Stirred upstairs;Cafe Stir




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Publication: CPL Date: 09 Oct 2003 Page: C 4
Headline: Stirred upstairs;Cafe Stir
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: FOOD PREPARATION;RESTAURANTS ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY )
Section: FEATURES Sub Section: FOOD
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 315 Source: Copyright: Flags:

Cafe Stir
Where:
27 New Regent Street.
When:
Mon-Fri, 6am to 4pm. Sat, Sun, 9am to 3pm.
Upside:
Sunny upstairs.
Downside:
Glacial on a cold winter morning. Not the best value for money.
.
Cafe Stir had already been open for a couple of hours by the time we arrived at 8am on a cold spring morning but it was still as chilly as a Lyttelton villa inside.
Since one of the reasons for going out for breakfast in the first place was to escape the glacial temperature of our Lyttelton villa, this was not the most favourable first impression.
The solution soon presented itself when we discovered the upstairs section of the cafe was not only bathed in morning sunshine but was also where all the heat had risen from the attempts to heat the main area of the cafe. We swiftly relocated.
With that distraction out of the way, we turned our attentions to the menu, beginning with Stir It Up muesli porridge ($9). This was indeed well stirred and tasty but, at the end of the day, was still just porridge.
I kept to my savoury habit by ordering the Total Stir Up breakfast (eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, hash browns, and bottomless toast, $15.50). This too was adequate but at the price I felt slightly aggrieved that the hash browns were of the mass- produced variety.
Miss CC went for the Stir Wars Toast (As in French, but not tested at Mururoa, $12.50). This perplexingly named dish _ I always thought both the fictional and scarily Reaganesque versions of Star Wars were US programmes _ came with the bacon swamped by maple syrup and backed by grilled banana.
After a couple more coffees and some freshly squeezed orange juice, we settled up at $49 and left with the feeling that there is better value elsewhere on the Christchurch breakfast scene. John Henzell



Publication: CPL Date: 08 Oct 2003 Page: A 2
Headline: 'Mean' uncle's will upheld
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: FAMILY SOCIOLOGY;CIVIL LAW;GENEALOGY ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 531 Source: Copyright: Flags:

The family of a wealthy and eccentric Christchurch recluse has failed to get the courts to overturn his will and award them the whole of his estate.
Percy Wheatley, a lifelong bachelor who died two years ago, aged 82, incurred the wrath of his family by leaving his entire $650,000 estate to Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.
His sister, Sylvia Humphrey, and her children, Helen Paton and Graeme Humphrey, took the executor of Mr Wheatley's will, New Zealand Guardian Trust, to the High Court in Christchurch to get what they say is a fair share of his estate.
Justice Willie Young rejected their claim for the whole of the estate, noting that even the closest of the relatives, Mrs Paton, had shown a "surprising state of ignorance" about her uncle by failing to notice that he was effectively blind. However, Justice Young narrowly concluded, they deserved a "modest, to say the least" share of the estate based on promises Mr Wheatley made to them up to a decade before he died.
The trust accepted that a fourth claimant _ Graham Pateman _ was due $13,000 for carpentery work he did at Mr Wheatley's home.
The Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind will get more than $500,000 of the estate, to be put into a perpetual trust.
Justice Young said Mr Wheatley led "a strange and strictured life" by orthodox standards and became "increasingly cranky" with age.
"For instance, a dispute over money involving his brother, Stan, and dating back to 1928 was still reverberating in his mind 68 years later as it is reflected in his will instructions to the trust in 1996," he said. "He did not like being crossed, was mean-spirited about money, had little or no interest in the outside world, did not take newspapers, and did not have a telephone until he was in his 80s and it was presumably required given his declining health.
"He was not a member of any outside organisations and he did not form enduring relationships with people outside the circle of his family. He died, as he lived, friendless."
Despite some underlying tensions, relations within his family were generally reasonable, Justice Young said, and he had no doubt that family members helped him.
He qualified his finding by adding: "I do not think I am being too cynical in concluding that the attention which this very difficult man received was related, at least in part, to their very reasonable hopes of a testamentary provision _ hopes which he contributed to by promises."
Justice Young said he had "real reservations about the closeness of the relationship between Helen (Paton) and Percy (Wheatley)".
He was surprised by Mrs Paton's evidence that in 1998 her uncle was not blind, when 10 years earlier his eyesight had deteriorated so much that his optometrist suggested he receive help to cope.
However, he concluded that she and her mother had helped Mr Wheatley and awarded each of them $50,000 from the estate.
Mr Wheatley's nephew, Graeme Wheatley, was "the son Percy never had". The two men shared a mutual friendship. However the nephew lived in England and only deserved $15,000 from his uncle's estate.



Publication: CPL Date: 08 Oct 2003 Page: A 13
Headline: Teen gets costly lesson at the school of life
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: BURGLARY;YOUTH;PUNISHMENT ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 460 Source: Copyright: Flags:

In this age of crippling student loans, $4500 is probably relatively light as the price for an education.
Hamish Michael Purcell might not agree. But then this 19-year-old's education came in the dock of the Christchurch District Court rather than at an institute of higher learning.
A conviction is a harsh lesson for someone who, by all accounts, is not a bad kid.
Purcell works as a forecourt attendant and had kept out of trouble until _ and this is a tale the court hears almost every day _ he began associating with the wrong sort of people.
In this case, Purcell had driven to a Southshore home with two of his new associates to talk to the resident of a Rockinghorse Road house about some kind of debt owed.
When no-one was home, the associates hatched a plan to break into the house and Purcell was foolish enough to go along with this, even though he did not actually enter the house.
He backed his car into the drive to collect about $9000 worth of computer and stereo equipment, jewellery, and other valuables.
Purcell's unfamiliarity with the world of crime is all too apparent. When the police quizzed him on the burglary he immediately confessed his part in it.
The law is designed to allow for a single mistake by the young and the foolish not to blight their lives forever with a criminal conviction.
Unfortunately for Purcell, household burglaries are so devastating for the victims and so prevalent in the courts that it was deemed too serious to be dealt with in that manner, even though he was only a party to the offence.
So he found himself in the dock, already with a criminal conviction to his name and the prospect of being sent to jail.
In his favour: the unanimous view of the police, the probation report writer, his lawyer, and even Judge Patricia Costigan that the offending was "out of character" for the teenager.
The police took the rare step of not exercising their right to force Purcell to give a DNA sample so that his genetic fingerprint is on record in case his offending escalates to something more serious.
Judge Costigan said even though Purcell did not break into or enter the home, his part in the offending was quite significant.
"You made a very foolish decision to get involved in what appeared to be an attempt to extract goods from the property in repayment for some alleged outstanding debt," she said.
"Normally this sort of offending is met with a custodial sentence but you pleaded guilty at an early stage and I take into account your previous good record."
Purcell was sentenced to 100 hours community service and ordered to pay $4500 reparation.



Publication: CPL Date: 04 Oct 2003 Page: A 14
Headline: Delicate balancing act
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: LEGAL PROFESSIONS;COURTS;PUNISHMENT ( )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 593 Source: Copyright: Flags:

Judges often find themselves in the firing line, slated by the armchair judiciary or bar room barristers for failing to take a hard line on crime.
Those who see the justice system working close-up know it's a more complicated picture than that. The delicate balancing act that takes place each day was neatly demonstrated this week by two men who appeared before Judge Graeme Noble in the Christchurch District Court.
One was Geoffrey Twining, who was up for bank fraud charges, committed on parole and involving losses totalling more than $11,000. The other was Daniel Andrew McNally, who had shoplifted three times, trespassed twice, and pushed over a woman who tried to stop him getting away when he snatched money from a till.
Both men's offending was fuelled by their drug and alcohol addictions but that's about where the comparison stops.
Twining's offences date back nearly three years, but his life now is a stark contrast to how it was back then. Thanks in part to joining the methadone programme, he does not have to constantly offend to feed his addiction and he now has the care of his mother, for whom his offending over the years must have caused more than a little heartache.
"Everything has changed. I think it can be said with some confidence that you're not the same person now as the person who committed these offences," Judge Noble notes.
"You have made substantial changes and you've done well on the methadone programme, you've apparently given up your bad associations, and for these charges to be laid, there must have been a not insubstantial degree of co- operation from you to the police."
The change allows the judge to impose on Twining a sentence of 300 hours community service.
Next up is McNally, who had committed theft offences while drunk, been arrested, then went on to offend again on bail. The closest thing to a modus operandi in his booze-addled existence is his habit of targeting all-night supermarkets' wine aisles. Why, he does not plan to pay any way, he would go for the nasty spumantes and not the top pinot noirs suggests the level of his reasoning.
What particularly impresses Judge Noble is that McNally has now been offending for exactly half of his 30 years and, in stark contrast to Twining, nothing has changed.
"The pre-sentence report makes very dispiriting reading. You're a long-term drug and alcohol addict and you've been provided with every opportunity _ at taxpayers' expense _ to overcome your difficulties," he says.
"You begin but you never succeed and then you revert to form, which is exactly what happened here. Every sentencing option and every chance has been given to you but you're still assessed as a high risk of reoffending.
"I am asked to give you a final chance but I regret that I have to reject that. The only appropriate sentence is a not insubstantial term of imprisonment."
Moments later, McNally is heading to the cells to begin a 15-month jail term, knowing that the judge has blocked any hope that he might be released on home detention.
As he's led away, Twining is being taken to the probation office to go through the arrangements for his community service. The men exchange glances.
To some, Twining's offending on parole warrants him being thrown into jail without being released and Judge Noble has failed the community. To those who watched the two men dealt with, it's more like the delicate balancing act which goes on every day in the administration of justice.



Publication: CPL Date: 03 Oct 2003 Page: A 1
Headline: Drag race car owner sent to jail
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: DRAG RACING;COURTS;PUNISHMENT ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY;YOUTH )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 302 Source: Copyright: Flags:

A get-tough attitude to illegal drag racing has resulted in a Christchurch teenager being sent to jail even though he was not among the drivers involved in a tragic nine-car race.
Richard John Messervy, 18, was sentenced to nine months jail for lending his Honda Integra to a friend to take part in the drag race on Moorhouse Avenue.
The November 24 race ended in disaster when Messervy's car, driven by disqualified driver Jordan Mason, lost control at up to 120kmh when another of the racers veered in front of him. The speed limit in the area is 50kmh. Messervy's car crashed, severely injuring James Marsh, the driver of a car unconnected with the race, and traumatising his female passenger.
Prosecutor Kerry White did not seek a jail term for Messervy, who was found guilty of dangerous driving causing injury by being a party to Mason's participation in the drag race. A probation report recommended community service.
However, Christchurch District Court Judge Graeme Noble said a jail term was "the only appropriate sentence" for Messervy.
The jury had taken less than an hour to reject Messervy's claim that he was unaware that a race was going to take place.
"The verdict demonstrated that the community simply isn't going to tolerate this kind of conduct on our roads," the judge said.
"This was a busy road, with three lanes going in each direction.
"Mr Marsh and this young lady could have been killed."
Judge Noble was concerned the incident followed soon after Messervy had been convicted of drink-driving.
In January, Mason was jailed for 21 months for his part in the race, while several other drivers who took part have been imprisoned.
Messervy was sentenced to nine months jail, with leave to apply for home detention, and disqualified from driving for 18 months.



Publication: CPL Date: 03 Oct 2003 Page: A 9
Headline: Liquor ban finds varied expression in court
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: ALCOHOL;PARKS AND RESERVES;YOUTH ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY;LEGISLATION;POLICING;COURTS )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 464 Source: Copyright: Flags:

The ban on having alcohol in public places in central Christchurch started around the debating table of the Christchurch City Council.
But it's in the less salubrious environs of the Christchurch District Court that it's being administered, and a day in the main police court provides a gavel's eye view of how the new by-law works on the street.
There are almost a dozen facing this charge on this randomly chosen Wednesday and the first one up is a dishevelled youth who had been caught with a stubby of VB in City Mall.
He wasn't aware of the liquor ban that goes from 7pm to 7am inside the four avenues from Thursdays to Sundays but the police kindly explained the by-law to him.
Most likely because the VB was not his first, the news seemed to make little impact. He became reluctant to part with his beloved VB. Then he became argumentative. And then he became handcuffed.
The true stupidity behind all this became obvious when the inevitable police search revealed a stash of cannabis head in his pocket, with the result that he appeared in the dock charged with possession of a Class C drug as well as breaching the liquor ban.
Judge Graeme Noble summed it up: "All you had to do was pour the beer out and you wouldn't be here." Some $200 in fines and $260 in court costs later, our youth is pondering what is likely to be the most expensive stubby of his life and wondering whether he will ever be able to travel internationally again.
Next up is another unemployed teenager, who was found with a can of CD just after midnight in City Mall. He's eligible for diversion _ a scheme for first offenders that avoids a criminal conviction in return for a donation to charity _ but opts just to plead guilty instead and advances nothing in mitigation.
Judge Noble asks him: "Can you pay a fine?"
"Not really," our teen replies, but the judge is used to this sort of repartee. "So how are you able to buy liquor?" Checkmate. His wallet is soon $230 lighter and he's advised that the fine could assist him not to drink so much.
For nearly all the others who breached the liquor ban, it's their first criminal charges and they're offered diversion. Looking at the details of the offences, many of their choices of alcohol come from the more luridly coloured and flavoured end of the ready-to-drink spectrum, leading some to surmise that a more condign punishment would be to make them drink it rather than taking it away.
But as this lot churn their way through the system, another weekend's worth of liquor-ban breachers will be hitting the streets and the whole process will begin again.



Publication: CPL Date: 01 Oct 2003 Page: A 4
Headline: Bus driver 'had time to stop'
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: ROAD ACCIDENTS;BUSES;PEDESTRIANS ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY;COURTS;PUNISHMENT )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 460 Source: Copyright: Flags:

A notorious pedestrian black spot has left a Christchurch bus driver's career in tatters and an elderly doctor with permanent brain injuries.
Dr Colin Reece, 72, is one of the seven people who have been injured in collisions at the intersection of Colombo Street and Lichfield Street since the bus exchange opened just under three years ago.
The semi-retired GP was heading south along Colombo Street on a wet Saturday morning 15 months ago when he was struck by a bus driven by John Nigel Thomas Coppell, 37, which was turning from Colombo Street towards the bus exchange.
Dr Reece suffered fractured ribs and a fractured skull, leading to a brain injury that has left him unable to work or drive.
Coppell initially denied that his carelessness caused Dr Reece's injuries but changed his plea to guilty midway through a defended hearing at the Christchurch District Court.
His lawyer, Christopher Persson, described the accident on July 13 last year as having tragic consequences for both Dr Reece and Coppell, who was deeply remorseful.
"Coppell has a wife, who doesn't work, and two children, aged one and three," he said.
"He accepts he is going to lose his job as a bus driver because he will inevitably lose his licence.
"He has no idea what sort of employment he is going to do.
"He was training to be a St John Ambulance driver and with this conviction, that will be almost impossible."
Judge Graeme Noble said Coppell had been wise to change his plea, given that it was clear that Dr Reece was there to be seen as he headed south across the road with the walk sign.
"You would have had sufficient time to stop short or avoid him but sadly you simply didn't see him and this unfortunate accident occurred," he said.
"It's very easy to drive carelessly and we all do it _ mostly and fortunately, we get away with it and nothing happens.
"Dr Reece is a professional man who previously enjoyed good health but he's now in reduced circumstances and, sadly, his condition is likely to be permanent.
"His vision, balance, ability to taste and smell, and ability to drive have all been affected. He was carrying on a part-time medical practice until this accident."
The judge said Coppell's loss of his job was "regrettable but understandable". However, he discounted Coppell's conviction for a similar offence from 1999 because it was not considered serious enough by the courts at the time to justify disqualification.
He sentenced Coppell to 200 hours community service.
The judge also ordered him to pay Dr Reece $2000 reparation, although he deferred payments until the start of next year so Coppell could find work, and disqualified him from driving for six months.



Publication: CPL Date: 01 Oct 2003 Page: A 9
Headline: Rugby fan parted from booty
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: OVERSEAS VISITORS;RUGBY UNION;THEFT ( ITALY;CHRISTCHURCH CITY;CLOTHING )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s):
Edition: 2 Words: 373 Source: Copyright: Flags:

When it comes to getting in behind the All Blacks in the countdown to the Rugby World Cup, Domenico Larotonda has shown where his sentiments lie.
On his short stay in New Zealand, the 38-year-old Italian tourist amassed three All Blacks jerseys, a haka T-shirt, and even a pair of All Blacks booties _ whatever they are _ amid a stockpile of Kiwiana.
Maybe Larotonda was inspired by the present Italian rugby coach, legendary All Blacks wing John Kirwan? Or maybe it was just pragmatic choice given the regular triple-digit trouncings of his own national rugby team by the men in black.
It doesn't really matter. What mattered is that Larotonda hadn't paid for any of it and his All Blacks spoils were the result of his own light-fingered habits as he and his wife, Virginia Santarpia, toured the country's tourist spots.
Showing handling skills that were noticeably absent in the All Black lineout a few years ago, he had managed to pinch valuables from tourist shops in Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, and finally in Christchurch. And he hadn't been caught by any of the security systems in place.
Instead, he was caught when his wife tried to do the same with a bottle of expensive perfume in the central Christchurch Farmers store. When she was nabbed by store security, her husband's ill- gotten booty was found and he admitted its dodgy provenance.
The result was that they visited a venue rarely used by international tourists _ the dock of the Christchurch court _ where Larotonda pleaded guilty to five charges of shoplifting and his wife admitted one charge.
Not surprisingly, it was their first criminal conviction in New Zealand and Interpol records indicate they have never committed any offences back home either. Maybe they don't sell much All Blacks stuff in Italy?
Lawyer Tony Herring says the pair are booked on flights home today and can pay immediate fines, either on their credit cards or by changing euros.
That's fine by Judge Sharon McAuslan but she isn't going to give this pair any leeway after imposing fines and court costs totalling nearly $1200.
But perhaps the worst crime? Amid the collection were an Australian jersey and a French one. Some things are unforgivable.



Publication: CPL Date: 29 Sep 2003 Page: A 1
Headline: Stranded travellers find warm welcome
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: SNOW;TRAVEL ( MID CANTERBURY-BANKS PENINSULA )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s): PHOTOS: STACY SQUIRES Homeward bound: holidaymakers caught out by the sudden snowfall head out of Hanmer Springs yesterday. Running hot and cold: visitors to the hot pools at Hanmer Springs enjoy the spring snowfall.
Edition: 2 Words: 273 Source: Copyright: Flags:

Dozens of stranded travellers hunkered down in Arthurs Pass last night after being stuck by a polar blast but few were concerned by being stranded.
Sited in front of a roaring log fire at the bar of The Chalet, with the Warriors' rugby league game about to start and about 20cm of snow on the ground outside, the consensus among the marooned motorists was that they were a lot better off than being stuck in a snowdrift beside the road or in collisions with other cars.
Eight-year-old Jordan Russell, returning from a whitebaiting visit to the West Coast, got an extended holiday when his uncle and aunt were caught by the road closures.
"He's seen snow in Christchurch before but it's never been like this," his aunt Heather Russell said as they relaxed with a couple of glasses of wine and dinner in front of the fire.
"He wanted to build a snowman but he isn't really dressed for this."
Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing researcher Gabriele Reade reached Arthurs Pass in a rented car without snow chains but realised she was likely to be stuck for a while when she was unable to hire chains that fitted.
"I carry chains in August but not at this time of year," she said.
"It's quite exciting to be stuck here. It's nice and relaxing and it's good to have to slow down."
For tourists Sean Emms and Eve van Vlimmerman, spring had been in full swing at the Golden Bay backpackers where they work.
"It was perfect _ we had snow- fights with strangers. We've just come from summertime, swimming and kayaking," Mr Emms said.



Publication: CPL Date: 20 Sep 2003 Page: A 3
Headline: Jilted boyfriend guilty of murder
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: HOMICIDE ( CHRISTCHURCH CITY )
Section: NEWS Sub Section: NATIONAL
Caption(s): PHOTO: KIRK HARGREAVES Guilty: Chinese student Kai Ji was yesterday found guilty of murder.
Edition: 2 Words: 560 Source: Copyright: Flags:

A Chinese student has been jailed for life for the callous and brutal killing of the girlfriend who jilted him.
Kai Ji, 23, was found guilty of murder for running down Zhi Ping You, the 22-year-old language student from Beijing, in her own car and then deliberately driving over her body at least once as she lay bleeding and dazed on Christchurch's Port Hills.
Ms You crawled several metres from where she had been run over and finally bled to death from pelvic injuries three hours later, by which time Ji had tried to stage the killing as an accident and then sought help for himself from passersby.
Unknown to the jury, Ji had confessed to murdering Ms You in a statement to police the day after the September 23 murder.
But the part of the statement in which he said, through an interpreter, that he had intended to kill Ms You was not put before the jury after the defence successfully challenged its admissibility the day before the trial began.
Instead, Ji maintained that he was attempting suicide by driving off the road because he had gambled away $50,000 of his parents' money, but during the bid to kill himself Ms You was accidentally hit and then run over by the car without his knowledge.
His claim was at odds with his original statement to police that he was pursuing Ms You in her car as she walked home along the Summit Road to apologise for slapping her.
He hit her accidentally because of a combination of dust and wind and not having the headlights on. Both claims were at odds with the findings of crash-reconstruction expert John Raine, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Canterbury, who said the evidence suggested that Ms You was struck by the car while upright and then run over at least once in an entirely separate incident.
The jury also heard that Ji had been angry and violent when Ms You ended their relationship, including hitting her and her new boyfriend. A few days before her death, she had implored a friend not to leave her alone with Ji because she feared he was going to hit her.
The jury took about five hours to reject Ji's claim that Ms You's death was a tragic accident and find him guilty of murder.
Justice Hansen then imposed the mandatory life sentence on Ji, who showed no emotion at either being found guilty or sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in jail.
Once Ji was ushered from the dock, the judge turned to the jury and said he "concurred totally" with their decision.
"This has been quite an emotional case and while it may be he was attempting suicide when he drove off the road, I have not the slightest doubt that his actions afterwards were to conceal his crime," he said.
Justice Hansen said court staff would outline the psychological assistance available to juries who were affected by sitting on cases such as this one.
The jurors had to see autopsy photos showing the fatal injuries Ms You sustained when she was run over.
He also excused them from sitting on further trials for five years.
Prosecutor Chris Lange did not seek a minimum non-parole period beyond the automatic 10 years implicit with life imprisonment.
Murder hurts NZ _ A9



Publication: CPL Date: 20 Sep 2003 Page: A 9
Headline: Murder hurts NZ's reputation
Author: HENZELL John
Subjects: HOMICIDE;OVERSEAS VISITORS;STUDENTS ( SOCIAL SERVICES;CHRISTCHURCH CITY )
Section: FEATURES Sub Section: GENERAL
Caption(s): Life cut short: the body of victim Zhi Ping You was found in the Port Hills. When a 22-year-old Chinese student slowly bled to death on a windswept paddock above Christchurch a year ago, it was yet more bad news for the already tarnished reputation of one of New Zealand's biggest foreign currency earners. JOHN HENZELL reports. In memory: A cross marks the area where Zhi Ping You was murdered. Key evidence: the victim's sandal.
Edition: 2 Words: 1124 Source: Copyright: Flags:

When a 22-year-old Chinese student slowly bled to death on a windswept paddock above Christchurch a year ago, it was yet more bad news for the already tarnished reputation of one of New Zealand's biggest foreign currency earners. JOHN HENZELL reports.
At first glance, Zhi Ping You's lonely death a year ago had nothing to do with nationality and everything to do with a far more universal human storyline _ the love triangle.
After all, Kai Ji is hardly the first jealous and obsessive young man driven to take the life of the woman he professed to love because she jilted him for a rival. The setting for the tragedy _ all three were learning English at the same private Christchurch college _ was surely no more than incidental.
But as Kai Ji begins a life jail term for her murder, the ripples from his crime have already spread beyond his family and that of his victim. It's yet another headline that will further sully New Zealand's reputation as a good place to learn English.
There have been a few already. Only a fortnight ago, one of the largest English schools in the country _ Modern Age Institute of Learning, with one of its four campuses in Christchurch _ went into liquidation, leaving out in the cold 500 students who had pre-paid for both the course and their accommodation.
Add that to the headlines, repeated in major Chinese newspapers, about the prevalence of standover tactics and extortion within the international student community in this country and it's understandable why some will wonder whether choosing New Zealand will mean trouble inside the classroom as well as outside.
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