A Dunedin woman has slammed out-of-control students for desecrating the resting place of her ancestors.
Jill Thomson said she was walking her family dog, Pony, a huntaway, around the Northern Cemetery in the suburb of Opoho when she realised it was St Patrick’s Day.
Hundreds of students, many of them first-years at the University of Otago, gathered near Brackens Lookout to drink on Thursday.
Thompson, who lives locally, described the behaviour of students as “just gross”.
The level of intoxication on display was “bloody scary” and there was not a mask in sight.
Even Pony freaked out, she said.
Thompson said the celebration did not have a good vibe.
The behaviour at the gathering had been intimidating and made people feel unsafe, because of how “absolutely trolleyed” some of the students were.
There were six members of her family buried in the cemetery, including her great-grandfather.
But students were unzipping and squatting to use the cemetery as a toilet, which made her “furious”.
While she had once been young, she did not believe she and her peers had been as bad.
She had some sympathy for young people, especially as all the student pubs had been shut down and they had nowhere else to go.
But trashing a beautiful place like Bracken’s Lookout was not acceptable, she said.
She said it was not fair on the people who would have to clean up after them, or to pupils from Opoho School who had worked hard to plant trees there.
She believed heavy drinking was seen as a rite of passage in Dunedin but it came at other people’s expense.
She was unimpressed at the mess left behind by students and in particular the “arrogance” of one partygoer who on Friday morning “had the gall” to ask if she had seen a speaker he had lost the previous night.
“Our city needs to debate this and it has to stop — or at least be curbed,” Thompson said.
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