Parliament will be filled with southern drawls and plenty of maroon on Friday when the Southland Party is brought back to life.
The yearly get-together for Southlanders transplanted to Wellington has been absent from the calendar for the past nine years, but a crew of expats, including MP Eric Roy and Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper, have brought it back.
The party will feature the best of Southland cuisine, from oysters to beef to that essential southern drop Speight’s.
In its heyday, the evening attracted about 400 Southlanders to the banquet hall at Parliament to reminisce about everything southern.
These parties were legendary. When I worked at Parliament, I helped organise the music for a couple of them. One of our colleagues was the daughter of the Mayor of Gore or Balclutha (we called her the first daughter of Gore ), so we would go along with her.
The best of the parties wasn’t in the banquet hall, but in the ground floor dockway of the Beehive. It was ideal location for a party as hay bales were put around, it was on tarmac so easy to clean up, and could spill outdoors.
The parties were funded by the ticket sales and I think Speights contributed some beer. Off memory they would raise money for some good Southland cause.
“But it was such a popular event that the most frequent question I get asked is ‘why we aren’t doing them any more?’
“So here we are giving it another go.” The Gore-born journalist brought together a team of hardcore southern folk to get the party up and running again, and the evening at Parliament is gaining steam once again.
A great revival plan. I just need to find a lass from Southland to date, so I can attend on her coattails