Issue #12

1 September 2020

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

It’s whitebaiting season!

And there is no better place in the whole of the country than the Coast for netting your share of this iconic kiwi fare.

But if patient sojourns on river banks are not your thing, then check out the four-wheel drive action on offer in Reefton – it is second to none.

We have had a visit this past week from our Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy and her husband Sir David. We catch up with them as they tour the Coast.

And we let you see the new DOC walk in Hokitika Gorge through the eyes of a visitor.

Have a listen here as I outline all this and a whole lot more besides – including our delightful Coast Characters, Dave and Andrew Lyes, craftsman wood turner Jimmy Gordon and we pay a tribute to Westland District Deputy Mayor and retiring Greymouth lawyer, David Carruthers.

The Coaster’s Club is of course the vehicle by which we can all stay connected so I would encourage you to join up. I know we can’t always agree on all things, but we can agree that we all want the best for the Coast and the people whose lives and history are intrinsically tied to this wonderful place.

Here’s how you can be part of the Coaster’s Club:

  • Follow us on Facebook: The Coaster’s Club
  • Follow us on Twitter: The_Coasters_Club
  • Subscribe to our You Tube channel and see dozens of videos that don’t get published anywhere else.
  • Go to our website and purchase a Coaster’s Pass for a real good deal on a Coast experience –
  • Receive our newsletter, The Coaster’s Weekly like 33,500 others do and keep connected! Go to and enter your email address in the panel on the home page. It’s as easy as that.

Thanks again for your on-going support. If you have story you think should be told in Coaster’s Weekly, or you know of a couple of characters we really ought to talk to, please let us know.

Bruce Smith

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

Coast Events

Reefton: four-wheel-drive heaven

With Bruce Smith

When it comes to staging events, the Coast is blessed with some unique environments, tailor-made for a whole raft of activities.

Take Reefton for example. The quantity and quality of four-wheel drive tracks in and around the area is the envy of many other towns across the country.

We should not be bashful in singing the praises of the facilities we have on the Coast. Our clubs and organisations need to be encouraged to canvass their counterparts across New Zealand to invite them to take advantage of what we have to offer on the Coast. It would be great to see some national and regional events staged here.

Reefton has a huge advantage when it comes to four-wheel drive tracks. Seems like a no-brainer to me to pick up the phone and invite the South Island four-wheel drive enthusiasts home to take up the challenge of some of these exciting tracks.

Let me take you on a video tour and show you what I mean!

Matt and I take Lando, my V8 Land Rover Discovery, to the West Coast. With Callum in his V6 Suzuki Samurai/SJ413 and Shane and Flynn in their Suzuki Grand Vitara, things get a little crazy!

Just cruising the back country outside Reefton.

Taking on the Chasm Track at Reefton.


Here we go on Napoleon Hill.


Let’s take a ‘quick trip’ to the Montgomery Hut.


Have you ever been to the historic settlement of Big River? It’s a fantastic ride – approximately two hours in and two hours back out the next day.

Coast Events

Visit of the Governor General

The Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy and her husband, Sir David, visited the Coast last week.

And as visits go, they don’t get much bigger than this. We were honoured that Dame Patsy spent three whole days with us, heard our stories and experienced first-hand the magic that is our West Coast.

In the highlights video story on the next page, we follow the Governor General as she meets and greets Coasters from all over the Coast.


Visit of the Governor General

Coast Events

Governor General – day one in Westland

The welcome at the Arahura Marae.


The West Coast Tree Top Walkway and Café



The Hokitika Gorge


And an evening meal with brilliant company


A round up of the Westland Welcome

More of today’s activities in Hokitika

Posted by Governor-General of New Zealand on Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Coast Events

Governor General – day two in Greymouth

A visit to Westland Work Gear and a welcome from Mayor Tania Gibson.


Then it’s into the building to see a growing Coast business.



The visit to Pike River was very moving all round.


The roundup of the Greymouth section of the visit.

Day 2 of the West Coast visit

Posted by Governor-General of New Zealand on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Coast Events

Governor General – day three in Westport

First the welcome.


Then a visit to the Westport News office.



A visit to our Coast technology star EPIC.


And the final wrap up of a brilliant Coast visit from their Excellencies.

The final video from Dame Patsy’s West Coast visit with a roundup of what happened in Westport.Thank you to everyone who showed us what’s good about the Coast. Marvellous scenery, exciting business opportunities and friendly people. We had a great time and can’t wait to return

Posted by Governor-General of New Zealand on Thursday, August 27, 2020

Williams Hotels Group Update

Ashley Hotel in Greymouth

This week we chat to Mark Williams from the Williams Hotel Group about the Ashley Hotel in Greymouth.

Stay at Hokitika’s Beachfront Hotel

Coasters, this week we are offering you a chance to stay at the stunning Beachfront Hotel in Hokitika. Gorgeous sunsets, wild ocean, superb hospitality.

Let’s have a look at what’s on offer.


And the Ocean View restaurant is a dining pleasure Coasters.


To avail yourself of this week’s Coaster’s Pass, call the Beachfront Hotel Direct and ask for the special Coaster’s Pass deal. You will be glad you picked up the phone. 03 755 8344 or go online to

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

From humble beginnings

Aratuna Freighters was started from humble beginnings by the Havill family in 1985.

The initial fleet consisted of only one truck & trailer, but it has developed today into a company that runs a diverse mix of general and rural freight, fuel distribution and a Fastway couriers franchise.

Today Monique and Andrew Havill manage this multi-million dollar, Greymouth-based business.

In 1989, the company received distribution rights for BP and a tanker truck and trailer unit was put on the road. Double shifting, the truck covered the work previously done by tankers out of Nelson. The petroleum distribution work has now grown to include three truck and trailers units and eight tanker drivers based in Greymouth. The fuel is marketed, delivered and sold by Aratuna Fuels.

In 1992, the Refrigeration side of the operation started with the acquisition of Polar Express (one truck and trailer) and Trans Alpine Refrigeration Ltd (one line haul unit). This side of the business was expanded further in 2001 with the purchase of Williams Transport.

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

Mainfreight Connection

Since July 2003, Aratuna Freighters has opened a second ‘rural’ yard based in Hokitika.

Their team of skilled drivers run three stock units, six bulk units and a curtain side bulk truck.

The Hokitika office is run by Rural Manager Bill Millar alongside rural assistant and sales rep, Ngawai Tahi.

Another major milestone in the growth of the company was the securing of the Mainfreight, Dailyfreight and Owens Franchise for the entire West Coast area. This service started with one truck and now has four units painted in Mainfreight colours, crossing the mountains every day to Christchurch and South Westland. Their yard manager, Jamie McGeady, runs the day-to-day logistics team.

Here Monique Havill talks about how important Mainfreight is to the Coast economy.


For a quote on freight, fuel or other services provided by Aratuna Freighters, you can call the company’s toll free number 0800 756 666. If you have a rural enquiry, please call the Hokitika team on 03 756 8012.

Coast Attractions

The gorgeous Hokitika Gorge

A short walk we Coasters are very proud of is the new Hokitika Gorge walking track.

Our congratulations to DOC Hokitika for such a stunning piece of work.

It doesn’t get much better than this: a spectacular new swing bridge crossing a glacial blue river, native birdsong and views of the Southern Alps. This is New Zealand’s latest walk and it is now open.

Come with us as we explore this new Hokitika Gorge walk.



Coast Attractions

Continuing through the Gorge



Coast Characters

Dave Lyes – a Coaster

This week we meet two brothers from a pioneer, Coast family with a strong military and public service background.

First up it is Dave who for the last 21 years has been an independent specialist in bomb disposal and mine clearance in every hot spot in the World.

Coast Characters

Andy Lyes and Sonya Mathews – Coasters

We get the chance to chat with Coasters Andy Lyes (Dave’s brother) and Sonya Mathews about their life and the decision they made to became the owners of Hokitika’s iconic takeaway shop, Porkies Takeaways.

of words, pictures and the arts

Carved in Wood – Jimmy Gordon

We catch up with Jimmy Gordon, a Coaster and brilliant wood carver.

Jim Gordon a Coaster

Meet Jim Gordon a Coaster as he shares some of his life story with us.This is part one of an eight part series.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Wednesday, January 30, 2019

of words, pictures and the arts

Delivering the Thursday Poem

with Mark Raffills

Shake your fist at beauty

We were hanging out in the thin winter sun at the Nelson Market the other week, Chapman and I. Reflecting on our not-so-youthful years, he made the comment that is the title of this week’s poem. Happy birthday Chapman. Dr Jeff Obadiah Simmonds put the video together. The opening image is a painting by Bob Dylan.

The Thursday Poem27 August 2020SHAKE YOUR FIST AT BEAUTYWe were hanging out in the thin winter sun at the Nelson Market the other week, Chapman and I. Reflecting on our not-so-youthful years, he made the comment that is the title of this week’s poem. Happy birthday Chapman. Dr Jeff Obadiah Simmonds put the video together. The opening image is a painting by Bob Dylan. Words below.Shake Your Fist At Beauty‘Shake your fist at beauty,’he said, from the shadowof his aging years, from the mist of those forgotten dreamswhere young women, dressed in their winter clothes, strolled past theplaces where once he had been.‘Shake your fist at beauty,’he said, from the weakeningof his arms, from the perspiration of the gymnasium, where young men and their six-packs and their biceps, tannedin the noon day sun, paraded past his once taunt body.‘Shake your fist at beauty,’he said, from the poundingof his lungs, from the sadnessdeep in his eyes, as they searched in vain for the mountain top where oncehe stood so easy, stoodabove the green bushand the river raging wild.‘Shake your fist at beauty,’he said, breathless at thesight of ten million starspinned just above his head,drawing from his lipsa whisper of worship,from his heart a longing to know the mysterythat is never fully known.Then beauty lifted him,in that moment that could not be defined, and he opened his hand, unclenched his fistand the scales fell from his beautiful eyes; beauty it wasthat had carried him andbeauty it is that has gifted him,all his aging years.Mark Raffills

Posted by Mark Raffills on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Chat around the Fire

Paying Tribute to David Carruthers

Greymouth lawyer David Carruthers is retiring after 47 years of dedicated service to the people of the Coast.

Today in our Chat Around The Fire his partners pay tribute to his contribution to law on the Coast.

David becomes a further part of the Guinness Street-history where a number of top judges and lawyers have started their careers. He is the current Westland District Council Deputy Mayor.

Paying Tribute to David Carruthers

What’s happening on the Coast

Join Gaylene Donaldson for an evening of story-telling and stunning images from Botswana
Saturday 5 September, 2.00pm, Saturday 5 September, 6.30pm, The Regent Theatre, Greymouth
Tickets $10. Door sales or book at the Regent.

WAI presents From Scratch
Wednesday 9 September 2020
Click here for all information and registrations.

Greymouth Motorcycle Street Race
Sunday 25 October 2020
Click here for all information and registrations.

Agfest 2020
Friday 13 November 2020
Click here for all information and registrations.

Ride the Wilderness
Saturday 14 November 2020
Click here for all information and registrations.

Buller Marathon, Half Marathon and Walk
Saturday 13 February 2021
Click here for all information and registrations.

Hokitika Wild Foods Festival
Saturday 13 March 2021
Click here for all information and tickets


For inclusion on these pages please submit your information here:

What’s happening on the Coast