My Photo of the Week #39 is of the student union building nearly completely deconstructed. It has taken a while to get to this point, over five years, but there was a lot of damage at the University and I guess getting lecture theatres and other buildings fixed took priority. So it was a bit of a shock to see it in the state it is, as it hadn’t looked too bad from the street these last five years.
Anyway, I’m feeling a little nostalgic for this ugly building (and it was pretty ugly!). Probably because I had some great times in that building. I did my studies in the early 90s and the student union had a great open area in front of it leading down to the river, a huge cafeteria where you could wander out into the sun. Upstairs there were various rooms of various sizes, and of course the ball room. The radio station RDU was also there (in fact the top level on the right of the photo is approximately where the radio station finished its days on site). RDU lives on, but that studio doesn’t. The original studio was in the interior of the building, and a few months after I joined as a newsreader, they moved to the newer studio, complete with natural light and carpark views!
I have lots of memories from those days, and that particular part of the student union building, but actually, it’s the Orientations, the Steins, the gigs, that are making me feel nostalgic. I was fortunate enough to see Chris Knox perform the song below at a gig. I saw Paul Ubana Jones, the Lemonheads, the Bats, unknown numbers of kiwi bands and kiwi singer-songwriters (some of them wannabes, some going on to successful careers) – so many they have become a blur. I remember one particular gig – and I can’t for the life of me remember who it was, although it was “international” (!) – where the ballroom was so packed and hot and sweaty that condensation was dripping back on to us. The thought of that is so gross now, but at the time, with a few ciders in me and dancing to the music, it was just a blast!
So another bit of history bites the dust. The Foundry was built and opened rather quickly after the quakes for the students to at least drink at (a bit of a mishap in its opening week resulted in it closing briefly while they strengthened the floor – seems they under-estimated the need of students to party!) and other venues have popped up around the place. I’m sure a new student union building will return and be brighter and better. Life goes on, but in the meantime, I’m listening to Chris Knox … and reminiscing!