Sunday, July 19, 2009


From The New Zealand Herald Saturday July 18th 2009 - " It's the running of the balls, Dunedin pays homage to the mighty Jaffa once a year" - Roll: Jaffas hurtle down Dunedin's Baldwin Street" - Picture / Otago Daily Times.

Let me define my terms:

JAFFA- Is a port in western Israel on the Mediterranean; incorporated into Tel Aviv in 1950 and has no relevance to this posting.

JAFA - Is an acronym for 'Just Another Fucking Aucklander '- a common saying here which goes to show that even in a liberal democracy such as New Zealand - Pride, Prejudice, Provincialism and bigotry can rear its ugly head.

JAFFA (TRADITIONAL) - A small red spherical lolly (sweet) with a chocolate centre.

JAFFA (CONTEMPORY) - A version of the Jaffa based on the retail food sector philosophy that more and bigger is better in all things - I mean where WOULD the retail slimming industry be without it) - This Jaffa is nearly ten times as big as the traditional Jaffa - its about the size of what was commonly known in my younger days of haunting the lolly shops as a "gob stopper". It is this gob stopping Jaffa that is used in the 'Running of the balls' in Baldwin Street (see story below).

BALDWIN STREET - This street is in the city of Dunedin and it is the steepest street in the world. By steep, I don't mean its STEEP, I mean its really, really, really, really fucking STEEP - you wouldn't believe how steep it is. Years ago I walked up it (as do a continuous stream of rubber necking tourists) and I couldn't figure out how you could drive out of one of the driveways and turn your car into Baldwin street without your car tipping over, its that steep. Its the sort of street that you stand at the bottom of with your mouth wide open and a voice in your head saying, " What in heavens name were they EVER fucking thinking of when they built this little hum dinger"

In the UNITED KINGDOM (Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire) they have the rolling of the cheese - It consists of a high hill from which a round cheese is bowled. Large hordes of completely mad bastards run, roll, fall, and generally throw themselves down the hill in pursuit of this cheese. This madness is shown as a news item every year in NZ with the usual footnote concerning the number of people carted off to hospital with various injuries.

In SPAIN (Pamplona) they have the annual running of the bulls. This is a chaotic affair where a large number of bulls, with sharp horns big enough to scare the tits off a cow, are herded through narrow streets while large numbers of completely fucking mad people (mainly testosterone fuelled males with something to prove) run in front of them. This complete madness is shown as a news item every year in NZ with the usual footnote concerning the number of people carted off to hospital with various injuries.

In NEW ZEALAND (Dunedin) they have the running of the Jaffas - its a laid back affair with people at the bottom of Baldwin street waiting for a tsunami of Jaffas to descend. Noone is carted off to hospital with various injuries - which goes to prove that Kiwis in general (Dunedinites in particular) are either incredibly and admirably sober and careful and sensible about the running/rolling of our particular form of balls/bulls/cheese, or we are as dull as ditch water and haven't realised yet that to injure and possibly kill people is all part of having fun - it all depends on ones point of view :-)

"They rolled. They bounce. They shattered. Thirty thousand (30,000) Jaffas swept yesterday down the world's steepest road - Balwin St in Dunden. While most made it to their final resting place at the bottom of the hill, others were left by the wayside, having bounced and broken, or simply given up halfway down. The Cadbury Jaffa Race brought 1500 people to Baldwin St to pay homage to the annual racing of the balls. The event itself went off without a hitch as the crowd enjoyed the sunshine, music including Smash-proof, a fashion parade, free chocolate and facepainting. A large traffic jam formed as everyone tries to leave at the same time. Dunedin City Council events coordinater Marilyn Anderson described it as "the one and only traffic jam a year in Dunedin". Police and traffic management did their best to keep the traffic flowing. Free buses from the Octagon were well attended. "Its always good to see people take the buses, Mrs Anderson said. Asked if more free buses would be made available next year, she said it would be taken 'under advice' after a debriefing next week. Before the event, concern had been raised about an organised palm-oil protest following the advertising war over Cadbury's products.However, the dozen protesters put their message across peacefully. The group gathered at the bottom of the Baldwin Street with placards, photos of orang-utans, which they say are threatened by palm-oil production, and distributed information flyers which many of the crowd accepted willingly. Race tickets were purchased from as far away as Auckland with numbers 21078, 28266, 27329, 01624 and 09228 coming down in that order. Each number produced three winners who received grocery vouchers for first place, petrol vouchers for second, a gift card for third, a cellphone for fourth and a chocolate hamper for fifth". ---- OTAGO DAILY TIMES

Hmmm, 'The running of the balls' - Now that's one to put on ones 'Bucket List' isn't it? - But having been born in Auckland - That makes me a JAFFA loving JAFA - So what would I know?



Delwyn said...

Hi Alden

I love Jaffas

I have been to Tel Aviv Haifa -Jaffa where they grow oranges - hence the name jaffas

I can remember standing up for 'God Save the Queen' in the movies and have all my jaffas run down to the front of the wooden floored picture theatre of my childhood...

I remember getting a miniature replica wooden orange box in my Christmas stocking one year filled with jaffas and in my enthusiasm to crunch the delicious treats I sucked one into my windpipe where it lodged. You are lucky to count me as a friend...

Roll on...

Happy days

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

I remember back in the days of noisy wooden floors a lot of people deliberately pouring boxes full of jaffas out in Picture Theatres just for the audio effects. Of course I NEVER did that :-)
Marbles and coloured plastic counters have always been my nightmares as a teacher with a few close shaves - very scary indeed.

teach5 said...

Delwyn is correct, in the late 60's. early 70's, seedless Navel oranges in England were mostly imported from the Jaffa region of Israel and were called Jaffa's. I'm sure the candy got its name origins from that.

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

Thankyou for that Teach5, I know about Navel oranges,they are available here in New Zealand but I have never heard of oranges called 'Jaffas'!

VenDr said...

Yes, Baldwin street's celebrations are a bit blander than running away from bulls in Pamplona (where I have...ahem...ahem... just recently been) but it is a magnet for derring-do. People on bikes and skateboards, rollerblades, cars with the engines turned off...and of course, not too long ago, wheelie bins... have had a go at it, and all reasonably frequently. The trouble is, it's not only steep, it's short and ends with a T intersection onto a fairly busy road. And it has cars abnd trailers parked on it and traffic coming out of driveways. And ice, and occasionally snow. It is fun to drive down. From the top it looks like you're about to drive over a cliff and all the visitors you have taken to the top start to squeal.... marvellous.

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

Kelvin, with the enthusiasm that you have described its about time the local council put a ski jump at the end of Baldwin street and developed into a tourist attraction - a nice little earner for the City of Dunedin.