John Cleese’s Rubbish Dump in Palmerston North

Apr 14, 2018 1 comments

Just outside the city of Palmerston North in the North Island of New Zealand is a rubbish dump named Mt Cleese.

It’s perhaps the first time in history that a landfill has been named after somebody. But who is Mr. Cleese and what had he done to bring upon himself such a misfortune?

Mr. Cleese is none other than the British comedian John Cleese, of Monty Python fame.

18 months prior to the historic renaming, Cleese had delivered a backhanded remark to the North Island city of Palmerston North. While on a tour of the city performing shows, Cleese reported that he had such a bloody miserable time that he was very happy to get out.


“We stayed in a little motel, the weather was grotty, the theatre was a nasty shape and the audience was very strange to play to,” he said, finally adding, “If you ever do want to kill yourself but lack the courage, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick.”

His dubbing of Palmerston North as the “suicide capital of New Zealand” created a furore.

In 2007, a year and a half after the incident, when everyone thought the matter had been forgotten and forgiven, Palmerston North fired back by bestowing a dubious honor on the British actor. His name now graces a refuse heap outside of the city.

The comeback was suggested by New Zealand comedian John Clarke, who originally suggested the local dump be renamed the "John Cleese Memorial Tip - All manner of crap happily recycled". A shorter name—Mt. Cleese—was eventually chosen.

“Hopefully the sign demonstrated the suicide capital of New Zealand had a sense of humour,” said Chris Pepper, the city council waste and water manager.


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