Issue #16

29 September 2020

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

The big news this week is the announcement of government funding for the restoration of Seddon House in Hokitika.

What a saving grace this is for one of the coast’s most historic landmarks.

And in the not-so-good news department, we learn that the Green Party want to ban bottom trawling. We get some reaction to this proposed policy from the fishing industry on the Coast.

We profile the iconic Buller Marathon, talk to some Coast Characters and tempt you with a Coaster’s pass offer from Franz Josef Rainforest.

We highlight our top posts, talk to Shona McClean and bring you our updates from Aratuna Freighter and Williams Hotels Group. All this while listening to a poem from Mark Raffills and a song from ‘Neil Young”!!

Have a listen to my take on all the good stuff that’s happening in this issue of Coaster’s Weekly here:


Enjoy this issue of the Coaster’s Weekly

Bruce Smith

About The Coaster’s Club

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Hope to see you soon
Bruce Smith

Breaking News

Seddon House Restoration Project Confirmed

Once the centre of government on the West Coast, Seddon House in Hokitika has fallen into disrepair over the last few decades.

It was once a magnificent building and local interest in it in recent times led to a drive to restore the building to its former glory.

The news that the government will fund the complete restoration is just reward for all those who have taken the project to heart and worked hard to present a case to government for the restorations.

In this video, completed some months ago, Bruce Smith takes us through the old building with narrator, Ian Gilbertson.

The video will give you some background to this heritage building. Coaster’s Weekly acknowledges the brilliant contribution Ian Gilbertson (Gilbie) has made to the restoration drive. The video was originally sent to every political party to help gather support to restore the building.


Read the full media release here>

This outlines the $22million funding for the project and announces the head lease for the restored building will be the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Seddon House Restoration Project Confirmed

Breaking News continued

History Restored

Seddon House, a brick, timber and corrugated iron construction, is a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List, Rārangi Kōrero.

It was built between 1907 and 1914.

Heritage New Zealand – Pouhere Taonga – will own and manage the Edwardian Baroque-style building, also known as the Government Buildings and Courthouse. As part of the restoration Seddon House will undergo seismic strengthening and be refitted for use as offices for DOC.

In this video, taken at the beginning of the drive for restoration, Bruce Smith, Mark Patterson (NZ First MP) and Tanka Davidson (WDC Councilor) kick some ideas around about how the dream could be realised.

Tanka Davidson and MP Mark Patterson

Tanka Davidson and MP Mark Patterson kick stones after having a good look around Seddon House.The possibilties are endless !@Mark Patterson MP

Posted by The Coasters Club on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Breaking News continued

Heart-felt thanks to all involved

To Andrew Coleman, from every person in Westland, Grey and Buller, a huge thank you.

To get a project like Seddon House up to the start line takes a tremendous amount of hard work, passion and support from the right quarters. And you need people who walk the talk.

So on that note, Coaster’s Weekly acknowledges the support of Andrew Coleman, CEO of Heritage New Zealand – Pouhere Taonga, for his support of the Seddon House project. Seddon House will form part of the Tohu Whenua programme where local history is highlighted by local landmarks and the stories associated with them.

We also acknowledge the huge support and commitment of Mark Patterson, Tanka Davidson our local MPs Damien O’Connor and Maureen Pugh and our local Council teams.

Meet Andrew Coleman here:

Meet Andrew Coleman

Meet Andrew Coleman.(Again as he is a regular on the Coast)Back in 2016 Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Board Chair Wyatt Creech and Maori Heritage Council Chair John Clarke welcome the appointment of Andrew Coleman as Chief Executive.Today Andrew talks about the Tohu Whenua programme where our history is told by stories via Tohu Whenua The multi-agency government Tohu Whenua programme was launched three years ago to tell the stories of the regions. The Hokitika Tohu Whenua pou, or post, site was chosen to highlight the historic port and commercial area, which enabled the rapid growth of the town during the 1860s on the promise of gold.@Tohu Whenua – Landmarks that tell our stories

Posted by The Coasters Club on Friday, February 14, 2020

Coast Events

Run the most scenic marathon in NZ

The Buller Marathon – 13 February 2021

If you want take part in the various events the marathon offers, or if you are just coming to enjoy this brilliant spectacle, you should book your accommodation now.

Once you have done that you can relax into what will be one of the most scenic events on the NZ sporting calendar.

New Zealand’s most scenic marathon course commences at Hawks Crag and heads up the gorge to a turning point near Berlin’s, then back down the scenic, undulating Buller Gorge Highway to a finish at Victoria Square, Westport. Be inspired with these spectacular videos, first from 2001 (yes, the event has a long history!) and more recently from the 2017 event.



Drone footage from 2017:

Coast Events

Local support for the marathon is a Westport community thing

Have a look at how the community rallies behind the iconic Buller Marathon in this video series filmed over the 2018 event.

Clip 1- Veranda party:


Clip 2 – Keeping tradition alive:


Clip 3 – Meet the youngest competitor:


Clip 4 – At the finish line:

Coast Events

What’s happening on the Coast?

WAI presents Hopetown Brown
Tuesday 13 October, 2020, 7.30pm.
Old Lodge Theatre, $20.
Book tickets at Hokitika’s Regent Theatre or online here

WAI presents Anthonie Tonnon – Rail Land
Wednesday 11 November, 2020, 7.30pm.
Old Lodge Theatre, $20.
Book tickets at Hokitika’s Regent Theatre or online here

Greymouth Motorcycle Street Race
Sunday October 25, 2020
Follow the link for all information and registrations.

AgFest 2020
Friday 13 and Saturday 14 November, 2020
Follow the link for all information and registrations.

Ride the Wilderness
Saturday 14 November 2020
Follow the link for all information and registrations.

Horse racing
Westport Trots
Saturday 26 and Monday 28 December, 2020
Reefton Trots
Wednesday 30 December, 2020.
Kumara Races
Saturday 9 January, 2021.
Follow the link for all information.

Buller Marathon, Half Marathon and Walk
Saturday 13 February 2021.
Follow the link for all information and registrations.

Hokitika Wild Foods Festival
Saturday 13 March, 2021.
Follow the link for all information and tickets.

South Island Ute Muster
Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 July, 2021
For information on the 2021 South Island Ute Muster email

For inclusion on these pages please email details of your event and website link to:

What’s happening on the Coast?

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 fisherman joined efforts and resources, starting the Westfleet Fishermans’ Cooperative Limited, by buying out what was at the time, Nelson Fisheries.

With an aim of securing a say in their own fishing future – faced with the ever expanding growth of large factories around New Zealand – the fisherman got to work, putting their vessels and their livelihoods out to sea on the Westcoast of New Zealand. With ownership of quota, wharf facilities, processing capacity and a distribution chain, Westfleet has supplied demanding markets with West Coast fish for many years.

Managing Director & CEO of Westfleet, Craig Boote, tells the story here:


“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.”

Craig Boote, Managing Director & CEO

West Coast Fishing – An industry of opportunity

Greens target another West Coast industry

The Green Party has announced, as an election pledge, to ban bottom trawling across the whole NZ fishery to end what they call ‘destructive commercial fishing.’

Now, while such a policy may have some relevance to the Hauraki Gulf, it is utterly without scientific basis to apply the same policies to the West Coast.

Should such a policy be imposed on our industry on the Coast, it will kill the fish processing plants in Greymouth and Westport with a resulting loss in jobs. It seems the Green Party wants to add fishing to the ‘let’s kill it off’ list.

Bruce Smith of the Coaster’s Club, asks Craig Boote of Westfleet Fishing, what such a policy would mean for our industry on the Coast. Judith Collins has a comment to make too.

I get to ask Craig Boote who is with Judith Collins today about just what this means

THIS WILL KILL OUR FISH PROCESSING IN GREYMOUTH AND WESTPORT. Greens announce election pledge to ban bottom trawling, dredging in … If part of the next Government, the Green Party is vowing to end “destructive commercial fishing.I get to ask Craig Boote who is with Judith Collins today about just what this means for Greymouth and Westport.Labour cant get in without the Greens, add fishing to the lets kill it off list.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Thursday, September 24, 2020


Watch video of Judith Collins at Westfleet here>



Coast Health

Smooth start for Te Nikau

The Te Nikau hospital in Greymouth opening was live streamed.

“I know West Coasters waited a long time, however, hospitals are challenging and complex builds. It is fantastic people are now benefiting from this state-of-the-art facility which has been operating smoothly since it accepted its first patients in July.

“The $121.9 million facility was purpose built for the environment on the Coast and the design is future proofed to support new models of care and integrated services.

“I want to acknowledge all those involved in the project, from the design team, the West Coast DHB, to all the contractors working with Fletcher Construction, the Ministry of Health and the West Coast Partnership Group,” said Jacinda Ardern.

Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare says Te Nikau Hospital and Health Centre will benefit patients, whānau, visitors and staff for many years to come.

The opening ceremony live streamed here:

Te Nikau official opening

Posted by West Coast District Health Board on Thursday, September 24, 2020


Watch the Hokitika Primary School performance at the Te Nikau opening:

Te Nikau opening 25-09-2020 Hokitika Primary perform

Te Nikau opening 25-09-2020 Hokitika Primary perform

Posted by The Coasters Club on Thursday, September 24, 2020

Smooth start for Te Nikau

Williams Hotels Group Update

The Williams Family – Coast pioneers

There are people and families whose vision, determination and perseverance helped establish the West Coast and its indomitable character.

And in so doing, they provided a strong foundation on which the Coast has continued to be built by others who have been drawn to this wonderful place.

This week we talk again with Mark Williams who gives us the inside story on the Ashley Hotel in Greymouth.


Williams Hotels Group Update

The Ashley Hotel in Greymouth

Your first port of call when booking AgFest accommodation.

Ag Fest 2020 is sold out. So, if you have your tickets but still need accommodation, you had better call The Ashley Hotel in Greymouth real soon on 03 768 5135.

AGFest has grown to become the #1 event on the West Coast. Coaster’s Weekly gets the latest on the festival from Andy Thompson.

Ag Fest 2020 sold out !

Ag Fest 2020 sold out !I get to talk with Andy Thompson about this event which has grown to number one on the Coast.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Thursday, September 24, 2020


Coasters Pass

Franz Josef Rainforest

Nestled amongst the Southern Alps close to Franz Josef Glacier and countless scenic spots, the Franz Josef Rainforest is the perfect base to explore New Zealand’s Glacier Country and the wild West Coast.

This week the Coaster’s Pass offers you accommodation at any one of the accommodation options at Franz Josef Rainforest.

Of course, the various options are priced accordingly. When you book, be sure to say you are after the Coaster’s pass deal. Have a look at the options here>

Contact Franz Josef Rainforest by email – just click on the contact link on the website above or email direct on: You can also contact Franz Josef Rainforest by phone +64 3 752 0220 or toll free in NZ on 0800 873 346.

Franz Josef Rainforest

Coaster’s Club Top Video Posts

This week’s top posts from the Coaster’s Club

Our most popular posts this week include the Hokitika Gorge and the Clear Creek restoration.

The Hokitika Gorge and its new swing bridge:

Hokitika Gorge a must when you come home Coasters.

Hokitika Gorge a must when you come home Coasters.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Saturday, September 12, 2020


Clear Creek restoration with Birchfield mining Ross:

Clear creek Ross restored from an 1880s mess and its brilliant

Clear creek Ross restored by Birchfields Ross mining from an 1880s mess and its brilliant in 2020.The family started in Ross 3 decades ago when the Birchfield Ross Mine was an open pit (cast) operation active between 1988 to mid 2004, on the historic Jones Flat, which held several underground gold mines in the 1870's. The open pit is now water filled, and can be found at the eastern end of the town of Ross, the town itself 32 kilometres south of Hokitika.The open pit swallowed a set of pensioner flats, and the rugby ground, before closing as it could not extend further into the town. A study by a government geologist in 1993, estimated much gold remains under the town- 3 billion dollars worth when last calculated in 2010 and now close to nine billion dollars. Moving the 300 odd residents however is another matter.The mines was owned and operated by the local Birchfield family, in particular Evan Birchfield. This company owns a number of small gold and coal mines, logging operations, and an earthmoving business on the West Coast of New Zealand. Evan has stated the biggest problem he had at the mine, was haulage trucks falling down old mine shafts. They would be on their end, and have to be pulled out. Then the drivers would refuse to get back into the trucks.The mine produced around 65 000 ounces of gold, from a series of 'bottoms', being flat lying gold rich gravels, layered one under the other, separated by relatively barren gravels. That around 195 million at todays prices.Since 2003, Birchfield has moved to mining the shallow Alymer beach strand deposit, north of the town, and a series of pits south of Ross, on or near the historic Mont D'Or, and Donoghue claims, and on the flats between the highway, and beach where its future looks to be.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

This week’s top posts from the Coaster’s Club

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

Aratuna Freighters – a competitive road service throughout the South Island

Aratuna Freighters operate a large configuration of Iveco and Hino trucks and trailers throughout the South Island.

The management and staff take great pride in their company, the whole team working together to see that the freight is delivered on time. They are proud of their consistent commitment and service to their customers, always offering competitive prices. The company’s Head Office is in Greymouth and the Rural Office is based in Hokitika.

Aratuna Freighters has a comprehensive freight and courier service that covers the whole of the South Island. Here’s what the service and schedule looks like:

General freight overnight to Christchurch – five days a week (Monday to Friday)

General freight to South Westland – four days a week service

Worldwide & Nationwide freight on-forwarding – being the West Coast Branch of Mainfreight we are able to offer this service

Courier Service – ARAMEX Courier Service 5 Days a week.

Bulk Fuel Distribution Service – our BP fuel distribution offers a reliable service of bulk fuel deliveries to farmers, miners and contractors throughout the West Coast including Westport and Karamea areas.

Home heating delivery service – a small truck home heating delivery service for Greymouth and Hokitika Areas.

Refrigerated and frozen freight service – Greymouth to Christchurch & South Westland with a Nationwide on forwarding service available.

Stock Transportation – our service offers reliable, humane cartage of stock to farms or meat works daily.

Farming freight requirements – we offer South Island-wide cartage of hay, bulk fertilizer and timber for all farming requirements.

Container swing lifts and hiab services – a West Coast-wide service for all hiab and swing lift container requirements. We can arrange a nationwide forwarding service for containers also.

Aratuna Freighters look forward to having the opportunity to quote for all Coast transportation needs. For a quote on freight, fuel or other services they provide, please call their toll-free number 0800 756 666. If you have a rural enquiry, please call the Hokitika team on 03 756 8012.

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

Wanted now!

Would you like a change? Come and join the movement to the Coast.

Class five drivers and mechanics are needed to become part of the team at Aratuna Freighters.

In this week’s update, we talk with Managing Director, Andrew Havill as he takes us through the workshop and outlines the opportunities on offer with the company:


Coast Characters

Merv Grewer – a Coaster

Merv Grewer has a knack of making anything possible.

He is over the hill at present and no doubt teaching someone to swim!

This is his story:

Coast Characters

Dulcie McNabb – a Coaster

Dulcie McNabb lives in Karamea and has an amazing knowledge of the Karamea area from 1300AD until today!

“In Karamea terms, I’m a local, with mixed Shetland, Scottish, English and Irish ancestry,” she says.

“My mother’s people came to Karamea with the original ‘special settlers’ in 1874, while my father’s people arrived in Nelson as early as 1843. The menfolk made their way to Karamea from Sandy Bay in 1882 via the Mt Arthur tableland and down the Karamea River, returning home along the Heaphy coastline to collect their families.

Hear her story here:

of words, pictures and the arts

To the unknown busker

A Nelson man – we don’t know him, but would love to!

Bruce Smith videoed this street busker in Nelson recently and got this uncanny feeling that he was listening to a very famous singer from the States. The buskers voice, says Bruce, has that familiar ring to it.

What do you reckon?

Street Busker in Nelson and he was brilliant

I videoed this Street Busker in Nelson and listen to the voice, i reckon its like a very famous singer from the States a few years ago.What do you reckon?

Posted by The Coasters Club on Monday, September 21, 2020

of words, pictures and the arts

Delivering the Thursday Poem with Mark Raffills

Grey days – farewelling our fathers

In the natural order of things – and in the not so natural order of things – we all farewell our fathers. At that point, we are left to fill the space and take our place in the place he once stood. It is how it works.

The Thursday Poem24 September 2020Grey days: farewelling our fathersIn the natural order of things – and in the not so natural order of things – we all farewell our fathers. At that point, we are left to fill the space and take our place in the place he once stood. It is how it works. But even so, years after his passing, the desire to feel his arm around our shoulder or to hear an encouraging word, remains strong. I first wrote this poem for my good friend David W. Here it is again for all of us who have farewelled our fathers. Dr Jeff Obadiah Simmonds made the video. Words below.Grey days: farewelling our fathersThese are the grey days of farewell and departure;that they befall us all, there can be little doubt,but still, such knowledge cannot keep at baythe dark, encroaching chill that withthe shallow moon holds sway.These are the solitary days of silence and fearthat forge themselves like steel barsacross our hearts that break to feel that armaround our shoulder one last time,there, keeping us from harm.These are the hollow days of loneliness and lossthat stalk the unknown ways and blanketunsure paths in threads of swirling mistthat cover glade and forest heartand fill the spaces that we miss.Mark Raffills

Posted by Mark Raffills on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Chat around the Fire

The Davidson Foundry family

Shona McLean, a Coaster, was born in Hokitika and is part of the large Davidson Foundry family.

The Davidsons were a pioneer family that helped build the trains and plant needed for the development of the Coast and the country at large.

Shona now lives in Nelson but she retains close links to home.

We catch up with her and learn about some of the history of her family and the part they played on the West Coast:

The Davidson Foundry family