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In good spirits, they were moved on from a clearing in the upper gardens, near Lovelock Ave, just after 6pm.
They left behind alcohol bottles and bags of rubbish.
Two first-year law students, one from Selwyn College and another from Unicol, who did not want to be named, said they had nowhere else to drink and were not causing any problems.
"We have a choice of either here or the street."
He believed it was safer on the street than on the side of the road and said students would continue to drink in the Botanic Garden unless they were given somewhere else to go.
The other said a lot of them were annoyed about being moved on, given they were above the legal drinking age and there was no alcohol ban in the Botanic Garden.
However, he could understand some members of the public might be annoyed at the mess they left behind when they drank in the gardens.
They tried to keep the mess to the minimum, everyone was in good spirits and no-one was hassling people who passed by.
"It’s a great day, it’s a Saturday afternoon and this is sort of the last weekend blowout before exams."
A police spokeswoman, asked why the group were moved on, would only say the group "appeared intoxicated and were using foul language".
She could not confirm "whether the group was asked to move on by the officers", but no arrests were made.
Dunedin City Council staff did not respond to a request for comment.
It was the second big gathering in the garden broken up by police in recent weeks, following reports of disorder during a keg party involving about 100 students, some of whom were "heavily intoxicated", on September 17.