Category: Clyde Street

27 Steps to Heaven

Purported to have been a brothel, this name of this flat instead refers to its proximity to the pub across the road. This flat is an excellent example of how the meaning of named flats can morph and change over time. Once famously known as the Ori, (The Oriental Tavern) is currently known as Starters Bar. The Ori was well known as a student bar for several decades and in the 1980s and 1990s was a popular band venue. Historic venue details for the bar

The original flat sign (2007) painted black with white lettering and detail, depicts 27 askew foot steps leading from a smaller sign THE ORI, implying a drunken pathway home.

27 Steps to Heaven

27 Steps to Heaven (2007)


A later sign depicts heavenly cloud forms and opening golden gates, but no reflection of the origin of the name or connection to the pub across the road.

27 Steps to Heaven

27 Steps to Heaven (2009)

This photo (2016) from the Prime Campus account appears to have been taken from Starters Bar.

This artwork commissioned by Prime Campus for the flat, certainly plays on the aspect of the pearly gates.

Hilton on Clyde on Clyde Street

Hilton on Clyde

Hilton on Clyde, Clyde Street (2007)

Sprayed using a stencil on a couple of pieces of board, this sign utlises the Hilton Hotels logo (below) as inspiration. The name is indicative of many similar names that are reflective of the physical environment students find themselves living in. Some names clearly point out the deficits of these homes while others bestow lofty or ironic names on the flats that contrast starkly with the poor state of the building. Being a prestigious international hotel chain, clearly this flat can not compare, the use of the name and logo is ironic.

Hilton logo – this image is reproduced under fair use terms as part of the discussion about named flats in Dunedin, specifically to compare the company logo with a named student flat using that logo.

Later iterations of the Hilton sign (2008) include one that utlises a single bedhead as the basis of the sign but the Hilton logo is no longer evoked. The house features in Villa by Patrick Reynolds and Jeremy Salmon (2012).

The Hilton

The Hilton, Clyde Street (2008)


The Hilton features in “Ghetto flats in Dunedin” by Justin Hawkes (2003). He directed this for a New Zealand TV Show ‘Space’.

Bedrock on Clyde Street

The names students bestow their flats with are often full of wit and humour. The sign for Bedrock is made using a single bedhead. The name may be related to the popular cartoon series The Flintstones where Bedrock is the prehistoric city where the Flintstone and Rubble families live. The name may also refer to beds rocking due to sexual activity. The use of a bedhead as the board for the sign implies this may be the case.  It’s not often that the name of the flat and the sign riff off each other to add another layer of meaning.


Bedrock, Clyde Street (2008)

The Drunken Clam on Clyde Street

Westie Pad #flatnames

The Westie Pad was one of the first sponsored flats in Dunedin. It is rented by Westpac Bank and sublet to the group of students who win a set of challenges for the right to live rent free for a year. Despite competition being a bit thin on the ground sometimes, there have been winners.

Dunedin doesn’t have a “Westie” culture as such. However with over 80% of students coming to Dunedin to study, this flat may appeal particularly to those from further north; or those who were devotees of the TVNZ show, “Outrageous Fortune” based in West Auckland which was popular earlier in the decade.

Here’s an entry video created by contestants from 2013.

Westie Pad construction photos from the Student Pac Facebook Page