Banding together to get into the Hyde St party

The Blokettes, equipped with green wrist bands, were among those who made it into the Hyde St keg...
The Blokettes, equipped with green wrist bands, were among those who made it into the Hyde St keg party this year. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Student Stacey Fletcher writes of Hyde St keg party 2013, the year of the tight restrictions.

The Hyde St keg party has had a lot of negative criticism over the years, and every morning after, there are guaranteed to be stories focusing on the arrests and casualties that those who attended would definitely tell you weren't actually as bad as they seem. It's messy and loud, destructive and chaotic, but it was always one of the highlights of the year for us students.

The event has been a part of life at Otago University for a time longer than most locals would probably care to remember. Most of New Zealand would have heard of it, Google refers to the event as ''notorious'', and students travel from all over New Zealand to attend.

Each year there was talk of the event being cancelled, because somebody's roof would end up in the living room or the behaviour of the students had ''just gone too far this year'' but it was a prospect none of us saw happening in our time at Dunedin until 2013 proved us wrong.

By the time the plans for Hyde St were finalised we were informed of a 3500-word limit and the exclusion of first years. Surely, this was a joke? The Hyde St we were used to was so big it spilled on to the neighbouring streets, and first years were spotted from a mile away because they approached in packs clinging together as if they were entering a cemetery at midnight.

It was unfathomable to most how Hyde St entry could be excluded. The organisers had a plan for everything though.

You decide you're going to jump the fence on the day, they had police officers waiting for you in the garden. You think you're just going to sit in one of the houses and say you're friends with the occupants, you were quizzed how you know them and them you, and even if you passed that test you weren't allowed outside the front door without a wristband.

Hyde St was now presenting us with problems far bigger than what to dress up as. We now needed a wristband and a student ID to enter, immediately ruling out the attendance of one flatmate. For the first time the decision was whether or not to go, as we would have to get our hands on a ticket first.

We found out very soon the ticket idea was no go, as we arrived at uni on the day of sales to find a line stretching from the OUSA building to the other side of campus, and didn't recognise a single person in it.

Then we thought we were saved. There was talk everywhere about how easy it would be to get into Hyde St, as the wrist bands required were simply the green ones you are given at Moana pools to ride the slide. Some keen entrepreneurs were claiming they had contacted the manufacturers of the bands in order to buy them in bulk and sell them on to their fellow students.

This idea was quickly shut down also, as we later heard of police searching houses looking for these counterfeit bands. With some of these declarations turning out to be pranks upon police inquiry, it was looking like Hyde St was going to be more problematic than previous years and it hadn't even started.

The day arrived and we had decided to dress up anyway, as surely we would find a way in at some point in the day? Everywhere we looked people had wristbands on and we were worried we would end up the only ones not being able to get in.

As it turned out, our way in came when we acquired bands of our own, and it was OK, because we were assured they were ''legit''. We would be able to attend Hyde St like it was any other year.

The problem was this wasn't any other year, it was the year of very tight restrictions, and my wristband was cut off on entry along with most other people I know. It was a very quick and hassle-free rejection; we were just turned away and sort of laughed at. Those at the gate commended me for our attempts though, which was nice.

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