Friends (from left) Jorja Brouwer (16), Amelia Gaskill and
Emily Mathias (both 17) shop up a storm in Dunedin
yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Tills rang, traffic jammed and retailers celebrated as
tens of thousands of people flooded central Dunedin yesterday.
As anticipated, the promise of Boxing Day bargains drove
locals and holidaymakers into shops and eateries.
A conservative estimate put about 27,000 people passing
through the Meridian mall, although exact numbers were not
known last night.
The persistent rain ruled out most outdoor activities in and
around the city, and museums and the movie theatre reaped the
benefits of a wet holiday.
Two cruise ships, Sun Princess and Dawn
Princess, were also in the city, with a combined 3800
passengers and 1800 crew.
The Otago Daily Times spoke to many staff in national
retail outlets and local businesses, all of whom reported
being very busy.
They thanked the wet weather, cruise ships and Boxing Day
sales for the day's profits.
Paymark expected to release figures for Boxing Day spending
throughout Otago and the rest of the country in the coming
It calculated more than $200 million was spent in Otago
between December 1 and Christmas Day. Police urged motorists
to be patient as heavy traffic clogged intersections in the
Cruise ship passengers Helen Miller and Emily Zerella, both
of Adelaide, were rapt with the shopping opportunities along
''She's talking about buying another carry-on,'' Ms Miller
said of her friend.
As a result, they were not at all disappointed by the
Farmers department store manager Shelly Gilchrist said the
rain was bringing a good crowd of shoppers through the doors.
''It's a typical Boxing Day, but with the boats [cruise
ships] in too and the rain, what else is there to do in this
weather?'' she said.
Emily Mathias, of Dunedin, said the shopping was great.
''It's hard not to buy more,'' she said.
It was also hard to find a seat in a cafe as shoppers took
breaks from their retail therapy and others escaped the rain.
Large numbers of people trying to find parks in the central
city also clogged up streets, slowing traffic.
Staff at both Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and Otago Museum
said they were ''very busy'' with visitors.
Otago Museum's Francesca Allen said the weather brought many
large family groups in as well as a large number of cruise
With Hoyts closed, Rialto movie theatre staff were unsure if
the busy day was due to the wet weather, new movies starting,
or the lack of competition.
In contrast, Moana Pool staff were surprised at how quiet the
pool complex was yesterday.