Organisers of the Undie 500 were unable to control the fringe
elements "down there", so Canterbury student leaders have
turned the key off for the infamous Canterbury car rally to
Student riots on Dunedin streets last Friday and Saturday,
which resulted in more than 60 arrests, caused the University
of Canterbury Students' Association president Steve Jukes to
admit organisers "cannot control every element down there".
"The UCSA and ENSOC (the Engineering Society of Canterbury
which organised the annual rally), have resolved not to run
the Undie 500 to Dunedin in the foreseeable future," Mr Jukes
"We are unable to account for those people, students or
otherwise, who have used the event as an excuse for violence
and anti-social behaviour," he said.
ENSOC president, Carl Shrimpton, said the society was
disappointed the Undie 500, ENSOC and the wider student body
had been brought into disrepute by the actions of a small
Faced by the onslaught of criticism, particularly from
police, Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin and Dunedin North MP, Pete
Hodgson, Mr Shrimpton said the student leaders had jointly
decided the rally must take another form and another
direction, in the future.
Both Mr Jukes and Mr Shrimpton stressed any future rally
would not involve Dunedin.
"It is too early to say," Mr Shrimpton said when asked what
form the rally would take next year.
"ENSOC and the UCSA exerted as much authority as we could
over participants of the Undie 500," Mr Jukes said.
"What we couldn't do - and what it now seems we can never do
- is exert authority on those hangers-on or those other
students and young people that head to Dunedin to use this as
an excuse for violence or anti-social behaviour.
"It's clear to us that the risks are far too great for the
Undie 500 charity drive to continue to Dunedin in any
unchecked measure," Mr Jukes said.
University of Canterbury vice chancellor Dr Rod Carr believed
it was no longer in the interests of students personally or
professionally, to be associated with the event in its
current form, either as participants or organisers.
"I think it's a wise decision and we support them," Dr Carr
He agreed with the students that the key issue was their
inability to keep control of the event and said this was the
case with any similar event, run by students or any other
"I think ENSOC has acted responsibly," Dr Carr said.
Mr Shrimpton said the decision to turn off the ignition of
the Undie 500 was made by himself and the rest of the ENSOC
committee and was not made because of any outside pressure.
"I think this is clear evidence of students listening and
being responsible," Mr Jukes added.
Attention now turns to the upcoming "Hammered in Hanmer"
event, also run by ENSOC, which will be held in Hanmer
Springs this weekend but Mr Jukes says that he doesn't
foresee any problems.
"I'm not nervous about it at all. It's going to a back
paddock in the north of Canterbury -- it's about four wheel
driving, it's about a jetboat event; they've got lots of
plans in a confined, controlled area," he said.
"They've (ENSOC) got things well in hand."
The Undie 500, a car rally between Christchurch and Dunedin
in vehicles worth under $500 in which students and their
vehicles were "dressed up", had been running since the early
1980s, according to Dr Carr.