Home' Central District Times : November 29th 2011 Contents 2 CENTRAL DISTRICT TIMES, NOVEMBER 29, 2011
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Medal thief disgusts
Prison: Former Waiouru Army Museum
employee Keith Davies was
sentenced for stealing 750 medals
from the musuem.
Former Waiouru Army Museum
employee and medal thief Keith
Davies has been jailed for three
Police are still searching for more
than 300 of the 750 medals stolen
from the museum by Davies who
was once the museum's registrar.
The medals were taken between
1995 and 2002.
He pleaded guilty to seven
charges of false pretences, theft,
obtaining by deception and theft as
He sold 131 of the medals he had
taken, often walking out of the
museum with them in his pockets.
In total he took 750 medals worth
As a museum employee he
organised collections, documen-
tation and storage of items. He
wrote letters to families telling
them their medals would be kept for
Wellington District Court judge
Bruce Davidson said there was no
way to measure the outrage, despair
and disgust of the families involved
than to read from a victim impact
''How do you replace the irreplace-
Along with the medals he had
taken a World War 2 German
soldier's pack and a helmet plate, a
military statuette and 100 military
histories valued at $25,700.
Judge Davidson ordered him to
pay $50,000 which he had raised by
financing his Australian home but
said the case went far beyond the
monetary value of the items that
there was simply no gauge for it.
Lawyer Greg King said Davies
had no real reason for the theft and
was unable to explain why he had
taken the medals, first taking them
home to clean and mount them, and
then not taking them back.
Crown prosecutor Lance Rowe
said there was a huge breach of
trust. The museum was working
hard to get the public's trust back.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Telling it like it is
We had a good meeting last week, it
bodes well for the New Year. We are
hoping for a few more members. We
haven't got a lot of space, but we can
always fit new members and
The conversations were great and
we all seem to be of like mind. There
is an awful lot to do to get our voice.
You can rest assured we will keep
Perhaps we will be able to ask a
few questions through your paper
later. Do you realise that we don't
hear it called the ''two minute
silence'' nowadays; that must mean
We haven't seen anyone from the
council to date. We would have
welcomed them along, even our local
The invitation is open, perhaps
we can make a date sometime. No
red carpets mind, just a couple of
days to tidy up.
The rules we operate under are,
in essence: Is it fair? Is it the truth?
Is it honest? Is it genuine and
without malice? Who do not hold
Now then, this is our last letter of
the year. We wish everyone in
Taihape a Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year. See you after the
The Taihape Men's Social Group.
Karamea history shipshape
Memorable day: Mataroa School's relieving principal Lynn
Burrell stands between Don and Ruth McPherson when
chatting about the memorabilia of the ship Karamea that
Mr McPherson has placed in the school's cabinet.
A past engineer of the SS Karamea, Don McPherson,
recently made a visit to Mataroa School to view mem-
orabilia of the former ship. The school now has the
cabinet displaying memorabilia of the SS Karamea
thanks to Mr McPherson.
Mataroa has held the former bell from the SS Kara-
mea. It appears that two ships, SS Mataroa and SS
Karamea, were taken out of service and broken up
around the same time.
Through a mix-up, the ships' bells were sent to the
wrong places. Mataroa School got Karamea's bell and
Karamea School received the Mataroa's bell. Neither
Barry Cleaver nor Stephen Bradley, who gave the infor-
mation, are able to say when this happened.
Mr Bradley recalls being told that when the Mataroa
School was being rebuilt more than 40 years ago, one of
the carpenters hit the Karamea bell with his hammer
and cracked it.
The bell has not been repaired and is in the school's
Mataroa School does have its own bell, though,
thanks to Mr Bradley's father, who had the Mataroa
bell cast in Wellington. He finished it at his foundry in
Taihape. The bell has pride of place in the playground
of the school.
Mr McPherson and his wife Ruth, who also visited the
school, emigrated to Christchurch about seven years
ago. Their home was damaged by the earthquake.
They continue living there but are awaiting a decision
on what is to happen with their home.
The winner of the Flower Power pack competition was K Munro of Taihape.
Rescue success for SAR
Team work: The Taihape Search and Rescue (SAR) team re-group in the high
tussock lands of the Central Plateau.
Photo Toby Schweikert
Taihape Search and Rescue was
called out on Sunday, November 13,
to look for a hunter who had not
been seen by his companions since
early the day before.
A party of three hunters had
flown from Taupo into the head
waters of the Rangitikei River and
had separated to hunt different
The missing man was inexperi-
enced and poorly equipped and did
not return to camp as arranged in
the late afternoon. His friends
searched for him and continued
searching on Sunday morning. For-
tunately they met local fishing
guide Jim Rainey who was able to
use a satellite phone to alert SAR.
The team from Taihape were
flown to the hunter's base camp and
gathered more information and
began a search.
Teams were flown in to the search
area using helicopters from the
Palmerston North Rescue Helicop-
ter and Hill Country Helicopters.
Trained air observers went up
and searched the main river south
of where the hunters were camped.
The missing hunter was found
mid afternoon, 6km south of his
camp completely disoriented. His
companions believed he was hunt-
ing north of their campsite.
Ruapehu Area Commander,
Police Inspector Steve Mastrovich
said when found the hunter was in
remarkably good health and did not
need any medical attention.
''I'm surprised at how fit and
healthy he seemed. As well as being
an inexperienced hunter he was not
suitably equipped for being out all
day, let alone overnight. He was
extremely lucky that the weather
was so good as it was taking a turn
for the worse and he was never
going to make it out without
Spokesperson for Taihape SAR
Greg Bennett said his team
acknowledged the assistance pro-
vided by Whanganui SAR, Ohakune
SAR, Ngamatea Station staff who
relayed messages, Mark Tilyard
from Hill Country Helicopters,
Palmerston North Rescue Helicop-
ter and employers who gave their
staff time to assist in this search.
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