu and other podocarps
on the lower slopes and mountain beech,
southern rata, kamahi, rimu and areas
of manuka and pink pine (Halocarpus
biformis) on the higher slopes,” John says.
Intriguingly, the middle block of Rainy
Creek was the site of the last reported
South Island kokako sighting.
“ Two or three years ago, Gerald, the
previous field co-ordinator, saw a possible
kokako,” John says. “I was with him,
behind him, but didn’t see it. However,
some months later, on a nearby line, I
heard an unmistakeably kokako-like call.
It was very distinctive, different.”
Not everyone was convinced it was an
actual kokako however.
“An expert thought I’d heard a tui calling.
He reckoned tui had heard the kokako
calling in the past, learned the call and
passed it on to later generations of tui.”
John admits the expert ’s explanation has
“A couple of local volunteers who are
very knowledgeable were on a break and
thought they heard a kaka song. They
looked up at the bird and there was a tui
mimicking the kaka song beautifully.”
So could the South Island kokako be
making its last stand at Rainy Creek, near
Reefton? No one knows one way or the
other, but it is another good reason for
keeping on top of those rats, possums and
Story courtesy Predator Free NZ
Forest and Bird is creating a pest-free haven in forest near Reefton. Volunteers have been working
in the heat, in challenging terrain that is possibly also the territory of the ‘extinct ’ kokako.
South Island robin at Rainy Creek.
PICTURES: Predator Free NZ Trust
Jan McLellan checks a bait station. Only one trapline is on a formed track in the Rainy Creek area, near Reefton.
Rats and the occasional stoat are the main predators trapped.
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