A crackdown on out-of-control drinking in North Dunedin has
pushed student parties into the Dunedin Botanic Garden,
leaving garden staff to clean up the mess.
Garden team leader Alan Matchett said the mess left behind
ranged from vomit and broken bottles to coloured dye in the
pond at the Mediterranean garden - something that had done
deliberately twice in the past month.
The occasional game of ''possum'' - which involves drinking
in trees, until drinkers fall out of their tree - was still
being played in the garden, he said.
Parties in the garden were ''quite frequent'' and had become
more of an issue in recent years, as the university and
authorities cracked down on drinking in the north end.
The increasing number of parties in the garden was of concern
because cleaning up took up staff time and the mess and noise
affected the experience of other visitors.
''Sometimes it happens during daylight hours and, of course,
they are making such a row [and] if the guys are peeing
anywhere ... it's not a good sight for our visitors.''
The most recent incident of dye in the Mediterranean garden
pond was thought to be connected to the paint party, but
staff erred on the side of caution and had the pond pumped,
because of fears the dye could be toxic and leak into Lindsay
Creek, Mr Matchett said.
''It might have been someone having a wash on their way
During Reorientation Week there had been ''at least three
occasions'' of people doing the ice challenge - where
participants are doused with a bucket of ice cold water,
often after consuming alcohol - also at the Mediterranean
garden, which was a bit of party hot-spot.
In other parts of the garden students had put detergent in
fountains, which was a danger to ducks and seagulls.
''Detergent dissolves all the oil in their feathers [and]
they can get waterlogged and drown.''
University student services director Karyn Thomson said
antisocial or dangerous behaviour was of concern to the
''However, it must be remembered that we do have several
thousand young people attending this university who form a
large part of the risk-taking group of society.''
The proctor's office and Campus Watch worked closely with
Botanic Garden staff in a ''mainly preventive'' role, she
''On some occasions, groups of students have been found
drinking in the gardens and moved on after they have cleaned
up their mess.
''This is not a regular occurrence, but when offending
students can be identified, donations are taken from them to
cover the cost of any damage and the [garden] receives these
Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken, of Dunedin, said police had
been called ''a number of times'' to the garden to move on
partying young people.
''It's not a place where people should be boozing up and
leaving bottles and breaking bottles.''