15 arrests, roof collapse - great keg party (+video)

By Abby Gillies, Otago Daily Times

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Revellers at the Hyde St keg party in Dunedin partied hard but were well behaved and helped create a great event, says a student representative.

That was despite 15 arrests and the "senseless'' behaviour of students climbing on a roof before it collapsed.

The day-long annual street party, in which students dress in a theme and drink in the street has in the past been the scene of drunkenness, fires and injuries. However, this year everything went according to plan, with almost no glass on the street, free food, water and few problems, said Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) president Logan Edgar.

"Scarfies party mean, but Hyde Street shows we party with a lot of love.

"It's a credit to the scarfies who live in Hyde Street who came together to plan this event and agreed to support a comprehensive harm minimisation approach to the day,'' he said.

Fifteen people were arrested and a roof collapsed under revellers at the keg party last night but the large, intoxicated crowd of party-goers were generally well-behaved, police said.

"There was a large police presence and generally people were well behaved,'' said area commander Inspector Greg Sparrow.

People were arrested for a variety of offences involving alcohol, and most party-goers left soon after 6pm when the event was shut down as planned.

Last year, police made seven arrests.

Mr Sparrow said there was also a concern about large numbers of people sitting on roofs drinking alcohol. One roof collapsed under the weight.

"It was extremely dangerous and foolish and put themselves and staff at risk who had to get up and try to get people off.''

The behaviour was "senseless'' admitted OUSA spokesman Alasdair Johnston, who said two people had been injured in a separate roof incident during the event.

The students involved would be paying for the damage, he said.

"We don't condone that behaviour. If you're dumb enough to get on the roof you can sort it out yourself.''

Mr Edgar acknowledged there were areas that could be improved next year, including keeping people off roofs, but was confident next year's party would be good.

Police and OUSA complimented the planning by several organisations St Johns Ambulance, Dunedin City Council, and ACC to make sure the event ran smoothly.

This year the university and OUSA promoted a glass ban for the street during the party.

Dunedin City Council is considering extending its permanent CBD liquor ban to include North Dunedin, which would rule out drinking or carrying open alcohol containers in the streets.

University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said last week that the Hyde St party would play a role in the DCC's liquor ban decision.

The OUSA is championing a petition against the introduction of the liquor ban in North Dunedin.

- APNZ

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