Issue #18

13 October 2020

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

Whitebait and the West Coast are nearly synonymous!

In this latest issue of The Coaster’s Weekly, we bring you a close-up look at this most iconic of Coast activities.

We take a trip down memory lane and wander through the Coasters Bar and its sports hall of fame. Then we catch up with John and Mike Eadie who were back on the Coast to relive some of their fond memories of this special place.

The Waiho Hot Tubs & Bella Vista Package is our Coaster’s Pass feature this week. Check it out and be in to secure your booking – just $180 per couple for a night. Second night is just $100 per couple!

Jade carver Bevan Climo lets us in on a couple of secrets and poet Mark Raffills delves into the heart of small-town New Zealand with this week’s poem.Along with updates from Aratuna Freighters and the Willians Hotels Group, we bring you our top posts for the week, we chat around the fire with Dicey Davidson and bring you a calendar of upcoming Coast events. And we catch up with Coast characters John Cowan and Jim Keenan too.

Have a listen here to my take on what’s happening on the Coast this week:

Coasters Weekly #18

The Coasters Weekly goes live at 5pm on Tuesday.Here is a heads up Coasters on whats in it.Enjoy

Posted by The Coasters Club on Friday, October 9, 2020


Enjoy this 18th issue of the Coaster’s Weekly.
Bruce Smith

About The Coaster’s Club

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.
  • 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. Subscribing to Coaster’s Weekly is as easy as that!

Hope to see you soon,
Bruce Smith

Breaking News

Minerals Conference Cancelled

Michael Phelps, Manager of Minerals West Coast, gives his views on the cancellation of the minerals conference in Hamilton.

It’s common sense and an outstanding presentation.

Minerals Conference Cancelled

Life on the Coast

A Whitebaiting Story

Is this iconic West Coast pursuit under threat?

Whitebait and the West Coast are nearly synonymous. During the season you can’t drive far on the Coast without coming across road-side stalls, tea rooms, take-away bars and restaurants with a whitebait sandwich or a whitebait patty to sell.

And to partake of the delicacy is almost a rite of passage; a sure sign that you have touched on a true West Coast experience.

Whitebaiting has come under the official spotlight in recent times with talk that the fishery needs to be rested, protected and given a chance to recuperate; the premise being that it is in danger of being irreparably damaged under the current regulations. So the rules and regulations look likely to be changed and these changes will no doubt affect the livelihood of some. The catches on the Coast are legendry and questions as to the sustainability of the catch, are being asked.

Whatever the final outcome of these changes maybe, there will be an impact and we will have to adapt to the new rules.

In the meantime, Coaster’s Weekly brings you some video footage of this iconic West Coast pursuit. It captures the magnitude of this fishing spectacle and lets you see just how important the activity is to the economic and social well-being of the Coast. Our footage is mostly from the 2019 season.

South Westland Mecca

South Westland is the hunting and fishing mecca of the South Island. Other whitebaiters in the far corner of the Coast believe the whitebaiting is as good this year as most other years, despite what politicians say. Check out this fabulous mecca here:

A whitebaiting adventure

Six weeks whitebaiting on the West Coast with mates, sound like the perfect dream. But dreams do come true, as this clip from  2019 reveals:


And five days of wind and rain is not enough to deter keen enthusiasts from getting out with their nets in Haast. The weather is forgotten as soon as the whitebait become more cooperative:


When the call rings up and down the river and along the coast, “They are running, they are running,” you can be sure the pilgrimage to the Coast’s rivers takes on an almost religious fervor. When they run, they run, as this clip shows.

What the whitebaiters themselves are saying

The 2019 AGM of the West Coast Whitebaiters Association took place at the Hokitika RSA.

A full house were treated to a a brilliant presentation by Mike Hickford, a scientist who for the last 15 years has specialised in whitebait habitat.

A couple of bottom line facts are outlined by Mike:

  • The West Coast is the ONLY area with rivers closed to protect the species.
  • There is NO evidence to confirm a reduction in the species – only the knowledge that there are more white baiters for the same amount of bait.
  • White bait DO NOT return to the river they were spawned in.
  • There is evidence that the grassed sides of rivers, with trees, provides the best habitat for breeding.

Catch up with AGM here and listen to what Mike Hickford has to say:

What the whitebaiters themselves are saying

Coast Memories

Talking about The Coasters Bar

The place where Coast memories abound

When it comes to memories, many a Coaster will have more than a few of the Coaster’s Bar.

Originally part of the Southland Hotel, the bar has now closed but the memories it generated over all those years, live on.

In this clip we visit the Coasters Bar and take a tour of its Coaster’s Sports Wall of Fame:

Coast Memories

Mike and John Eadie

Coasters visiting home

We caught up with Mike and John Eadie, descendants of the pioneering Eadie family.

Mike and John have been on a pilgrimage home. We tracked them down in the streets of Hokitika where they were enjoying the ambience of the town and drinking in the spirit of the Coast, something they remember oh so well.

What a pleasure to catch up with them.

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.

A wee reminder that The Ashley Hotel in Greymouth, the Beachside Hotel in Hokitika and the Punakaiki Resort should be your first ports of call when booking accommodation for  AgFest on 11 and 12 November 2020.

This week we talk to Williams Hotels group’s Mark Williams about the Punakaiki Resort and activities around Punakaiki.

Coasters Pass

The Waiho Hot Tubs & Bella Vista Package

The Waiho Hot Tubs in Franz Josef have now opened to the public. Adam, from Bella Vista, is the owner and he has an opening deal to promote the hot tubs.

Hot deal: $180 for a couple for one night. And you can stay an extra night for a just $100 more.

Here’s what you get:

  • One night in a mountain view unit at the Bella Vista in Franz Josef
  • A session for you both in a private Waiho hot tub set in native bush just a couple of minutes walk from your accommodation.

The video shows it all:

Waiho Hot Tubs awaits you.

I was in Franz Josef and called in to see the Waiho hot tubs which have now opened to the public.Adam from Bella Vista is the owner and we talked about an opening deal to promote the hot tubs.The deal $180 for a couple.You get one night in a mountain view unit at the Bella Vista in Franz Josef and a session for you both in a private Waiho hot tub set in native bush just a couple of minutes walk from your accommodation.The video shows it all.Call Adam on 03-752009 and enjoy.Ask for the Coasters deal

Posted by The Coasters Club on Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Call Adam on 03-752009, ask for the Coaster’s club deal and enjoy!

The Waiho Hot Tubs & Bella Vista Package

Coaster’s Club Top Video Posts

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

Our most popular posts this week include the Westland High School’s Burlesque Show and our talk with farmer/contractor Leighton Campbell.

Burlesque at its very best

The Westland High School end of year awards were held at Shantytown in 2018. The new art- dance teacher asked students to choose form a variety of dance/musical styles. Burlesque was the genre chosen by the students – a genre which is described as a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works. This was amazing folks, it was good when we first posted it and it continues to receive many views – a top post for the Coasters Club.

Achieving in farming

We first posted this clip in November 2017 but it has continued to receive many views and its message is as relevant now as it was then.

Farming is an important part of our economic diversity on the Coast.

And agricultural contractors like Leighton Campbell work long hours, and are governed by the weather.

Dairy contributed more than $200 million to the West Coast’s GDP in 2016 and when you see young achievers like Leighton in the industry, we can say it is in good hands.

Many thanks Leighton Campbell for taking the time to let Coasters know what’s going on.

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.

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. Call us 0800 756 666

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.

Meet Bob Williamson - an Aratuna Freighters driver.

We catch up with Bob Williamson and talk about his amazing driving life.

20 years on the road with Aratuna Freighters. He recently received a special award for his outstanding service to the company.


Coast Characters

John Cowan – a Coaster

Have a listen here as John recounts his experiences fishing in the Haast area with his vessel the Sea Shag.

The interview was recorded in April 2011 by Jackie Gurden. John is still alive and well.

Coast Characters

Jim Keenan – a Coaster

Jim  shares the history of  his family and his town, Hokitika.

The interview was recorded by Jackie Gurden in June 2013. There was a whole lot more that Jim had stored away in his memory but  sadly Jim passed away in 2014 before Jackie could talk to him some more. 

Coast History

Blacks Point Museum – with Peter Lawn

In this 2011 interview with Jackie Gurden, Peter Lawn takes us on a walk through the Blacks Point Museum near Reefton.

Blacks Point Museum – with Peter Lawn

of words, pictures and the arts

Bevan Climo – master Pounamu carver

Bevan talks in this clip about his work and the timeless of the stones he carves.

He says you don’t find pounamu; it finds you.  The carver’s hand uncovers the essence of the stone.

of words, pictures and the arts

Delivering the Thursday Poem
 with Mark Raffills

Love comes once

The Thursday Poem8 October 2020Love comes onceThere was a time when the demise of small-town New Zealand was…

Posted by Mark Raffills on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Chat around the Fire

Dicey Davidson talks about his life on Revell Street

Revell Street in Hokitika is a buzzing part of the town and it’s a street full of famous food.

It is home to a great pizza place with Fat Pippies, a Chinese restaurant, an Indian restaurant, a sandwich bar – Stumpers, plus the Ocean view restaurant and a cheese shop. Add to that impressive list The Stone Oven Bakery and you have the whole range of dining options covered.

Stone Oven Bakery is a family owned and operated business. Dicey Davidson established it in 1982 has earned a fine reputation as a baker of delicious pastries, pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, coffees and desserts to locals. Some ‘locals’ have officially gained loyal clientele status.

Dicey is a Coaster feeding Coasters. We catch up with him for a ‘chat around the fire’:

Bruce Smith

Dicey Davidson talks about his life on Revell Street

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

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

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

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?