Hayne's Hyde St warning

Working on a seaside theme for a Hyde St flat are (from left) Anna Dowd (20), Matisse Begg (20),...
Working on a seaside theme for a Hyde St flat are (from left) Anna Dowd (20), Matisse Begg (20), Marguerite Larvin (21) and Charlotte Haselden (20).
Looking forward to partying are (from left) Simon Orr (19), Kris Leatherby (19), Seb Gower (20)...
Looking forward to partying are (from left) Simon Orr (19), Kris Leatherby (19), Seb Gower (20) Jack Kelly (19), William Gorton (19), Connor Chamberlain (19) and Tom Goldfinch (19).
Landlord John Leslie follows preparations yesterday outside a flat that he owns in Hyde St....
Landlord John Leslie follows preparations yesterday outside a flat that he owns in Hyde St. Photos by Stephen Jaquiery.

Today's Hyde St keg party will serve as a ''test case'', and if it gets out of hand the North Dunedin liquor ban could be back on the table, University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne says.

This comes after last year's party was marred by 18 arrests, the collapse of a roof overloaded with partygoers and 80 people requiring treatment by St John.

The Otago University Students' Association has introduced a range of measures to try to make sure last year's problems are not repeated, including limiting numbers to between 3000 and 3500 and charging for tickets.

OUSA president Francisco Hernandez and Prof Hayne agreed the future of the party would be in doubt if behaviour did not improve this year.

''If things get out of hand this year, OUSA and the university, in collaboration with the police, the Fire Service, the Emergency Department and the city council will be thinking very carefully about what happens next,'' Prof Hayne said.

A renewed interest in the liquor ban was also a ''possible consequence'' if things went wrong, she said.

''It is important for students to remember that the liquor ban was put on hold last year, on the proviso that students could drink responsibly in the streets of Dunedin.''

''Hyde St is a good chance for them to show us that they can do it,'' Prof Hayne said.

She was happy with the OUSA's efforts in trying to make this year's party safer, but ultimately, it would come down to the behaviour of students who attended. Those who did cross the line would be dealt with by the proctor under the code of student conduct, she said.

Some students spoken to by the Otago Daily Times and also on OUSA's Facebook page have said they would break in to the party after missing out on tickets.

Mr Hernandez said he was aware of students planing to put on counterfeit wristbands as a way of getting into the party, but warned that police would be able to tell they were fake, as the wristbands handed out by OUSA included serial numbers.

People thinking about breaking in or causing trouble needed to consider not just themselves but the wider student body, because if things went wrong the party could be no more and a liquor ban would be introduced, he said.

''It's not just them that they are jeopardising. It's the future of the scarfie culture, which is what makes the university what it is.''

Hyde St landlord John Leslie said he was confident this year's party would run more smoothly and was happy with the effort OUSA and others had made to make it safer.

Dunedin was lucky to have such a large and vibrant student population and the city should support events such as the Hyde St keg party, Mr Leslie said.

Hyde St resident Seb Gower (20) said there were ''mixed feelings'' on the street about the restrictions introduced this year. However, he accepted it was important to strike the right balance between the ''riot'' some residents wanted and the organised event OUSA was pushing for, Mr Gower said.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment

 

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter