Norfolk Online Newsletter FREE content

Interview with Administrator Mr Eric Hutchinson


Don Wiseman    RADIO NZ      1 October 2018

Mr Don Wiseman:  The administrator on Norfolk Island is assuring residents that services will not be affected if New South Wales ends its links with the island in 2021.

NSW has been providing health, education and some other services under the federal government's administration since the end of autonomy in July 2016.

Some concerns have been raised about a lack of communication over the possibility of NSW going after an anonymous letter appeared on social media and in the local paper.

The administrator, Eric Hutchinson, spoke with Don Wiseman about this matter and other concerns on the island.

Mr Eric Hutchinson:   My assessment is that overwhelming the community here they care less about the how and the who what they care more about is the what and the when.

It is very important to recognise that the commitment that the Australian Government has made to the community and the people here on Norfolk Island in respect of being able to have access to that equivalent, similar, comparable services to similar communities elsewhere around Australia is undiminished and that won’t change.

So there are conversations at very early stages in fact no details of            conversations have taken place with alternative jurisdictions that may be as appropriate or more appropriate as the circumstance might be

Mr Don Wiseman:  But in terms of NSW providing these services that you mention they do want out

Mr Eric Hutchinson:  That is completely incorrect and nonsense in characterising in that way.  There is a commitment there from New South Wales until 2021 and undoubtedly and as the Minister Ley has expressed there will continue to be ongoing conversations with New South Wales but also initial discussions have started with alternative jurisdictions and the Australian Government’s commitment to the people of Norfolk Island remains undiminished that they should reasonable have access to a level of services that is comparable that is similar that is the same to communities of a similar size and location in other parts of the country.

Mr Don Wiseman: Why do you not use the word equivalent right through. Are we talking about similar or the same?

Mr Eric Hutchinson: Well in fact there are of course nuances that need to be taken into consideration given that Norfolk Island is a small community 1600 kilometres off the east coast of Australia so one could reasonable appreciate that there are circumstances here that present differently to a similar size community for example 150 kilometres north west of Dubbo for example in NSW.  Still a remote community nevertheless but the nuances of Norfolk Island I think we are getting into some anti when we are talking about the parable the similar or the same because in fact  is respect of medicare, for example, in respect of pharmaceutical medical benefit scheme for example, in respect of the age pension and eligibility for that, for disability support pension, for newstart allowance, for fee release for early child care education all of those things are identical.

Mr Don Wiseman:  I have heard from people on the island who are upset  that they heard through an anonymous letter that appeared in the local newspapers that laid out these possibility here.  Their concern is what they feel is a lack of open communication with the Administration and I guess with the Minister.

Mr Eric Hutchinson:  In fact it appeared on social media that the letter to which you referred before it appeared in the local press here.  Now it contained many many factual inaccuracies.  The Minister responded very promptly to the concerns that had been raised.  But again the Australian Govnmentt commitment to the people of Norfolk Island remains absolutely undiminished.

Mr Dob Wiseman:   Yes we have the Chamber of Commerce saying they would like an open forum for improved communication.

Mr Eric Hutchinson:  Look I think it is fair to say Don that we can always do better there is no question about that. 

And look I welcome the Chamber of Commerce’s interest in the things that they believe support their membership.  But it is a question I guess for the membership of the Chamber of Commerce as to whether or not unidentified letters that are published on social media are the sort of things that the Chamber of Commerce sees as adding value to their membership.

Mr Don Wiseman:  Something that is obviously very close to home for them is  - you have talked about the award system and the concerns there, there is also other concerns such as lands tax and the general decline that a lot of people report in the tourism industry, and I suppose there is a lot of people who are fretting

Mr Eric Hutchinson:  First of all we are not talking about land tax as such we are probably referring to a system of local government rates that apply to land and property around the island.  Now I don’t think that is so dissimilar to what occurs in New Zealand and I don’t think it is so dissimilar certainly to what occurs all around the rest of Australia.

Now it does value and it does I guess  put an opportunity cost if you will on property and I see many in this community responding in the most positive of way where they are starting to put some of that land to work and start to see a revenue being generated.

Mr Don Wiseman:   Difficult though to generate a revenue stream if the economy is going down the gurggla

Mr Eric Hutinson:   Well I think again with the upmost of respect I think that is a complete and utter mischaracterisation of what is happening here on Norfolk Island.  Like everywhere I guess there are some businesses that will be doing better, yes there are some businesses that possibly have been ahead of the curve if you will in terms of adapting, but we have a significant amount of investment occurring on Norfolk Island.

For example the Australian Government has just appointed a Regional Investment Officer it is all about attracting investment within the island and from off the island to stimulate and grow the economy.

We are seeing passenger numbers to Norfolk Island increasing after the lows of 2008 2009 2010.  So we are seeing the signs of an economy that is turning around.  The biggest complaint that I get is that we need a regular air freight service they are systematic of an economy that is growing. 

I have had conversations with both of the banks that operate here on Norfolk Island and their business activity levels are indeed significant and growing.  So there are many many signals and there are many businesses that are doing very well on Norfolk Island.

There is so much to be positive about and the vast majority of people understand that.

Mr Don Wiseman:  The Administrator of Norfolk Island Eric Hutchinson.

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Call for Field Volunteers

Do you enjoy birding and have some time to share? Allie Nance is a PhD student at Monash University in Victoria, Aus, looking for volunteers to help collect data for her field study on the breeding ecology of Norfolk Island perching birds. The project will be taking place through the months of October, November and December of 2018.

What you would be doing as a volunteer:
- Walking through various areas of Norfolk Island National Park to pre-identified nests of either the Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler (Tamey), Grey Fantail, Grey Gerygone or Long-billed White-eye
- Monitoring individual nests for 30-minute periods
- Collecting information during monitoring such as arrival and departure times of males and females, time spent feeding and time spent sitting on the nest (incubating eggs or brooding chicks)

Time commitment needed from each volunteer:
- Brief training in study procedures before any new nest checks (this will probably take 5-10 mins directly before you complete a nest check)
- You will need to be available for a minimum of 1 hour after arriving at NI National Park – this hour will be taken up by any necessary training, walking to nests, settling time before monitoring, 30-min monitoring, then either walking back to the meeting point or to the next nest
- We will be completing nest checks in the National Park most days over the three-month period anytime between 7am and 5pm. You are free to elect any times and days that suit you, and the number of nest checks you would like to complete (your efforts are deeply appreciated, whether you do 1 nest check or 10!)

Skills necessary for this field work:
- Ability to passively monitor (i.e. sitting and watching) a nest for a consecutive 30-minute period, and fill in data sheets as data is collected
- Ability to effectively use stopwatches to time behavioural events
- Ability to safely traverse forested areas to get to nests
- Ability to locate nests from maps and orientational instructions/directions
- Binoculars are not compulsory but may make the job easier!

The data that you will help collect for this study will provide much-needed information on the breeding ecology of Norfolk Island’s endemic perching birds. If this project interests you or you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to contact Allie by email at She will be arriving on Norfolk Island on the 25th of September and will be contactable on a Norfolk phone number soon after. Thank you for your time and consideration

Please 'contact us' for more information.

News from the World of Norfolk

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Audit Guide for ANAO

Please 'contact us' for more information.

NIO Classic Triples Tournament

The Norfolk Island Bowling Club over the past week has been hosting the International NIO Classic Triples Tournament, and thanks go to the sponsor Terence Grube for his generous sponsorship of this event.  Teams travelled from all over eastern states of Australia, Victoria, NSW & Queensland.  28 men’s teams and 10 ladies teams contested the week of bowls which have been played in very trying conditions, with a fair bit of rain and windy weather each day.  This has tested the players but by all accounts everybody has enjoyed the week and are looking forward to the finals which are to be played on Friday.

Results of the Sectional play are:

Men’s Section A: (completed) I.Webb 10+37 (1st), M. Braden 8+31 (2nd), T.Cooper 8-3, N. McWaters 4-8, G. Baird 4-10, M. Bowe 4-16, R. McAnally 4-33; Section B: (1 round remaining). R. Dixon 10+67, C. Graham 8+22, Geoff Smith 8+9, T. Sellwood 4-14, B.J. King 3-6, G. Brady 3-35, D. Davis 0-43; Section C: (1 round remaining) M. Graham 8+66, B. Pauling 8+27, N. Rieschierg 6-18, G. Smith 6-1, B. Hollands 5+3, R. Orr 3-10, F. Smit 0-67; Section D: (1 round remaining) M. Mitchell 8+61, G. Fenlan 8+31, K. Button 8+11, M. Godfrey 5-5, J. Cosgrove 4-12, D, Drew 3-37, G. Weier 0-58.

Ladies Section: (2 rounds remaining) C. Jones 12+52, A. Snell 12+45, C. McGill 10+16, A. Brady 7+16, N. Juchno 7-6, S. Tyson 6+3, M. O’Brien 6-12, P. Williams 6-14, C. Pauling 4-41, C. McAnally 0-62.

The quarter-finals for the men’s competition was held on Thursday afternoon, with the semi-finals and finals to be played on Friday, but with the cut-off for the paper, these results will be advised next week, together with a full round-up of the tournament as a whole.

Please 'contact us' for more information.


‘Honey’ is not just endearment! It is a marvellous product! It keeps indefinitely and has untold uses, from healing properties to health foods to being used as a rooting hormone for cutting and marcotting.

Isn’t it great to be able to eat unblended natural honey produced from multiple varieties of plants not from GM crops that have been repeatedly sprayed with chemicals.

The first record of bees to come to the Colony of NSW were bought by Gregory Blaxland (brother to the Blaxland who crossed the Blue Mountains) on 1st September 1805 in his cabin. How did he manage to keep a bee hive alive in his cabin all those months it took a sailing ship to travel from England to the Colony of NSW.

The first record of bees on Norfolk Island was in 1844 when it was reported that there were 50 hives.

On Buffett’s Road where Campbell Buffett lived Mr Griffiths kept bees after his schooling finished at our local school. When he left Norfolk he moved to QLD and kept bees there and he repotedly founded Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary now a huge tourist attraction.

Aubrey Greenwood kept bees at Peter Woodward’s daughter’s place at Watermill. He grew apples and lots of other fruit and he had a flourishing market garden were the watermill dam is now. To irrigate his crops he dropped a large rock into the narrow creek that went past the dam and the water went all around the wall in his trench and back into the creek near the bamboo. He can then run water down between his rows as needed. When he has enough water he removes the rock again. Aubrey also sold milk from his Jersey cows that grazed on the common all wearing cowbells that “donged’ everywhere and were milked anywhere he found them.

Norman Bowman kept bees at the top of Mission Road, later Vern Alston took over from him.

Jim Anderson kept bees at Cascade Rd. for many years.

Alan Baker kept bees at Steel’s Point and imported Queen Bee’s to improve his honey supply.

Ric Robertson was also the owner of a lot of hives at one time.

Alan Tomlinson had an industry going which he sold to Steve Nobbs  when Alan left NI.

Neville Bigg was also at one time a bee keeper.

There are still a number of bee keepers on NI today.

Bees are just not about honey. One out of every three mouthfuls of food are a result of pollination by bees. Bee security is food security.

NI is situated between New Zealand who has the Varroa mite and Australia which is still free of Varroa at this present time. In June 2018  the Port of Melbourne had an incursion of bees that carried Varroa. Three containers originating from Texas were on a ship coming into Melbourne but the Captain noticed dead bees on the deck and notified Biosecurity at the port and the hive was destroyed. All points of entry into Australia now have a system of sentinel hives which are checked on a regular basis to detect any incursions.

NI can’t afford to relax its vigilance and put our healthy bees in danger. Our bees have one pest and 2 diseases (the scientist thinks that one of these diseases most likely come in imported honey) making our bees which are genetically different to Australia’s bees some of the healthiest on the planet and are of worldwide significance.

Because NI’s bees are extremely healthy we do not have to use any chemicals which makes us exceptionally fortunate compared to the troubles the rest of the world is experiencing.

Merv Buffett  July 2018   

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Norfolk island Red Hatter's NEED YOU!

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Donate Life Week

This week has been Donate Life Week, which is a lifesaving medical database of people who wish to allow their organs to be used as donor organs after they die.  This week there was been articles and information in the media promoting the system, asking people to sign up as an organ donor.  The Australian Organ Donor Register is seeking your support to help them raise awareness and increase the number of Australians registered to be organ and tissue donors.

Organ and tissue donation involve removing organs and tissue from someone who has died (a donor) and transplanting them into someone who, in many cases, is very ill or dying (a recipient).  Signing up means that you wish to be an organ donor, but it is important to talk to your family, letting them know that your wishes.

I have joined the donor list even though I realise that I would have to be in an Australian hospital to be able to be a donor, as Norfolk Island is too far away from the Australian transplant hospitals.  For residence who live in Norfolk Island, many do not have Australian drivers’ licences, making some of the online links are difficult to complete.  I followed this link to the Australian Donor Page and I was able to sign up using my Australian Medicare card.

The Australian Organ Donor Register link

Each time I renewed my New Zealand Drivers’ Licence, the form had an option to be an organ donor.  I have always ticked the boxes on the Donor List for New Zealand.

I have a friend who has had a transplant, the gift of life.  It can be an anxious time waiting for a donor organ.  The advances in medical systems has saved many lives.  Queensland Medical teams preformed the first triple organ transplant in 2003.

I have read that there are more than 1,400 Australians are currently waitlisted for an organ transplant.  The patient must all complete many medical tests to be able to be on an organ transplant wait list.  This a very difficult time for medical staff and the patient along with their family and friends.  The organs must to compatible and the most suitable precipitants selected by the medical teams.

Just one organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people.  The organs which can be used include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, small intestine, pancreas, tissue that can be transplanted, parts of the eyes, bone, blood veins, tendons, ligaments or skin plus many more as the medical advances continue.

At present I have a family member who is in acute care in Australia and he is completing his assessment for a Lung transplant.  The personal experience of waiting and hoping that there will be donor organ to save his life, is very emotional.

Thank you to all the donors and their families who have helped transform the lives of others through the gift of organ and tissue donation. Your generosity has a profound impact on people who receive a transplant, as well as everyone who cares about them.

"You can’t take it with you. If you can give someone a chance at life, why wouldn’t you give them that opportunity?"

There are many articles available on line to read more about Organ Donor and if you can support this “Give a Gift of Life”, please enrol on the Organ Donor Register List.

Betty Matthews

August 2018

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Air Chathams Flights

This week I was very pleased to see that Air Chathams announced flights between Norfolk Island and Auckland, New Zealand.  Burnt Pine Travel advertised the details of the Thursday flights schedule this week for 25th October, 1st November, 8th November and 15th November 2018.

I also read about these travel dates a couple of months ago, via the Air Chathams web page:

In 2018, Air Chathams in partnership with Pukekohe Travel have three week-long tours available including direct flights from Auckland to Norfolk.

It is fantastic to know that there will be opportunities for New Zealanders to be able to have direct flights to Norfolk Island, and it also gives the local community a chance to visit family and friends in New Zealand, without having to travel via Sydney or Brisbane.

During the Norfolk Island Country Music 2018 festival week Air Chatham charter flight came to Norfolk Island.  I took photos in May for their plane as it was parked at the Norfolk Island Airport.  Air Chatham also had a cargo flight deliver freight a month ago.  It was a lovely plane with a image of “Hopo” or “Toroa” the Chatham Islands Albatross bird painted on the front of the plane.  I found a great photo of the artwork on their Facebook page.

Follow Air Chathams on Facebook

Or their web page:

If you wish to book a holiday, contact Burnt Pine Travel for information about organising a seat on the flights.

Thank you Air Chathams and Burnt Pine Travel for making these links between Auckland and Norfolk Island.

Betty Matthews

August 2018

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Pines FM 99.9 Community Radio Station

Earlier this year Norfolk Island new radio station started broadcasting. “Pines FM 99.9” radio station is a community run radio station.  The radio first went to air in February 2018 and locals have volunteered as radio announcers plus they have many great community projects during the last few months.  During the summer the local seed exchange was started, and it is a great way to share local vegetables, fruits and herbs.  It is always so rewarding to grow your own food and fun for children to learn how to grow plants at home.

Another great project is the Book exchange.  If you have any books at home you wish to donate or exchange, remember you are welcome to visit the Pines FM 99.9 community radio station, which is in town, Taylors Road, across the road from the Westpac Bank.  I recently look a few photos at the radio station and everyone is welcome to drop in and visit when you see the doors open.  Say hello if you would like to learn more about their community projects.

Sponsors and advertiser are also welcome plus if you are interested in becoming a RADIO DJ.  There is a weekly show schedule and volunteers are always welcome, if you would like to assist.

If you have any song request, news items or public notices, please remember to email or call Pines FM 99.9, the Norfolk Island community radio station. or call 22899

Plus, you can follow the Facebook page

Betty Matthews

August 2018

Please 'contact us' for more information.

Go Back

Recent Posts