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
“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
EACH WEEK WE ASK A HIGH-PROFILE NEW ZEALANDER TO SHARE A PHOTO MEMORY