You Know You’re From Dunedin When….

….. A 3 day weekend meant an all expenses paid getaway to your, or your family friend’s crib/bach in Purakanui, Taieri Mouth, Karitane, or Waikouaiti.

….. You have on more than one occasion, recounted the time that a guy did a belly-flop off the tower of Moana Pool’s original dive pool, and split his tummy open. You know this because your “cousin” was most definitely there on the same day.

But they were “conveniently” outside when it happened.

….. Speaking of Moana Pool, you also swore that either you, or your cousin was there the day that someone fixed razorblades into the hydroslide at Moana Pool. You sported blisters on the balls of your feet from recent running up the spiralled corridor towards said hydroslide entrance as unquestionable proof that you were there.

“Aurgh, something bit me!”

….. You went to celebrate Otago’s 150th anniversary on Portsmouth Drive and this was possibly the first time you ever got drunk from rocket fuel. You and a friend may, or may not, have filled your drink bottles up with assorted alcohol from the soccer club bar when nobody was looking. Good times.

….. You were made to go to the Early Settlers Museum with your primary school but to this day cannot remember what the fuck was in it apart from those two large steam trains visible to all passers-by. Nor do many people even care what was in it. (I do and I aim to go back and check it out one day).

Platform 9 3/4 … not actually in London.

….. You were somewhat disappointed with your very first “Smokefree Rockquest” experience at the age of 14, upon realising that there was an abundance of neither sex nor drugs (and very little occurence of rock and/or roll, if we are being honest with ourselves). Almost gave up on the dream forever, but didn’t, because you and your best friend managed to see a free Feelers performance at Echo Records the following weekend.

….. You have eagerly attended one or more of the following parties: “party at the Pro”, a party at the Alhambra clubrooms, a random “hall party” in the Fairfield Scouts’ Hall, a piss up at the South Coast Boardriders, the Hyde St keg party (where the abundance of Auckland students made you feel dirty), a Kings High School formal after-party (whether or not you attended said formal was completely irrelevant, thank you very much), the weekly Woodhaugh Gardens/in the bushes at the Otago Museum/ Dinosaur Park underage drinking session.

You may, or may not, have dressed as a member of the KKK to the Hyde St Bad taste party.

….. You entered a Science Fair because you were made to, during your intermediate school years. You and your friend just printed page after page of information on the human brain directly from Encarta 95, stuck it all on a cardboard display labelled “The Human Brain”, and crossed your fingers. Although you didn’t make it through to being on display at the main competition, you didn’t get told off by your teacher, and that’s all you had aimed for, so everyone was happy.

….. The best summers of your life were spent walking to St. Kilda Beach with your mates, getting the oldest looking kid to buy you a pack of Holiday ciggies for $5.20 from the dairy with the Turtle on it (opposite the Beach Hotel) and heading over to the beach for a day of surfing, smoking durries and trying to get a tan using baby oil, in 24 degree weather. When the wind came up, you would head over to the dinosaur park for some massive $1.40 double scoop ice-creams from Noah’s Ark shop, go grab some more $5.20 smokes and head home to shower, before walking around to the nearest school playground with your gang to continue smoking durries and play spin the ice-cream soda bottle with the guys. Cos really you were just a skank looking for an excuse, and the lack of stranger danger in the summers of 98 and 99 meant that you didn’t have to be home until like, 11.30pm.

Many years of generously-scooped ice-creams at a criminally cheap price have sadly taken their toll on the Noah’s Ark dairy.

….. If you were in the know, you knew that the Outram swimming hole and Long Beach were the two best places to swim. Furthermore, the Long Beach domain made an excellent place to have a BBQ or ride dirt bikes in the evening after a day of swimming. Your family would always go out there in a van accompanied by a random family friend of your dads who was referred to as, “you remember your uncle Gary, eh kids!?” Even as a young’un, you could sense that “Gary” was a just really nice guy who was going through issues with the missus, and hanging out with his mates for support at this tough time. You knew all of this but selfishly didn’t care, because “Gary” would put up with your incessant chatter, and would also play endless games of Uno with you. Kids love it when adults play cards with them, and you also suspected that Uno cheered ‘Gary” up no end.

….. “OH GOD MODAKS FRIES GET IN MY BELLY” is a normal thought for you to have. My 4th form boyfriend was hospitalized once, and I snuck Modaks fries into hospital for him when he wasn’t meant to be eating it. WHAT A GOOD BITCH

….. You went to Orbit 107, which was a club for people under 18 years old. You would always get drunk first though, and then go to see bands and play pool with other drunk minors. Shit got weird when you pashed a guy that was in your brothers form at his school, and shit got even weirder when you saw your brother in there one night. Orbit 107 closed down shortly after this, and you breathed a sigh of relief as the possibility of your high school world mingling with your brother’s high school world became a distant issue. Still, you really did miss Orbit 107.


….. You have seen the words “a boy had a mouth full of glitter” somewhere, but cannot quite remember where. Even if you don’t think that you have, this phrase DEFINITELY rings a bell.

Don’t pretend you don’t remember it.

….. Ice-skating at The Big Chill on Kaikorai Valley Rd was a totally normal thing to do on a Friday night and you spent considerably more time flirting with boys in the smoking room than on the ice. The 12pm blackout was mint cos it meant that you could pash the guy who you had a crush on, in the dark for 5 whole mins (your whole night had been leading up to this and you were quietly confident that your new Rip Curl snowboarding jacket would get you across the finish line, because 14 year old boys love labels).

These were the days of our lives.

….. You remember when Dunedin’s slogan was “Dunedin: It’s All Right Here”. Furthermore you remember the song, because you had to sing it at the “Big Sing” with all the other primary schools at the town hall. You are still a bit perplexed at “I Am Dunedin”.

….. Your hipster mates cite David Bain ca. 1994 as their ultimate fashion muse

….. If you have a friend visiting from another country, your best ploy is to take them to Signal Hill Buddhas at night, get them stoned, and regale them with stories of Dunedin’s friendly attitudes whilst looking across the city and harbour lights to ensure that they leave with the best possible opinion of your fine city. This ALWAYS works.

“It’s not just the pot talking, I seriously love your town, bro.”

….. Your favourite part of primary school was the “Jump Rope For Heart” initiative, and you definitely “accidentally” took home an official JRFH skipping rope. You were also a regular at the “sports shed” at lunchtimes, to nab the best basketball.

Miss you Dunedin my friend, so many fond memories

Love, Chelle xoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

14 thoughts on “You Know You’re From Dunedin When….

  1. YOU, are a Rockstar. This was great, although I read Part 2 first & only because that’s how I roll, although I had fewer ‘Ahhh!’ moments, sadly. (Although one big ‘Light goes On’ memory was Ice-skating. YEAHH! Money well spent! I even remember that funky smell – melting ice & some kind of musty wet material or fur stench. OH.YES!)

  2. Before your time …
    Meeting the train
    Sunday family drives to Momona airport
    Bible Class dances
    Fresh fish bought at Taieri Mouth
    Climbing up the mammoth sandhill … then rolling down … at the Spit
    Melting ice blocks at St Kilda & St Clair … and those sandhills were SOOO big
    Roller skating at St Kilda park
    Feeding the ducks at the Botanical Gardens
    Trolley buses
    the yearly Battle of the Bands
    The aroma of Cadbury’s chocolate mixed with the smell of McLeod’s soap
    The Star Fountain in the Octagon … family drives in the evening to view
    John Wilson drive is built
    Picnics at Warrington
    Surf life savers on patrol (and doing drills)
    The real Carisbrook … for cricket and rugby fans

    • wow!!
      Well, I definitely remember the real Carisbrook (haven’t even been to the old one!!) – and my grandfather owned the Carisbrook Tavern, boasting “the roast witht he most” haha. I also definitely was one for feeding the ducks at the gardens too!!!
      Thanks for the further memories !

  3. Even down to the urban myth about the razor blades in the hydro-slide! So many memories I thought were only mine. Cool times!

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