Gardens may host more concerts

The Chills preform at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens on Sunday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Chills preform at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens on Sunday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
More events such as the successful Chills concert on Sunday could be scheduled for the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

Garden managers were generally happy with the way the garden stood up to its biggest crowd so far, so much so they would consider doing it again.

Botanic garden curator Alan Matchett said the estimated 3000-plus people who attended the hour-long concert at the garden's bandstand on Sunday, were, by and large, respectful of the garden and its plant-life.

A few patches of flattened grass were the only casualties from the gentle stamping of many of feet.

It was the biggest crowd the garden had hosted for a short concert and some measures, such as partitioning areas off, were taken to try to mitigate any damage to grass or garden beds. Afterwards, there was little to be concerned about, he said.

The only negative was a few people blocking pathways, and some vandalism the previous night when portaloos were overturned and roses pulled up. Having the event alcohol-free had probably added to the generally positive result, he said.

The garden administration would consider all future event requests but, with the right sort of event, there was ''probably no reason not to have something like this again''.

''Hopefully, people enjoyed it and appreciated the garden.''

Council marketing and communications manager Graham McKerracher said the council, in conjunction with garden management, was hoping to open up the garden to similar events.

''We were just dipping our toes in the water, and now we're thinking about other things we can have there.''

The Out of Towners, 1989

Events surrounding The Plaza are coming back to me as well. I arrived in Dunedin in the company of an English newspaper journalist. The ODT headline read: 'Not Possible To Save Historic Building'. The Sun reporter would have headed the story 'Council Vandals Destroy Historic Place!'. It's all in the way you look at things.

Plaza Theatre

ej kerr: you are correct.....forgive my was over 20 years ago. As Maxwell Smart would say...."missed it by...that much"!


It's just a front

A mock facade at McD's. Did they serve mock turtle soup?

McDonald's - George St

sceptical, McDonald's at 232 George St retains the older facade above the verandah line (see Google Street View). The building that replaced what you refer to as the "Plaza Theatre Mall" is to the immediate left of McDonald's - it has a double height facade, an ornamented raised parapet and a 'balcony' verandah, with a single storey building behind it to the street (234 George St).

Theatre on George St

Probably the Plaza Theatre, later turned into a mall (of sorts) "Plaza Theatre Mall", burned down in 1989, demolished and rebuilt as McDonald's with a mock heritage facade.

Don't forget to factor in...

...the opportunity costs of not selling the gardens for residential development.  I mean, why would any city in their right mind maintain botanical gardens - they don't return a profit to ratepayers.

Development cost

Thanks Autonomouse, you beat me to the response but don't forget to add in Mike's share of the initial development cost of the gardens and any associated financial/interest cost.

Derelict on George St

Out of interest, was the derelict theatre The State, the facade of which was preserved?

Events fund

Surely the "events fund" could be used to pay some of the costs of holidng concerts in the gardens. Wellington has been doing this for many years and it is very well attended and appreciated.

If the $.5M was paid directly to entertainers rather than salaries for boffins in suits we'd have many many performers wanting to come to the city. What's the bet the events fund money is used to woo the bankrupt rugby union!

That's Great

That's great Mike, so I take it my next rates bill will go down by $49.02.

Thanks for that.


Mike: The hypocrisy you are now displaying is immense.  You constantly spout figures of hundreds of thousands of dollars to open the stadium for individidual events, but then throw out a wild claim of $100 for an entire season of bands at the botanical gardens.  Using the logic you have proclaimed on numerous occassions you should be taking into account the costs associated with the everyday upkeep of the gardens, the sound systems, the advertising, all the staff contained within, the additional staff required for hosting such events (I must have seen at least a dozen security guards), the list of ancillary costs goes on and on. 

At least now perhaps you can put your ranting to rest knowing that you may well have paid $50 - $60 to see the Chills play at a private venue, but instead you got to see it for free, which was an event that 95% of ratepayers did not partake in.  Consider having now made the most of your equivalent stadium contribution.

Making your own fun

dundeeboy: you know what, since all I'm suggesting is that they open the bandstand and let local bands set up there to show themelves off for free  - just like people used to do in that delirict theatre off of Geeorge St that's now a mall back in the day.

The only cost is going to be the electricity -  I'll volunteer to pay for the lot - all the electricity for all the bands for the rest of the year, for everyone in the entire city to come and see, provided they're like this past weekend's crowd and are respectfull and look after the Gardens while they are there. I bet it will run, ooooh ... to a massive $100 for the entire year.

You and your mates will be picking up the losses for the rugby at the stadium I presume?

See that's the difference between making your own fun and expecting others to pay for your fun for you - you worry about the costs and actually bother to make choices that are cheaper.

Speaking of garden entertainment...

I was unable to attend the concert but so glad it was a success.  I was, however, fortunate enough to attend the Festival of Light in the Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.  It was magical!  I was absolutely amazed and delighted with the experience, and there were literally hundreds of other people there enjoying it too.  From babes in arms to oldies; the able bodied and the infirm.  How easy it would be to incorporate something like this, albeit on a smaller scale, in our own Botanic Gardens.  I actually had to join a queue of people to add my coins to the donation box!  I guess the initial set up costs would be expensive, but so very well worth it in the long run; not to mention the sheer joy and togetherness it brought to the people.  And better still, we already own the land!  Just a thought!

Open Mike

Mike I cannot believe a man of your principles would attend such an event without paying for a ticket that would cover the full price of staging said event.

Why should the ratepayers have to subsidise you and your gardening/music listening mates having your fun.

You obviously couldn't see the duck pond from where you were sitting or you probably would have been reminded 'whats good for the goose is good for the gander'

It certainly was a great hour, but...

why not make it a great afternoon?  When the Chills finished their set after an hour I was expecting someone else to take the stage, but nope, that was it.  It was a bit of a shame to go through all the efforts of setting up the sound system et al for a one hour show, when choirs, magicians, dance troupes etc etc etc would all have been warmly received by the crowd thereafter.

I'm certainly not complaining, as I applaud the DCC for this community event, I'm just encouraging the development of the concept.

Open Mike

Excellent, it was a great concert - how about "open mike" for emerging local bands - every 2 weeks through summer offer 3 1 hour sets on a Sunday afternoon to Dunedin bands, let bands who want the exposure sign up.

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