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June 5, 2018 | by  | in Features |
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What’s Your Opinion?

Originally I wasn’t planning to write an opinion piece at all. It felt a bit greedy to write one when I get an editorial every week. But our designer Ruby said to me, “you’re the editor, you should. I’m doing one even though I can’t write for shit”. And here I am. Guys, I tried really hard to come up with a good opinion. “You’re the editor,” I told myself, “you have to come up with the best, most wittiest, most original opinion piece”. Of course, that thought made the writing so goddamn easy. So instead of writing an opinion piece, I decided to go out to Courtenay place on a Thursday night and ask for the opinions of random drunk people. Journalism. Enjoy.
The first bar I went to was Hotel Bristol. It was 10pm. A band was playing blues, and there was a singular group of old people standing around leaning against the bar, listening, and taking turns to get up and sing. The old ladies got up to dance. It was super wholesome, they were all absorbed in the music and I felt rude to interrupt them with my pretentious millenial questions. So when one of the old ladies finished a drawn out rendition of “Summertime”, I left.

Danger Danger was crowded, and the people inside were drunk. I yelled up at a young, dress-shirt-wearing blond dude on the balcony, “do you have an opinion?”. “Of what?” he asks. “Of anything,” I say. “I like strippers. And money,” he says. I ask him, “which do you like more, money or strippers?”
He replies, “Strippers. But you need money for strippers, you get me?”
The next guy I met was smoking a durry outside Residence. Hoodie pulled up. Quiet eyes. “Kindness means everything at the end of the day,” he tells me. I walk past an old man on the street, I’ve seen him rapping/mumbling into the microphone on Cuba. His name is Colin.”I don’t really have time for an opinion” he says. “I have to keep an eye on the people — I’m fundraising for Africa you see.” The Danger Danger “strippers and money” guy walks past us, in a group of friends. Someone in that group throws some Dreamgirls dollars into his hat.
Colin starts talking again. He talked for a good minutes. “You want an opinion? Well, Stuart Murray Wilson, in America, was in jail for some sex matter, it may have been with children, it was the top of the news, he couldn’t go anywhere in public… and this man down south, David Gray, he killed 13 people, only got a few years…”. “You think that’s unfair?” I ask. “Yeah yeah,” he says. “They go and make a big deal about sex and don’t focus on the big issues…”.
Outside Dakota, I ask a bearded guy in his late 20s for his opinion. “Opinion on what?” he asks. “Anything,” I say. “That’s a hard one,” he says. “I’m drawing a blank. What do you want an opinion about?”. “Feminism,” I tell him. “Progressive,” he says. “Free speech,” I say next. “Progressive,” he says. “Your opinion on progressive,” I say. “A good thing I guess,” he says.
“These is the worst type of people to ask,” he added. “Mostly pissed, mostly left wing.” I ask him, “where do I find the pissed right wing people?”. “Inside here,” he gestures to the bar. “Or Lower Hutt.”
Wellington Sports Cafe. I accost a guy in his late 40s, nursing his jug alone, staring into the night. He wears a Holden shirt. “Do you drive?” I ask. “Not anymore,” he says. “Why not?” “Because I want to drink,” he says. “Can’t do both.”
On the way back, I pass the same people. I nod at them kind of awkwardly but I don’t know if they recognise me.
One of the last people I ask was a boy, round faced, early 20s, eating a pie outside Fix. “Do you have an opinion?” I ask him. He looks at me, bewildered. “No?” he says. “Any at all?” I ask. “No?” he says again, now looking vaguely alarmed. I leave him to eat his pie in peace.

At the street corner opposite, a girl with dyed-brown hair approaches me. “I have a question for you,” she says. “Yeah?” She looks me in the eye. “What’s your opinion?” she says. I panic. (Should have seen this coming though.) “I have lots of opinions…” I equivocate. “But what’s your opinion?” she repeats. “Opinions are hard to find,” I say at last, thinking of the pie-eating boy. “What’s yours?”
“Opinions are free” she says, walking away.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this