Ma­jes­tic youth

The third sea­son of West­side fea­tures a who’s who of Kiwi ac­tors, among them Shane Cortese of Short­land Street, Noth­ing Triv­ial, The Almighty John­sons and Ou­tra­geous For­tune fame. In West­side, he plays the fa­ther of his orig­i­nal Ou­tra­geous For­tune char­act

The Press - Your Weekend (The Press) - - A Day In The Life -

“I was firmly en­trenched in Tau­ranga Boys Col­lege, and my mother and my step­fa­ther got a job run­ning the Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel in Palmer­ston North. Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel was a real land­mark ho­tel in Palmy. I left Tau­ranga Boys Col­lege in the first term of my sixth-form year and I stayed at Palmer­ston North Boys High School to the end of the first term of my sev­enth-form year. It was a real tra­di­tional Kiwi trav­ellers’ ho­tel. There were lovely restau­rants in it and a Once Were War­riors-type pub­lic bar. At the ripe old age of 16, I had my own ho­tel room. It was in the top cor­ner – room 308. I’d see the olds once ev­ery cou­ple of days. It was on the Massey Univer­sity pub cir­cuit. When stu­dents go on a pub crawl, they go on a pub crawl. They’d bike all over Palmer­ston North. The Fitzher­bert Ho­tel about 200 me­tres down the road was the one they al­ways started at.

The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel was the se­cond one off the rank. By the time they got there, they’d had one, they were in great spir­its. It was the best ho­tel in the world to be at for a Massey Univer­sity pub crawl.

Be­cause it was right in the cen­tre of town, that’s where all my mates would gather. My mum would let us have beer from down­stairs as long as we were up in my room, and those boys would stay the night in a room. So we could party on.

My job at the ho­tel was to re­stock the bars on a Satur­day morn­ing. I would leave out a list for the bar man­ager for what sort of drinks they needed.

Down in the base­ment, the dun­geon, they also had th­ese great big stain­less steel beer tanks, big enough to get in­side. They’d go through one of those once a week. I’d have to get into one of th­ese tanks and scrub them out. That had to be done by 9am on a Satur­day morn­ing.

So hav­ing played hard on a Satur­day night, drink­ing flagons of DB, play­ing drink­ing games, lis­ten­ing to Frankie Goes To Hol­ly­wood, Pink Floyd and all that sort of stuff, I’d have to get into th­ese tanks.

You can imag­ine what that’s like when you’ve had a skin­ful, it’s pretty rough. I couldn’t imag­ine what it would be like now – a hang­over takes me three or four days to get over.

It had this res­tau­rant called The Bri­tan­nia. It was a smor­gas­bord-type res­tau­rant – in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar. You could come and fill your own plate. It was just like feed­ing time at the zoo. I was al­ways a steakand-veges man. I’d have that most nights of the week. It used to be about $4.50 for a meal.

The Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel was de­mol­ished in 1990. There’s a Kmart on the site now. Britt Mann


Shane Cortese re­calls a for­ma­tive year spent liv­ing in Palmer­ston North’s Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel. He is pic­tured (in the green T-shirt) in 1986 with friends from left, Shane Chris­tensen, Ste­fan Mills, Bren­dan Le­vis and Fleur Stafford, in his room in the ho­tel.

Mar­garet Barns, 101 yrs old, lost the love of her life in WWII and her fa­ther in WWI.

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