No complaints at 'teen heaven' camp

By Ruth Keber -
3 comments
BRAVE: Silver Birch Holiday Park manager Richie Robin will open up her business to more than 200 under 25 year olds this week.PHOTO/JOEL FORD
BRAVE: Silver Birch Holiday Park manager Richie Robin will open up her business to more than 200 under 25 year olds this week.PHOTO/JOEL FORD

Police yesterday confirmed they had received no complaints about a holiday camp criticised for banning families in favour of the "young, dumb and full of beer".

Silver Birch Holiday Park has created a "teenage heaven" where more than 210 under-25s have set up tents in what has been nicknamed "Alcohol Alley" to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Park managers Allan Sherson and Richie Robin have said they were giving the youngsters a safe environment in which they could enjoy themselves.

However, Professor Jennie Connor, head of Preventive and Social Medicine at Otago University in Dunedin, criticised the move saying it was "grossly irresponsible" and encouraged binge drinking.

Tauranga police said they had no complaints about the campground to date and as long as the owners controlled their campers they did not see a problem with the idea.
Despite the national attention there was a relaxed atmosphere at the park when the Bay of Plenty Times visited yesterday.

Campers were enjoying the sun, swimming in the pool and knocking back a few beers before New Year's Eve.

Some were consuming more than others - with one group using a funnel to drink beer.

Mr Sherson said there had been no complaints in the days leading up to New Year's Eve.

Mr Sherson said the night before was one the quietest the ground had ever had and regular campers who had been coming back for years were staying at the site.

New Year's Eve was normally pretty quiet with a peak in the camping ground at 8pm, he said.

"But the first bus leaves [for New Year's Eve celebrations] at 8pm so it gets quiet pretty quick."

Camper Meg Smith said banning adults and families from the campground over the period was a good option.

"It's a great idea, there is supervision and security, and we are keeping out of trouble," said the 17-year-old.

She said if campers acted out they are asked to leave.

Aucklander Alex Bailey agreed it was a good idea for the campground to provide camping sites to young revellers.

"It's good, it's better than being out on the streets somewhere, being arrested. It's somewhere to contains us."

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