Issue #2

23 June 2020

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

Welcome to Coasters Weekly!

We know Coasters are fiercely protective of their independence and the unique lifestyle the West Coast offers. It is our aim to keep Coasters connected, no matter where in the world they may be.

At Coasters Weekly we are prepared to ask the hard questions for you that others won’t. We will bring you news as it really is and share stories of courage, initiative and ingenuity that will make you even more proud to be a Coaster!

Have a listen to editor and publisher Bruce Smith as he talks about Coasters Weekly.

Where ever I roam the Coast is my Home.

Where ever I roam the Coast is my Home.You can receive the Coasters Weekly by clicking on the link or copy and paste it and put in your name and email address you later !

Posted by The Coasters Club on Thursday, 14 May 2020


Get your Coasters Weekly at 5pm every Tuesday and enjoy the news from home.

Every Tuesday a limited number of The Coasters Pass will be made available to readers to encourage you to come home to the Coast. The packages The Coasters Pass offers will save you hundreds of dollars.

If you are already part of the Coasters Club you will automatically be subscribed to Coasters Weekly. You will receive an email each week with your link to each weekly edition.

New subscribers can sign up to Coasters Weekly here


Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

Mining: the lifeblood of the Coast’s economy

 We are fortunate on the coast to have an enviable mineral resource that underpins our economy. Coasters Weekly continues its series on this most vital industry.

Could you continue to run a small Coast-based horticultural business using coal as your heat source?

The minerals industry is very concerned that Government decisions regarding the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) pushed carbon prices up 28% in a recent eight-day trading window. The industry believes this increase must be reversed as such a price hike will hit every family that buys food and heats their home using coal.

Coasters Weekly editor Bruce Smith talks with Pattrick Phelps, CE Minerals West Coast, about the impact of the ETS on the price of coal and on the cost and supply of our food.

Patrick Phelps manager Minerals West Coast.

COULD YOU CONTINUE TO RUN A SMALL COAST BASED HORTOCULTURE BUSINESS USING COAL AS YOUR HEAT SOURCE?WILL THE ETS PUT UP THE PRICE OF COAL ?BREAKING NEWS:Today 11:00am – Government decisions that have pushed carbon prices up 28 per cent in eight days of trading must be reversed, says the minerals industry.I get to ask Patrick Phelps the manager of Minerals West Coast his views on the ETS trading scheme and the latest price hikes.This will hit every family that buys food and heats their home using Coal.Thursday – Carbon hit new record prices yesterday, with forward units now more expensive than the unofficial $35 price cap.Coal companies want carbon price slashed to avoid the increased costs being dumped on Coasters and the rest of New Zealand.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Thursday, 11 June 2020


Mining the Mikonui River Valley

I read the article on mining in the Mikonui River Valley written by Farah Hancock. Hancock is a Newsroom reporter who covers environment, biodiversity and science. The article was on Forest and Bird website.

In the article Hancock quotes Conservationist and West Coast Conservation Board member Neil Silverwood who says when he visited the site in March, he was met with what he described as a ‘moonscape’.

“It’s heartbreaking to see public conservation land treated that way,” Silverwood says. He is extremely surprised the rehabilitation work was ticked off by DoC.

Forest & Bird’s regional advocacy manager for Canterbury/West Coast, Nicky Snoyink, was also quoted in the article. She said the West Coast was losing native forest to mining.

I am more than a little concerned with such statements as they are quite untrue. I took a drive up the Mikonui Valley with my camera to have a look for myself. The video below is a 17 minute excursion in which I look at the regrowth of the native bush over the mined areas; no barren ‘moonscape’, no fallen forests.

The Mikonui River has supported gold miners since 1865. Ross Greenland and the Mikonui is the centre of one of the richest alluvial deposits of gold in New Zealand. In the video I give a little history of the mining activities in this area and refute one or two untruths being tossed around out of left field.

I believe the ability of Coasters to earn a living through mining would go a long way towards helping New Zealand recover from our current economic situation. Economic recovery has to be our number one priority and mining the Mikonui would be a good start.

Watch the video here:

Bruce Smith
Mayor, Westland District Council

Aratuna Freighters Ltd: from the Coast to the South Island and beyond

Andrew Havill and his wife Monique, part-owners of Aratuna Freighters, have plenty to celebrate in this 34th year of the company’s operation.

Andrew and Monique Havill hold the reins these days while Durham and Lorraine, who founded the company in 1985 along with son Andrew, remain committed to the company.

Today, Aratuna’s trucks can be seen all over the South Island and even in the North Island.

Hear Monique discuss the next instalment of the Aratuna Freighters story in the video clip here:  

When you ride the West Coast Wilderness Trail you get to stay at the historic Woodstock Hotel

Today’s Coasters Pass opens at 5pm today, Tuesday 23 June and expires Wednesday 24 June at 5pm.

Cost of today’s Coaster’s Pass: $176 per person

It’s limited to 4 packages.

Go on line now to purchase your passes:

Here’s what you get

  • Each package contains two nights accommodation for between four and nine people at the historic Woodstock Hotel – ‘The Woody”
  • Two Coasters Club evening meal deals at The Woody
  • A pass to the West Coast Treetop Walkway and Café
  • A pass to the National Kiwi Centre.


During your stay, take advantage of the cut lunch and homemade breakfast options to save you carting food or having to head for town to the supermarket after a hard days biking.

The Woody also offer Coasters club members 10% off the price of any Woodstock Brewing Co. beer or Cider either on tap or packaged purchased from the pub.

  • The Coasters Pass is only available over a 24 hour period between 5.00pm each Tuesday through to 5.00pm on Wednesday.
  • There are a limited number of passes on offer each week so it is first come, first served.
  • If you secure a pass you also get the right to purchase 5 others to ensure your group or family can all travel together on the same dates and make use of the other vouchers at the same time.
  • The Coasters Pass can be used at any time within 90 days of purchase. It’s an individual transferable pass.
  • Once the booking dates for accommodation, attractions and restaurants are confirmed they can’t be changed.

The Wilderness Trail

The Trail

The West Coast of the South Island is rapidly becoming New Zealand’s premier multi-day bike packing destination. You’ve got the Heaphy in the North, the Old Ghost Road (surely being one of the top 10 in the world) a little further south, the new and nearly finished Paparoa Trail a bit further south  and finally, the West Coast Wilderness trail. I’m not sure if too many other regions can compete with this many high class, multi-day trails. Have a sneak preview of the trail here:

Accommodation at The Woody

Check out ‘The Woody’ and meet your hosts, Leanne and Colin and see what you get in your accommodation package when you ride The Wilderness Trail.

The sound of The Woody

Hear The Coalrangers performing “West Coast Bound” from the album “Coast To Coast”. Composer: Ron Valente of The Gypsy Pickers. Sung by Des Hetherington. Filmed at The Woodstock Hotel, Rimu, Hokitika, West Coast, New Zealand. Band in clip –  Des Hetherington: guitar/voc, Geoff Farmar: Bass, John Sanchez-Lloyd: accordion, Dean Hetherington: guitar, Allan Cattermole: drums. Additional footage from NZ movie Magic & Rose.

So, go on line now to purchase your passes:

The Coast Business Series

The West Coast is renowned for its innovative approach to life. Our people are always looking to express themselves in business ventures that draw deeply on the Coast’s resources and scenic attractions.

On the Coast we have businesses that are making national impact, food supply outlets that are at the top of their game as well as some historic establishments that are well worth a visit. You can check out some of them right here via our library of video clips.

West Coast Tree Top Walkway and Café

This fantastic little business stands head and shoulders above most. It draws visitors daily to the walkway and the café is often run off its feet providing heavenly coffee and delicious food. With the recent reopening of the Tree Top Walkway, Bruce Smith popped into the café for a chat with the manager Vonnie just to see how things are going.

The Woody

‘The Woody’ is our oldest pub and it is still going well serving great food and pouring the fine beer of the Woodstock Brewery. ‘The Woody’ is one of the magnificent accommodation options along the West Coast Wilderness Trail and features in this week’s Coasters Pass. Get out there sometime soon and experience the great hospitality of your hosts, Leanne and Colin.

The Coast Business Series

Thomsons Butchery

Talk about bring home the bacon! Thomsons Butchery in Hari Hari has just scored another gold medal for its home-grown Coast bacon. Check out the butchery here and then go for a visit and take home some prime cuts and delicious smallgoods.

The Wilderness Gallery, Hokitika and we meet Monika

Fine New Zealand giftware, photography, art and sculpture are given a classy and engaging showcase in Hokitika’s Wilderness Gallery. The wares of local Coast artisans sit alongside works from all over New Zealand. Genuine, handcrafted and high quality, the products ooze quality and warmth. We pop into the Gallery to take a look and chat with Monika to see how the business is responding post shutdown.

Greymouth – big-river town

Greymouth is a river town with a history of jade hunting, gold mining, coal mining and dramatic river floods.

Once the site of the Maori pa Mawhera (which means ‘wide spread river mouth’, in reference to the town’s river mouth location), Greymouth is considered the heart of the West Coast.

The river

The Grey River / Māwheranui, cuts a dramatic path through the town. It rises in Lake Christabel, one of numerous small lakes on the western side of the Southern Alps, 12 kilometres southwest of the Lewis Pass and runs westward for 120 kilometres before draining into the Tasman Sea at Greymouth. The river was named  the Grey River by Thomas Brunner after prominent 19th century New Zealand politician Sir George Grey.

Some history

Maori had lived in Greymouth for considerable time before European settlement. Thomas Brunner was the first European to visit the site of what is now Greymouth. He arrived in 1846 and, as well as naming the Grey River, he discovered coal in the Grey Valley. Several places in the region (notably the town of Brunner and Lake Brunner) bear his name. Together with gold, coal mining was a major impetus in the town’s early European history.

Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast and the arrival point for the scenic Tranz Alpine train from Christchurch.

....and a big town river....

Take a look

The area’s gold mining history can be appreciated at the local museum and nearby Shantytown, a frontier town left over from the old gold mining days! Local brewery Monteith’s is something of a New Zealand legend; it runs tours that include a tasting session.

Around the town you’ll find galleries specialising in pounamu (New Zealand jade). Other Greymouth entertainments include sea fishing, fly fishing, and adventure activities like rafting and caving.

The 2-hour Point Elizabeth Walk passes through a scenic reserve and old gold mining sites. It begins 12km north of Greymouth at Rapahoe Beach, which also happens to be a favourite swimming spot during summer.

Check out for all that there is to do and see in Greymouth.

Over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, Bruce Smith took a drive around Greymouth (population just over 8,000) to get a feel for the place. The weather was stunning and showed this river-mouth town at its very best.

Greymouth on Queens birthday weekend

Sunday lunch time in Greymouth on Queens birthday weekend in stunning weather.The cafes are busy and its got a real holiday feel about it.

Posted by The Coasters Club on Saturday, 30 May 2020

Constructing the Haast Road on the West Coast

Last issue we outlined the development of construction company Contract Cultivation. Contract Cultivation was a West Coast construction company founded in the late 1920s by Jock and Clare Smith, originally from Timaru. Through their company the Smith family established many Coast connections which exist to this day. The Karamea Airfield and the Haast Road are just two of the construction projects they completed.

Construction of the Haast Road was a particularly challenging project that took all the skill and ingenuity the company and its crew of gallant workers could muster.

We take a look here at three new videos of various aspects of the project. The videos reveal just what a challenge the construction of the road was. They show the heavy machinery of the times and the often-difficult terrain the crews had to work in.

Haast Pass construction 1958-1965 – 1

Haast Pass construction 1958-1965 – 2

 Haast Pass construction 1958-1965 – 3

Constructing the Haast Road on the West Coast

Williams Hotels: West Coast hospitality and then some!

Williams Hotels is a fourth generation West Coast family business focused on providing their guests with an exceptional hospitality experience – something Coasters are renowned for.

The business is 100% New Zealand owned and operated and looks to integrate kiwi style with international standards.

Tony Williams is the current owner and managing director and has over 30 years of experience in hospitality. Tony is supported by his sons who hold both domestic and international, commercial and finance experience. Tony is also supported by a staff of 150 who work tirelessly to deliver a warm and personal stay.

Williams Hotels: West Coast hospitality and then some!

A chat around the fire

Creating employment on the Coast is not a difficult task. In fact, we have a number of projects in the mining industry that are private funded and ready to go. Not only will they give a much-needed boost to our local economy but they will also be of benefit to the whole country.

With the change in the economic climate and Covid-19, I believe these employment opportunities cannot be overlooked.  Our Country and its regions need income and opportunities for our people.  We have many miners working abroad who are now away from their families. We could have them working back here. But instead, many of them are considering moving permanently with their families overseas. We do not want to export our people!

We want our people to have options, not government funded work schemes that provide no long term solutions. We do not need these. The projects we have ready to go will provide high paying jobs that will contribute to our region and society to make us more resilient.

Our mining industry on the Coast has the best practices for regeneration and renewal of the land. We can mine our minerals ethically with minimal threat to our environment.

Have a listen here to my thoughts on creating employment for the Coast and reviving our people and our economy.

Tania Gibson
Grey District Mayor

Watch and listen here:

A chat around the fire

What’s happening on the Coast

Greymouth’s Mighty Mud Challenge
Sunday July 26, 2020
Click here for all information and registrations.

Greymouth Motorcycle Street Race
Sunday October 25, 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
March the 13th 2021
Click here for all information and tickets


For inclusion on these pages please submit your information here:

What’s happening on the Coast