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February 18, 2008 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Pub Safety Review

By Melissa Barnard and Fiona McDonald

So I’m Melissa Barnard VUWSA Welfare Vice-President at Vic and a few weeks ago I put to Tristan (Salient’s fearless editor) an idea that while students should drink responsibly, the reality is that when they drink, most students drink to get drunk.

With that in mind I and the Activities Officer (Fiona McDonald) from VUWSA went out on the town to have a safe, but drunken, night out. The following is a recollection of the events that were loosely transcribed from our diary entries taken in two hourly intervals from 10 pm, so that you understand (or at least recognise) the state we were in.


10pm – Fiona and I have met in my office to organise a pre-game plan and so far I have consumed a bottle of wine and some chippies and dip. The necessities having been taken care of (that being my host responsibilities of providing food) I decided that I need to drink more as I don’t really want to go out in the first place and need to get in the mood. I haven’t done my make up, I need to pee and why am I listening to Christina Aguilera? I have wine! (Which I brought at New World on special for $7. This could be bad). Fiona’s doing my make up and then the taxi is taking us to town.

11ish – Fiona got picked up by a scary old dude and the Irish man at Star Mart sold us out when we tried to feign ignorance as to where the Welsh Dragon was = runaway. The Tasting Room was shit. Okay booze and service with tables for sitting, but the customers at the time were snot-nosed pretentious prats. Bowled down to the Cavern Club which we were in for two seconds (in the quest to hit as many bars as possible in one night), before leaving.

12pm – Having one drink at The Establishment and reverting to txt talk OMG B*witched ROCK. Everybody needs to sing. I have consumed two bottles of wine, one bourbon and coke and a Smirny Black. I have still only had chippies as food, and it is vaguely occurring to me that I should have possibly eaten more. I appear to be texting people. Met and bonded with some chick that broke up with her boyfriend four weeks ago.

Her dress rocked; it’s from The Warehouse. A discussion ensues between me and Fiona as to whether or not selling your body for free drinks is good. At this stage I appear to be okay with that. Fiona is on boob watch and another discussion ensues as to which of the three guys behind us is cute. We decide it’s the brunette (who later turns out to be with a girl) and that having the notebooks is quite handy for these discussions.

2pm – From here I’m writing exactly what I’ve written in the diary so that you can see how I went from vaguely coherent to fucked. Note that we are still at The Establishment.

-Am going home with hot guy
-Same no more food (Same meaning that I’ve still only had the chippies at 10)
-Six more bonbons & coke
-Wan kebab
-Need a pee
-Eww met scary Tawa builder guy (Fiona and I watched this guy sleazed his way through Fiona, myself and her friends before finally being told where to go by Fiona’s friend)
-Where b fi
-I had fun with her
-Hot guy hot from Auckland (Who was more than well endowed….and was busted with me by security in my office at VUWSA, whilst getting my flat keys, which I left behind before going into town.)
-I need to bring my A Game to town more often…

Looking back we did have a safe night out as we ate before hand, we had planned our way home and at some point in the night I vaguely remember I might have had some water. Whilst yes we were drunk we stuck together (the only time I remember not being able to see Fiona was when I went to the bathroom at the end of the night), we had money set aside to go home in taxis and when I left I made sure that I told her where I was going and also ensured that she had money for food and her way home with her sober friend, and that I had safety precautions for myself. In retrospect next time I’ll actually get a kebab, go to more places, leave the bar sooner, not open security monitored doors, and resist in revisiting the 90s by applying glitter to 80% of my body, but then again let’s see how the next night out on the town goes.


9pm – I went to Mel’s office to go over game plan and to drink a little bit. I felt fat and it’s my policy not to hit town ‘til I’m skinny. Trying to find sober buddies to accompany us tonight proved difficult. Even phoning Mel’s minion proved useless – but I did manage to communicate to said minion that Mel wanted him badly. At this point I’ve eaten a Wishbone potato gratin, drunk a Corona and about three quarters of a bottle of wine.

10ish – I am well on my way to la-la land. A cousin of the Mel has called – apparently 34, reasonable attractive and rich… Inexplicably I’m game! Also inexplicable is the fact I’m responding to my ex-boyfriend’s rather inappropriate txt messages! Mel won’t let me call him which is probably a good thing as I have let on he has a big p…personality and she wants to talk to him!

First stop for the nicotine addict here was the City Stop across from The Establishment where we scored our first attempted picked up of the night. Some scary dude ‘offered’ us drinks at Welsh bar. We feigned ignorance of its location until the Irish salesman sold us out. Had it not been for his very hot accent I would have kicked his ass.

11pm – Tasting room was our next stop. No need for ID though a significant wait for good service! I finished my drink and headed to Cavern Club where I know the owner and wanted to get a free drink. Unluckily he wasn’t there, though we did manage to get some good shots with the Elvis statue outside.

11.30ish – The Establishment playing a great mix of real sad but ultimately “I wanna dance to them” tunes like ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and B*witched classics! However little dancing was done as we sat on the outside balcony. The two guys behind us were so hot but I’m not yet consequence-free drunk enough to actually talk to them. We did talk to a chick who had just broken up with her boyfriend and I would be so much hotter in her dress!

12am – I’ve had two and a half bottles of wine and a cranberry & vodka. Haven’t eaten anything further. I’m texting people that I really shouldn’t text and it’s rather dodgy.

2am – At this stage of the documenting process I have become too drunk to write. In fact my last notes say something like “phil bbruni” which make no sense! A friend took over for me and allowed me to dictate… at lease until the point where I had to go to the bathroom to throw up, at which point he improvised on my behalf.

The following is what is written in my notebook.
-”Drunk guy” – “sleaze” – tried it “on” with fi& Mel. Then tried it on with Chris’ sister and her friend, until they threatened to kick his arse
-Mel went home with hot Auckland guy

The puking in The Establishment bathrooms brought an end to my night. Looking back, I wish we had gone to a few more bars instead of being seduced by the male specimens The Establishment had to offer and that we had danced more! I want to apologise to my mate Chris that it was more babysitting instead of the fun night I had promised him! But all in all I had a blast and cannot wait until the next time I go out!

Planning Ahead: Have as safe a night as you can get if you’re getting completely hammered.

Stick with your mates

There’s always safety in numbers. Go out with people you know and trust. Because clubbing by yourself sucks.
Look after your mates. If they’re drunk don’t leave them – help them get home. If one of your group gets kicked out of a bar send someone with them to make sure they get on the bus or in the taxi. Tell the bouncer that you’re taking your mate to a taxi and that you’ll be back shortly. They should let you back into the bar to meet up with the rest of your group.
Stick to well-lit, busy areas. Avoid I am Legend areas and you should be sweet.
Avoid vacant areas, parks or shortcuts through alleys, carparks or wastegrounds.

Plan your trip home to get home safely.

You could:
Arrange for someone to pick you up.
Take a taxi (it’s approx. $18 from the taxi stand at Dixon St to Helen Lowry which is the furthest hostel out)
Use a sober driver.
If you live in the suburbs the first after-midnight bus services to Island Bay, Seatoun, Stokes Valley, Northland, Khandallah, J’Ville and Whitby all leave from Courtenay Place at 1am. The after-midnight to Wainuiomata leaves at 1.30am and the bus to Eastbourne leaves at 12.30
Trains from Wellington to Upper Hutt at 1.05am, Wellington to Johnsonville at 1.02 and Wellington to Paraparaumu at 1.00. If you miss these head back to town (the walk should sober you and your friends up) as the next trains won’t leave till 7am.
Use Walkwise. These are a good bunch of people (and are non-judgemental) that patrol Wellington’s inner city, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They help prevent crime in public places by being an approachable, visible presence and wear bright yellow and black uniforms.

They are there to help you – whether you simply need information about what is happening in the city, or assistance with something more serious. They have a 24hr line that you can ring if you notice something slightly ‘off’, but don’t want to call the cops. The number is 04 499 4444.

Campus Angels are based in the Library and run from 6:30-10 in Kelburn and 7-11pm in the law library. They offer walks home to anyone within twenty minutes of the university. They also call taxis when asked, inform students of bus and train timetables as well.
Let someone know when to expect you home.

Eat, and drink plenty of water

(water being that stuff that comes out of the non-beer taps)
Food will help slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. Have a pie on the way to your first club or get some fish ‘n’ chips. It will help.
Remember any food is good food, but if you’re using the end of night kebab to stop the hangover later on that morning… Mate, your fucked.
Drinking plenty of water can slow down your consumption of alcohol and help your body to manage the alcohol in your system.
Try non-alcoholic or low alcohol drinks.
If you’re dropping party pills tell a mate what you’ve done (so that if you drink after taking them then your mates can tell the ambo drivers what you’ve done).

Liquor-Free Zone

Drinking and possessing liquor is BANNED in any public place from the stadium, up The Terrace across to the back of the Basin, down Brougham St (one over from Cambridge Tce) to Oriental Pde and along the water front during the following times:
• 5pm each Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 8am the following day.
• 5pm every Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve until 8am the following day.
Any breach of these requirements is an offence under the Local Government Act 2002.
Exception: This prohibition does not apply to liquor being carried in unopened containers from licensed premises to areas outside the liquor-free zone or to private property.

Where is that drink taking us?

Not even I knew at the start of this escapade what a standard drink was, so I looked up ALAC and to put it simply it’s not the amount of liquid in the vessel, but the amount of alcohol in it that measures a standard drink. So with that in mind it means that every 10 grams of alcohol in your drink is one standard drink. Per week, according to ALAC, the most standard drinks a woman should consume is 14 and men 21.

So what you say, can’t be fucked working out how many standard drinks are in that bottle of wine you’re about to funnel? You don’t have to – it’s written on the side of your vessel (and the good folks at ALAC have gone out and done some standardisations for you) if you care to look. Still don’t care? Let’s take my Saturday night for example. I drank two bottles of wine, six bourbons and coke, a Smirnoff Black and half a cranberry and vodka. My total standard drinks consumption: 31.7. If you’re thinking to yourself “Fuck”, you’re not alone.

I rang and asked ALAC if you could stockpile your standard drinks, i.e. if I haven’t had a drink for two weeks does this mean I could save it all for one night and have 28 thus putting me only 3.7 over my standard drinks limit? I was met with horror and shock that a person would think of such a thing. The person who could answer my question from ALAC was away and will get back to me, so I’ll let you know when I do.
I’m guessing the answer will be a no.

Saturday night for me would be classed under ALAC’s definition of bingeing or binge drinking, which is “when you drink a lot more than usual on any one occasion.” Sound like your average Saturday night? It does to me as well, but prolonged bingeing in woman can cause liver damage, and can be linked to breast cancer, osteoporosis and can affect you when conceiving children. In men it can cause liver damage and is linked to heart disease and strokes and gastritis. But that’s all in the future, right? In the short term, as in right now, it can affect your sexual performance. Guys could have difficulty getting it up and woman could take longer to get turned on and cum (which is gutting if you’re with someone who can’t get a hard on).

If worrying about how much you’re drinking isn’t enough, you also need to watch your drink. Spiking is a growing problem, and don’t think that it won’t happen to you. I had my drink spiked on New Year’s and spent the next three days feeling like shit (and no, it wasn’t a hangover).

If you turn your head or leave your drink unattended you leave yourself at risk of finding out exactly how nasty people in today’s society can be. VUWSA has free drink spiking tests available. Go to the Kelburn reception and ask for one and the staff and exec are more than happy to help.

Phew I know looks like the odds are stacked against us when it comes to drinking, doesn’t it? Your drink can hurt you, spiking can hurt you and you yourself can hurt you. If you go into town intoxicated and do something fucked up that gets you kicked out of a club that’s fine, you just bowl on to the next one (unless you get arrested then you’re really screwed), but if you get drunk and do something fucked up (and not just over Orientation) on campus or at your hostel then you can be kicked out of your hostel and/or the university under the Statute of Student Conduct. If you find yourself in this situation come down to the VUWSA office on Kelburn campus and see Sandra Crews, our Student Advocate, and she’ll try and help.

For more education on any on the subjects in my article here are some useful links:

-Party Pills
-VUWSA Advocacy
-Wellington City Council
-Victoria University Student Conduct Statute


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Comments (16)

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  1. Snuffles says:

    Insightful and ground breaking. A+ well done Melissa!

  2. Nic says:

    Cool dude, get your own gimmick. How lame.

    I’d give this a D for not following your own rules.


  3. Snuffles says:

    Bite me dip shit

  4. Snuffles says:

    What yeah what? You scared to reply you knuckle dragging baboon?

  5. Nic says:

    Actually, I’m downgrading this to an F for blatant, blatant, BLATANT advertising for The Establishment. How much did they pay you for that? $30,000?


  6. not_peterencc says:

    aboblish the resouce management act

  7. Patron says:

    So did you actually read the article first time Nic?? Or did you just decide to flame something of use to students… oh and by the way you do realise that you do not need to state who you are after what you say as your name is stated at the begining dipshit, or did you just think you were typing it in the first box for fun?

    F- for bad commenting, do yourself a favour, make a fist then procede to hit yourself in the head till you pass out. K thx!

  8. peteremcc says:

    again, not me commenting…

    if farrar has a blog stalking his blog, and i have a commenter stalking my comments… does that make me almost as cool as farrar?

  9. Concerned of Ohariu says:

    David Farrar is as cool as person taking a shit in the corner of your house at a party. Get out some more Peter. Seriously.

  10. Nic says:

    It’s my sig, Patron. Enjoy it. But seriously, why are you complaining? Do you actually like The Establishment?


  11. Patron says:

    I complained simply because I like what melissa is trying to do.

  12. I love her work also. She’s one hot bitch.

  13. Negative Creep says:

    I agree with PeterMc that you should be able to register to this website and the comments, but annonymous comments should be able to remain. So on the one hand the real Slim Shady’s (like Peter) can register their NAME (and request non registered abuses of their name to be removed/moderated) and the random plebs out there like me can throw our two cents in every now and then… good to see comments section alive and well by the way (lets hope intelligent debate grows and back biting takes a slide this year….)

  14. peteremcc says:

    Thanks Negative,
    I would have thought they would have sorted it after all the problems last year… but meh.

    Oh and it was sarchastic Concerned.

  15. Brandy_ says:

    I’m upset by this article. I clicked on a link to a page called “pub safety review”, and got two shaggy dog stories about a girls’ night out with a half-hearted addendum on ‘best drunken practice’.

    Wouldn’t the student population would be better served by a summary of the pubs on the beaten track for students? Maybe outlining things like what the drinks cost, what kind of scene they have, their adherence to safety standards, what their bathroom facilities are like.

    There’s plenty of room for shaggy dog stories, but it would have been nice to see a pub safety review in there too.

  16. Oh you can just read my bar reviews from last year if that’s what you’re after:

    Not much safety though, just me vomiting.

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