As I finished getting petrol in Dunedin on Friday evening a couple of young women in fancy dress rushed up and asked me to sign their arms as one of the things they needed for a scavenger hunt.
The bloke who took my money explained it was one of the activities for Undie 500 weekend and he was pleased he wouldn’t be working the following night because the last time the Undie 500 hit town the Saturday night was no fun for workers.
As I drove north a couple of hours later I noticed a large contingent of police on the outskirts of the city and an almost constant stream of cars heading south.
There was no sign of anything amiss when we passed through the campus yesterday.
Today we spotted dozens of decorated vehicles like this one heading north:
Several stopped at Moeraki. Their occupants looked tired but sober.
From what we’d seen, the Undie 500 hadn’t been undone by alochol-fulled foolishness. But when we caught up with the news: we realised we’d obviously seen only the better behaved bits of the weekend:
Police arrested between 50 and 60 people. This follows the 20 arrests made on Friday night. The weekend’s violence and disorder saw the highest number of arrests in recent years.
It’s not the Undie 500 by itself, but students say:
Students from Otago believe that the tradition of the Undie 500, even if it didn’t start with bad intentions, will continue to attract people that want to riot. . .
. . . Jason Bay (21), a second-year management student who organised a sausage sizzle on Castle St on Friday night, believes that “[the students] just reach a certain degree of drunk after which you either get violent, or let nothing in the way of stopping you partying.
“I think the cops did a good job overall, but they can’t always distinguish who are being dickheads or who just want to have fun.”
It’s very difficult to distinguish the dickheads from the people just wanting to have fun in this ODT video. But those who end up in court are likely to find the judge puts most of them in the former category.