Once again the Otago Daily Times has “reported” on the debauchery that is Dunedin’s annual Hyde Street Party.
In previous years the ODT has ripped the event to shreds with sensationalist headlines and inflated arrest statistics. However, with an instant roof fine of $1000 and a threat of a total scarfie liquor ban, everything “seemed under control” for 2015.
Landlord Phil Seaton remarked that the kegger “went well” and that in the last two years he’d seen a “great improvement with how they control it”. Seaton said that Hyde Street was an important experience for students.
Additionally, a spokesperson for Dunedin Hospital said that the number of people presented to the emergency department was “no busier than usual”.
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The Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) has run the event for the past three years. Paul Hunt, OUSA president, said they coordinate with police and the Dunedin City Council and have introduced safety measures to ensure the event continues.
Despite this year seeing one partygoer smashing an ambulance windshield, and 15 people arrested, the event has become safer since OUSA took over running the event.
Organisers and volunteers had expected the party would mimic last year’s event with almost 4000 general admission tickets sold out in three and a half minutes.
In a statement, OUSA said that the “overall impression of the day was very positive” and that “the total arrests at the party represent just 0.3 per cent of the total ticket holders for this event and are on par with previous years.”
Josie Cochrane, editor of Otago student magazine Critic, said it was “a great day” and that she “only saw a couple of incidents where they didn’t look like they were having a safe time … it was safer than a lot of rugby games I’ve been to.”
Cochrane said she had spoken to the Proctor (responsible for overseeing student discipline at Otago) and the Vice-Chancellor, both of whom had agreed the event went well.
Dunedin’s Scarfie culture of extreme binge drinking has been somewhat curtailed in recent years. Popular student bars including the Garden Tavern (Gardies), the Bowling Green (the Bowler) and the Captain Cook have closed, and once-annual events such as the Toga Parade, the Cookathon and the Undie 500 have been banned.
Despite this, the ODT printed its usual screed against student culture and supported it with seemingly contradictory police statements.
One article reported that that police were satisfied that the event could be made a “safe and enjoyable occasion for all students.” Another article stated “the Hyde Street event was far from being what police deemed a safe event.”
While an editorial insisted “no-one begrudges young people a chance to let off steam”, Salient would like to point out that the ODT certainly seems to.
Hyde Street headlines from the ODT
“Close to the edge”
“Student’s attack on ambulance slammed”
“Drunken incidents mar Hyde Street party”
“On watch as young cut loose in Studentville”
“No hiding party’s stressful shards”
“Police slate Hyde St party organisers”
“Partygoers still get too drunk: Hayne”
“Ultimatum over Hyde St party”
“Pupils gatecrashing a worrying trend”
“Hayne’s Hyde Street warning”
“Hyde St flats to stash mates”
“Taxi company expects more keg party hassles”
“Raw video: roof collapsing at Hyde Street keg party”
“Should Hyde Street keg party be banned?”
“Landlords say stop Hyde Street keg party”
“Spotlight on ‘crazy’ keg party”
“Keg party costs high”
“Hyde Street party impacts on ED wait times”
“Hyde Street party has had its day”
“Student hot spots will be monitored”
“Student hits back over Hyde Street”
“Dunedin police battle booze-fuelled mayhem”
“Idiotic behaviour angers fire fighters”
“Street parties out of control”
“Student knocked out at Hyde Street brawl”
“Bedlam on Hyde Street: a student perspective”
“Nine arrests at Hyde Street”
“Hopes for quiet Hyde St party”