Dunedin didn’t have the plethora of drinking options available today when I was a student there in the mid 70s. The Cook, The Bowling Green or the relatively new Gardies were the three most popular.
We weren’t supposed to be on licensed premises until we were 20 back then. although policing of the purchase age was far less strict than it is now and financial limitations probably had a greater impact than legal ones on our ability to buy booze.
In those days before student loans, when tertiary education was “free” we had only the money earned in holidays to see us through the year and, at least in my circle of friends and flatmates, there wasn’t enough over for much alcohol.
I have vague memories of a few trips to the Gardies but nothing of note so wasn’t planning to join the hordes expected there over the weekend to mark its closure.
Those who had planned a last drink at the pub which has been sold to the University of Otago, had their plans foiled when the Gardies served its last drink and closed its doors at midnight on Friday.
The early closure was to avoid any trouble. I understand why but it’s a sad indictment on society that the publican couldn’t trust the patrons to mark the closure without causing trouble.
The Robbie Burns may not have quite the reputation as The Cook or the Gardens, but it too has for many years hosted its fair share of Otago students.
Yesterday it was host to a different clientele as the venue for the joint launch of the election campaigns for National’s Dunedin North and South candidates, Michael Woodhouse and Conway Powell.
There was standing room only and a wide range of ages with a good number of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s as well as older people including Percy Wellington, who has been a member for 67 years; and former Speaker Sir Robin Gray.
The speeches were short – an introduction by Katherine Rich, followed by John Key then the two candidates. The messages were similar – New Zealand and Dunedin need National and the party has the right people for the huge task facing the in-coming government, whatever its stripes.
One of the strengths of MMP is that it enables parties to have an MP is an area where they might not win an electorate. Katherine Rich has been a strong advocate for Dunedin and its people and an asset for National in the city and around the country.
John told the ODT that Dunedin would need a high calibre replacement for Katherine and that both candidates were high calibre. I agree.