Issue #13

8 September 2020

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

Here we go with issue #13 of The Coaster’s Weekly and a good read it promises to be too.

This week, our Chat Around the Fire is all about building relationships. We look back on visits made to the Coast by Judith Collins and we check out again the launch of her new book, Pull no Punches.

We also feature Agfest 2020 which will be staged in November and promises to be one of the Coast’s biggest events of the year. Steve and Robyn from Barrytown Knives give us the hard edge on knife making while we catch up again with Aratuna Freighters and the good people of the Williams Hotels Group.

Have a listen here as I outline all this and give a personal view on the current Covid 19 situation as it affects the Coast and the South Island in general.

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
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  • 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 a 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

Farmlands AGFEST 2020

Greymouth 13-14 November

Agfest is shaping up to be the biggest event on the Coast’s calendar this year.

With the cancellation of the Canterbury A&P Show, Agfest has moved into the dates left vacant by the A&P show. Agfest organiser Andy Thompson says they will be pulling out all stops to attract Cantabrians  over the Pass to join with coasters in this showcase of the land.

Have a listen here to this TV news report and catch the latest on this major agricultural show.

Farmlands Agfest was just featured on One News. Don’t miss out register your site now!

Posted by Agfest West Coast on Thursday, June 11, 2020


Catch up on a little bit of history as we look back at the 2018 event which took place on the Greymouth airfield.


Greymouth is hosting the annual West Coast Farmlands AgFest again this year.

Farmlands AGFEST 2020

Coast Events

Getting to AGFEST 2020 by rail

Ag Fest and Kiwirail, and its award winning Tranz Alpine train journey, has a message to all Cantabrians and Coasters living on the other side of the hill!

We are delighted here at Farmlands Agfest that the TranzAlpine Train will be running from Christchurch to the West Coast for Agfest!

So if you want to experience one of the world’s great train journeys, book your seats and come on over to this amazing Coast event taking place on the weekend of November 13 and 14.


Of course, once you get to Agfest, you will need somewhere to stay.

Listen as Williams Hotels Group’s Mark Williams talks about the Ashley Hotel in Greymouth and the special deal for Coasters for AGFEST 2020.



Exhibitors are signing up already for Farmlands Agest 2020 and Hayden Hahn from Coastwide Forage Solutions is just one of them. He is currently flat out making the most of the great weather but takes a minute to explain to Andy Thompson what his company will be showcasing at Agfest this year.

Hayden Hahn from Coastwide Forage Solutions is currently flat out making the most of the great weather, check them out at Farmlands Agfest 2020

Posted by Agfest West Coast on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Coast Business

Crafted on the Coast. Made for NZ

The IPL Plywood Factory – another Coast success story

The range of businesses that operate on the Coast is nothing short of amazing.

In this business profile we visit the IPL Plywood Factory just south of Greymouth and show Coasters what the IPL family produce day after day to supply the New Zealand Market. The company employs around 100 Coasters and is proud of the part it plays in supporting the Coast’s economy.

In this video clip, the company’s sustainability philosophy is outlined, we learn a little of IPL’s history on the Coast and we follow the process from log to finished product. We think you will be impressed with the whole operation.

Crafted on the Coast. Made for NZ

West Coast Fishing – An industry of opportunity

Westfleet – born out of a passion for fishing

In 1979, a group of some 25 hard working, forward thinking fishermen joined efforts and resources and started the Westfleet Fishermans Cooperative Limited; their first move was to buy out, what was at the time, Nelson Fisheries. With an aim of securing a say in their own fishing future and faced with the ever-expanding growth of large factories around New Zealand, the fishermen got to work, putting their vessels and their livelihoods out to sea on the West Coast. With ownership of quota, wharf facilities, processing capacity and a distribution chain, Westfleet supplied demanding markets with West Coast fish for 26 years.

Westfleet today

Purchased in 2006 by Craig Boote (Endurance Fishing) in partnership with Sealords, Westfleet took on a new direction based on the same foundations that served it well since inception. Continued growth and investment in vessels, facilities and people, have enabled Westfleet to pursue a path to a sustainable future.

With a leading management approach, excellent facilities and a vertically integrated business structure, Westfleet continues to lead in innovation and forward thinking.

“Having the best maintained inshore fleet, with on board quality control and best practice fish handling, an efficient wharf facility and the new factory just ‘a forklift away’ Westfleet is leading the way in Australasia when it comes to vertical integration,” says Craig Boote, Managing Director & CEO.

The Westfleet Advantage

If you were going to build a 3,500m2  factory to supply local and export fish markets, you first need the raw material. Westfleet has grown its quota portfolio from 750 to 4,800 tonnes (including 1500 tonnes of hoki quota) giving Westfleet a secure future for its operations.

This approach to growth gives Westfleet a competitive edge.

CEO Craig Boote puts it well – “I want a company to be proud of, that Greymouth will be proud of, and the workers feel like they are part of something worthwhile. I don’t want Westfleet to be the biggest but I do want it to be the best.”

Getting onboard with Westfleet

We watch the Galatea II as the boat is prepared for its next sailing in an hour or so.


We watch the GALATEA II heading out to sea again. She is a 156 ton stern trawler with a steel hull and a crew that keep exceeding expectations for the owners.


Westfleet Seafoods – part of the community

As a company with an eye on the future, and support for the people who will ensure it gets there, Westfleet places huge value on the vibrancy and support of its community – both here on the West Coast, and around New Zealand.

Westfleet is not only one of the largest employers on the coast, is a strong supporter and backer of many great organisations, places, people and events. Some of the recent involvements include; sponsoring the West coast rescue helicopter, donating to local schools and education facilities, supporting sporting events and teams from local rugby & rugby league, to national and local motorsport and providing tertiary scholarships for students.

Coasters, Westfleet is an important part of our thriving fishing industry. Fishing out of Greymouth and processing in the town, this is a company we can all be rightly proud of.

Williams Hotels Group Update

The Ashley Hotel, Christchurch

We speak your language!

This week we chat with Mark Williams about the Ashley Hotel in Christchurch and the special deal for Coasters on offer when visiting the garden city. Have a listen here:

The Ashley Hotel in Christchurch is centrally located. It is a 15-minute drive from Christchurch’s International Airport, four minutes from Hagley Golf Course and Addington Raceway and three minutes from the railway station.

The Ashley Hotel offers rooms with a 43-inch flat-screen TV. All rooms have tea/coffee facilities and a bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries.  There is free guest parking and free unlimited WiFi. Rooms are serviced daily.

As well as the Hotel’s own dining room, there are a number of off-site dining options within a five-minute walk from the Hotel.

Make a booking

The Ashley Hotel Christchurch has been welcoming guests since May 2012.

The address is 106 Mandeville Street, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011. And the phone number 03-348 5049. Couples particularly like the location – they rated it very highly – so take advantage of the special deal for Coasters and make your booking today.

Breaking News

Another blow for our farming sector

On 3 September 2020, under cover of Covid-19, the largest attack ever, on our farming sector, was launched by the extreme Greens.

This link outlines what is now the law of the land. Coasters, please have a read and let our members of Parliament know what you think of these measures.


Breaking News


Check out this clip of Henry Adams working his Arahura gold claim with hid D10 – he had a grin a mile wide.

And, would you believe it, this Coaster’s Club video clip has had 60,000 views this week! Must be our top post ever! If you haven’t already seen it, here it is:

Henry Adams had a grin a mile wide as he worked the D10 today

Henry Adams had a grin a mile wide as he worked the D10 today

Posted by The Coasters Club on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

Aratuna Freighters – they keep on trucking

Aratuna Feighters was started from humble beginnings by the Havill family in1985 with only one truck & trailer.

It has developed along some interesting paths and today runs a diverse mix of general and rural freight, fuel and Fastway couriers.

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.

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.

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

Fertiliser distribution

This week, Aratuna Freighters Managing Director, Andrew Havill, talks about the company’s role in delivering of Balance fertiliser from one end of the Coast to the other.

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 Characters

Murray Weiblitz – a Coaster

Murray shares some of his life story growing up in Kokatahi and being related to half the valley!

Coast Characters

Jim Grant – a Coaster

Meet Jim and listen to his story. What a life he has had so far.

of words, pictures and the arts

Barrytown Knife Makers

Steven & Robyn

Making a knife at Barrytown Knifemaking is a hands-on experience that puts the hard edge on your West Coast visit.

During the process, owners and craftspeople Steven and Robyn, guide you in forging your own blade from red hot steel, and they help you complete your knife with a native Rimu timber handle, brass bolsters and pins.

The process takes more than an hour or two so make sure you are not in too much of a hurry. There are breaks in the manufacturing of course but you will find numerous things to amuse yourself with in these times. As well as being entertained by Steven’s humour, you can try your hand at axe throwing, target practice, and have a go on the huge swing. You will also meet other great people doing the same thing! Lunch is provided, usually toasted sandwiches and a cuppa.


of words, pictures and the arts

Knife makers in the making

Let’s see what some of the people who have made a knife, think of the experience.

The best knifemaking day

“Super entertaining day and you even get to make a knife as well! Steven and Robyn are great hosts and the whole experience of making a knife was the best time.”


“We would give more stars if that would be possible! Definitely one of the highlights of our NZ trip.”

We loved every minute of it!

“Robyn and Steve were very nice and oh how we loved Steve’s wicked sense of humour 🙂

Their knowledge and helpfulness ensure everyone goes home with a beautiful souvenir.

The setting on a hill overlooking the bay is stunning too. Oh, and don’t forget to try your hand at axe throwing too.”


A nice way to experience a new craft

It’s a fun day. Steven and Robyn have this activity down to a fine art. The task of forging a blade, shaping it, fitting a handle and polishing the steel takes place over a day. You are busy and do everything yourself, but Steven tidies up the worst of any errors you make. While he does, you have time for the tasty lunch and the famous big swing.”


of words, pictures and the arts

Delivering the Thursday Poem

with Mark Raffills

 Private recital

The songs and poems we grew up with are the markers of significant events in our lives and the mile posts by which we measure our times. In that sense they belong to us, the hearer.

The singer and songwriter and poet have given us fuel for our journey and for that they deserve our fondest gratitude. Dr Jeff Obadiah Simmonds put the video together. Fondest gratitude to him too.

The Thursday Poem3 September 2020PRIVATE RECITALThe songs and poems we grew up with are the markers of significant events in our lives and the mile posts by which we measure our times. In that sense they belong to us, the hearer. The singer and songwriter and poet have given us fuel for our journey and for that they deserve our fondest gratitude. Dr Jeff Obadiah Simmonds put the video together. Fondest gratitude to him too. Words below.Private recitalThe singer and the song mergeinto that still place that buffersthe waking from the dream,where I lie embraced by the watersof a meandering stream.The singer and the song speak to me in a private tongue that makes quiet love one on one.Nothing else is needed and nothing else is known except that place the song makes my own,where I breathe the sweet airdown that road the singer roams.The singer and the song speak to me in a private tongue,each step drenched by the rain and sun.Like the monk with his scripturesand prayers and promises to come, I’m cloistered from that clamour of choice by the choir of a single, soothing voice.The singer and the song speak to me in a private tonguethat whispers of the things begun.I paid the price to own them and the words and tune are mine; mineto plough the heart as deep as blood and reap a harvest long after the singer to time has succumbed.The singer and the song speak to me in a private tongue,I speak to them of what is yet to come.Mark Raffills

Posted by Mark Raffills on Thursday, September 3, 2020


Delivering the Thursday Poem

Chat around the Fire

Good things take time

Building relationships

The Coasters Club has been lucky enough to chat with Judith Collins a number of times over the years when she has visited the Coast.

In this way we have built a relationship with her which to my way of thinking, can only be good for the Coast. Let’s have a look back over a couple of her visits.

In March 2019 we had a quick word with Judith Collins as she opened the Hokitika Wild Foods festival along with Vice Mayor Chen from Hokitika’s sister city in China.

Judith Collins opens WILD FOODS 2019 to a huge crowd of approx 10,000

Posted by The Coasters Club on Friday, March 8, 2019


In 2018 caught up with Judith Collins again at the footy in Greymouth, the day after the storm hit the Coast and washed out some of our roading infrastructure.

We caught up Judith Collins and Maureen at the rugby and got the chance to chat.

I caught up with Judith Collins and Maureen at the rugby in Grey and got the chance to chat.Judith great to see you back and hope you enjoyed the match.Maureen will know every special place that you can visit and its good to see you both again. We talked about what a special place the Coast is and where else can the kids (and us big kids) get to wander onto the field after a match and mingle with the players many of them All Blacks.What a brilliant night.A big shout out to Monteiths the sponsor.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Saturday, February 3, 2018


And most recently, in July this year we chatted with her when she launched her new book “Pull No Punches”

Coasters it’s a real pleasure to discuss with Judith Collins the release of her new book “Pull no punches”Judith is…

Posted by The Coasters Club on Thursday, July 2, 2020


Good things take time

What’s happening on the Coast

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