Student Pranks

October 21st, 2006 at 9:55 am by David Farrar

NZPA reports on a student prank in Christchurch where 100 letters, bearing Christchurch City Council and Westfield Riccarton Mall logos, were delivered to about 100 houses in the Riccarton area informfing them their homes would be demolished so the mall could double its size — adding a foodcourt, hypermart, ice skating rink and 950 extra carparks.

This got me thinking about capping week stunts from ages past. One very similiar happened in 1984 when a friend of mine wrote on fake Auckland City Council letterhead to a few hundred homes nearby a park in the heart of Remuera. There had been a lot of debate about what was going to happen to the park, and the letter informed them that it was going to be turned into a Marae with an on-licence until 1 am. The uproar was hilarious (this was heartland Remuera in the Muldoon era) – especially as rumour has it one elderly resident put her house on the market.

Other capping day stunts whioch come to mind (sonme may be urban legends) are:

* The Massey student who stole a bus full of Japanese tourists to enter it into the lost and found contest

* The Dunedin students who stuck notices on parked cars advising chemical sprayed on the street meant their tyres needed to be checked and to bring them into the Council

* The Vic Uni students who told some workmen that students were going to dress up as Police to try and fool them as a capping stunt and then told the Police some students were pretending to be workmen so they could dig up a road.

* The Auckland students who put dry ice into some 44 gallon drums, spray painted hazard symbols onto the side, and then had the drums fall off a truck in the CBD.


13 Responses to “Student Pranks”

  1. burt () says:

    One of the best pranks I have seen in a long time was the fake reports that Parliament has voted for retrospective legislation gaing back 17 years. As if that would really happen in a democracy, but people seem to think it’s real.

    Do people really believe that Labour are so corrupt? Come on, no democratically elected Govt with any integrity or principals would sweep 17 years of misuse of tax payer money under the rug.

    Still it had me going for a while, that was until the lefty bloggers supported it, then I knew it was all a piss take as irrespective of which party did this sort of thing, any reasonable person would think it was wrong.

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  2. Murray () says:

    Students are why police have minto bars.

    Shooting to quick.

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  3. Polemic () says:

    Auckland Uni engineers once diverted traffic through albert park. That was pretty funny.

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  4. Jeremy () says:

    The Vic one is true – it’s in the Rachel Borrowman’s official history I think.

    Polemic: I think a similar stunt occured at Vic when rush hour traffic was diverted through the Hunter carpark, although Albert Park would be so much better. Having attended both Vic and Auckland, I might have my wires crossed.

    What ever happened to the capping stunts? The last I remember of them was the absailing tea party under Grafton Bridge in the late 1990’s.

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  5. Murray () says:


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  6. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Yes, the Albert park one was great, especially watching buses trying to navigate their way through.

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  7. Jeremy () says:

    I was going to say user-pays.

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  8. Doug () says:

    One of the best pranks ever was the Knox College UFO hoax, circa 1954. It took weeks of planning and preparation. When the gentlemen at Knox went home for the summer, they contacted their local news agencies at a coordinated time, describing two UFOs in great detail, travelling southwards down the country. Of course the national and international media ate it up.

    The actual aim of the hoax was to punish the ODT for publishing a series of breathless, ridiculous reports about UFOs. And it worked!

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  9. Hoolian () says:

    Im sure the cop/workmen one happened at Auckland Uni too.

    One year, some students put a car on top of a building. Cant remember which one (think it was Kate Edger).

    Also Craccum reported a stunt where students altered the sizes of the carparks all along Princes St€, so that they were just a bit smaller.

    Its a shame that the capping stunts have become all but extinct.

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  10. dfr () says:

    Massey students have pulled off some good ones. Back in about 1994 / 1995 – sometime around then – the avenue of trees in Fitzherbert Ave was chopped down, to widen the road to four lanes, so that there wouldn’t be an hour-long traffic jam mornings and evenings as half the city’s workforce tried to get down the road to and from Massey and the various science centres across the river. One of the leader of the ‘Save the Trees’ campaign (there’s always a bloody save the trees campaign, no matter what the other needs) lived on Fitzherbert Ave. Early one morning, to his horror, he heard chainsaws going, and he raced outside to find tree limbs and sawdust falling from the tree right outside his gate. He started shrieking imprecations, threatening to call the press, only to find that it was some students up the tree, with bags of sawdust, spare bits of (other) trees and a chainsaw, running but not being used.

    Then there was the fake speed camera on the university ring road, which caught half the staff and had senior professors ringing up the university registrar to complain, loudly.

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  11. mikeybill () says:

    I seem to remember one at Auckland where a group of engineering students walked into the middle os someone’s lecture carrying a long piece of 2×4, and a power saw. Got to the bottom of the lecture theatre, mimed trying to get it out of the narrow doors, then pulled out the saw and cut in pieces untilo they could get it through the doors at the bottom.

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  12. sagenz () says:

    aaaah student memories. The dry ice one was real. cops were very pissed off with that one.
    As was the leaflet given to students embarking on a pub crawl that McDonalds in Queen St would give everyone who said they were on the pubcrawl a free cheeseburger. They had to close it for a few hours cos of the number of blotto aggro students.

    We almost failed to get a second tree made of balloons and bamboo up on One Tree Hill when the police nicked our rope but managed to rescue some spare rope from a nearby playing field.

    My personal favourite was getting a 7 foot Mickey Mouse face onto the Auckland Town Hall Clock. I still think I am the only person to learn how to abseil on that clock face. Then Mayor Cath Tizard wanted us to do a days gardening in Albert Park as penance.

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  13. Michael (The Right Wing One) () says:

    One I heard about was a letter sent on Ministry of Works letterhead to Terrace residents that a new automatic drilling machine was being used to build the Terrace tunnel, and that it’s sensors made it pull away from metallic objects. So to ensure it didn’t go haywire all residents had to put pots and pans on their lawns.

    Any Vic students circa 1975 able to confirm?

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