Issue #20

October 27, 2020

Inspiring stories, real news and the hard questions

Wow! What a Labour Weekend it was.

So many events, so many great people, so many memories!

In fact, some are calling the Coast, ‘the events capital of NZ!’ We capture it all in this issue of The Coaster’s Weekly with pics and videos.

Our Coaster’s Pass this week takes you to Kumara’s very elegant Theatre Royal Hotel while our “Chat around the fire” says goodbye to another famous hotel in Greymouth, where once Queen Elizabeth II stayed.

We set a course for a career in the fishing industry with Mark Guy and Amy Moore, meet a couple of Coast Characters called David Stapleton and Jim Keenan and highlight AgFest 2020 in our featured posts from the Coaster’s Club.

Marc Zuckerman is a craftsman woodworker from Hokitika – we introduce you to him and give you the weekly poem from Mark Raffills.

A run down of events coming up on the Coast and updates from William’s Hotels Group and Aratuna Freighters, round-out the good read for this week.

Have a listen here as I run down this week’s stories:

Enjoy this 20th 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:

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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

Coast Events

The West Coast – Events Capital of NZ!

There were so many stunning events taking place on the Coast over Labour Weekend that one would have to give serious thought to branding this magic strip of land the ‘Events Capital of New Zealand’!  Such were the number of visitors, locals  and participants who turned out, that there was not a spare bed to be found anywhere.

On the following pages we bring you a pictorial round-up of these events. Through these videos and pics you will see the community in action, relive some history and take in some breathless action!

Westport whitebait festival

Time to celebrate an iconic West Coast pursuit.


Cave Creek memorial

A tragic event is remembered.

Motorhome gathering in Reefton

The New Zealand Motorhome gathering in Reefton over Labour Weekend get was a beauty. 473 caravan and mobile homes arrived in the town for this event.

View the photos here.

Reefton’s 150th anniversary

It was time to dress for the occasion and call up the years.


Bruce Bay sports day

A pic from 1942 and another of this year’s event highlights shows just how long the Bruce Bay Community Sports Day has been going.

Coast Events

Mitre 10 Mega Greymouth Street racing

The racing took place on Saturday and Sunday over Labour Weekend. Here’s some of the action:

Mitre 10 Mega Greymouth Street racing

West Coast Fishing – An industry of opportunity

Mark Guy – a fisherman’s tale

Mark Guy is the owner of the FV Bengal Bank, fishing out of Greymouth.

He started fishing out of Bluff as soon as he left school so he has been in the industry for quite some time. Mark has built up a wealth of experience and knowledge over the years.

Coaster’s Weekly had chance meeting with Mark and we recorded his tale of life as a fisherman and got his view on the industry as a whole. We were impressed with Mark’s depth of knowledge about the fishing industry. And we were encouraged to hear of the opportunities the industry presents for young people looking for a career. We discovered a young person can take up a fishing career and within three years  could be earning $120k plus a year! That’s excellent prospects by anyone’s reckoning.

Interested? Have a listen here to Mark’s story and see how he got started:

How to get started in the fishing industry

Amy Moore has been around fishing all her life.

From a pioneer Coast fishing family, she now drives the Trades Academy Programme, designed to introduce Coasters to the West Coast fishing industry. The programme will help you take the first step towards a career in an industry that’s helping keep New Zealand alive – both economically and as a source of essential protein!

In the video below Amy explains why fishing is a viable employment option for those about to leave school, as well as for those who are looking for a new career direction.

You can ring Ring Amy direct on 027 696 7936 to find out more.

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.

We chat with Mark Williams about the history of this pioneering West Coast family:

Both the Ashley Hotel in Greymouth and The Punakaiki Resort have accommodation for AgFest on the 13 and 14 November. Call them to book your room today.

Coasters Pass

Victorian elegance in the heart of historic Kumara

Your accommodation on the West Coast Wilderness Trail

This week’s Coaster’s Pass takes you to historic Kumara and the fabulous Theatre Royal Hotel. 

The Hotel is the West Coast’s only fully-restored gold miners’ hotel; and in a former life it was a world-renowned theatre. And it is on the West Coast Wilderness Trail route, so it is ideally suited to provide you with the best accommodation on your West Coast adventure.

Our historic gold rush hotel features six themed ensuite-rooms. Each room is quite unique, with its blend of Victorian decor, antique furnishings and modern amenities.  Whether you are a history buff, an intrepid explorer, a Kiwi neighbour, a discerning traveler, or just a plain fun lover, the Theatre Royal Hotel knows how to look after you!

We invite you to come and discover Kumara’s colourful past, which included NZ’s last great gold rush and was the home of the country’s longest serving Premier, Richard John Seddon.

Not only is Theatre Royal Hotel on the West Coast Wilderness Trail, but it can also offer you accommodation for the Wild Foods Festival in March:

Phone direct on 03 736 9277 to make a booking and don’t forget to ask about the Coaster’s Pass deal.

Theatre Royal Hotel, 81 Seddon Street, Kumara 7832

Victorian elegance in the heart of historic Kumara

Coaster’s Club Top Video Posts

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

This week’s featured posts from the Coaster’s Club are all about AgFest which is taking place in Greymouth on 13 and 14 November, 2020.

John Deere in Greymouth is managed by Roger who gives us a profile of his company and tells us a little of the products they will have on display at AgFest:

Mitre 10 Mega will be at AgFest too. They will have a very large tent which they will share with a number of co exhibiters and they will be promoting some great deals that will be well worth looking at:


Coast Toyota, another brilliant Coast company will be at AgFest with a range of models on site to tempt you with:


100% Ellery’s another Coast company taking a stand at AgFest. Listen here as Adel gives you a heads up on the amazing draw you can enter on the day:

Aratuna Freighter’s Update

How Aratuna Freighters can help you

This week Coaster’s Weekly talks with Monique Havill, co-owner of Aratuna Freighters, about the services the company provides to local home owners and farmers throughout the Coast.

We learnt that is not just the large, bulk loads they cater for, they also provide small deliveries required by householders and small businesses.

Have a listen to Monique here:


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.

Coast Characters

David Stapleton – a Coaster

Here we listen as David delivers a presentation at the Goldrush 150 Celebrations in Hokitika in 2014.

The celebrations included a series of seminars titled, Digging History. David’s presentation at one of these seminars was called ‘Sounding the Leads – Deeper Insights to the Goldfield Parts of the West Coast’.

Coast Characters

Jim Keenan – a Coaster

Jim gives a second, shorter, account of his experiences in WW2 as part of a longer recording undertaken with Jackie Gurden in June 2013.

of words, pictures and the arts

Working in wood

Hokitika’s Marc Zuckerman

Mark and Jan arrived in Hokitika in April 1971.

As an exploration geologist, he fell in love with the ruggedness of the West Coast and he and Jan decided to stay. They purchased 3 acres, 20 km East of Hokitika on the road to the Hokitika Gorge and built their home – including all the windows, doors and cabinets.

In the process of building their house, Mark became consumed by the desire to be involved in woodwork and design.

The peacefulness of the environment has inspired the simplicity in his work which he considers to be minimalist-modern with a pacific influence. Over the first 40 years as a self-taught woodworker, in a relative isolated environment, his work has ranged from furniture to kitchen utensils with a continuous progression of original designs.

All Mark’s products are 100% locally made and designed, with 100% sustainably managed NZ timbers. He has been very fortunate to have a small group of talented woodworkers to assist him in producing high quality products. These woodworkers are Jane Chapman, Chris Weaver, Jan Zuckerman and Jane Churchwell.

Visit the website here

of words, pictures and the arts

Delivering the Thursday Poem
, with Mark Raffills

Black Rain

It’s an A.A. Bondy song, it’s a wistful thought, it’s a long way from home, it’s on the road, it’s a dream on its own.

Have a listen here:

Chat around the Fire

Revingtons Hotel, Greymouth

The most recent version of Revingtons Hotel was built in 1938 and was located in Greymouth’s central business district at 45-49 Tainui Street.

It was historically significant as one of the West Coast’s leading hotel establishments. The hotel has recently been demolished and the site prepared for a new development.

The ancestry of Revingtons Hotel can be traced to a timber hotel built on this site by John William Oliver in 1876 called the Post Office Hotel. It was taken over by Tom Jones in circa 1885. In the mid 1890s, the hotel was purchased by William Daly Revington, who added his name to its title to become ‘Revington’s Post Office Hotel’, shortened to ‘Revingtons’.

Revington made large additions to the hotel building. In 1901, it was described as being ‘probably the quietest, most dignified and generally excellent establishment … [it is] far above what would be generally expected in a town the size of Greymouth’.

At this time, it was a two storied structure with a large balcony overlooking the thoroughfare, and comprised about 25 bedrooms, as well as apartments. On the ground floor was a large dining room, billiard room, commercial room, four sitting rooms, pantry, kitchen and servants rooms. A major flood in 1936 saw waters rising high enough for the chairs in the dining room to float around. It is possible that this event led to the decision to replace the hotel a year later.

In 1938, the owners of the day, Allan and Margaret Marshall, replaced the original hotel building with a new Spanish Mission-Art Deco style building. The architects were the Christchurch firm of Collins & West. Two stories in height and V-shaped in plan, this replacement hotel building had a ceramic tiled roof. The main façade fronted Tainui Street and contained a central entrance leading to the hotel’s foyer, with a balcony at the centre above. Smaller doorways were located at either end of the west façade’s ground floor, and there were sash windows on both the ground and first floor above. The first-floor balcony doorways were flanked by colonnades and above was an applied decoration in the form of a curved pediment. The central portion of the façade protruded from the main roof line.

Original architectural drawings, dated January 1937, show the layout of the building with its near-triangular footprint. The ground floor contained a central entrance foyer, two bars, bar parlour, commercial room, lounge, dining room and kitchen. A staircase in the foyer led to the first floor which contained 25 bedrooms.

The hotel has had a long history of hosting dignitaries. Probably the most famous guests were Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, who were photographed on 18 January 1954, waving to a large crowd from the hotel’s balcony. (See pic)

While most buildings in downtown Greymouth are on Maori reserve land, Revingtons Hotel was unusual in that an auction in 2008 saw part of the land going into private ownership.

View the clearing of the the Revington hotel site here.

Revingtons Hotel, Greymouth

What’s happening on the Coast?

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 and 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?