Eight arrests made during Dunedin's Hyde St keg party

By Rhys Chamberlain

Wakey, wakey...Hyde street students were woken before 8am on Sunday to sweep their front yards clean following the Hyde street party on Saturday. Photo / Stephen Jaquiry
Wakey, wakey...Hyde street students were woken before 8am on Sunday to sweep their front yards clean following the Hyde street party on Saturday. Photo / Stephen Jaquiry

And so, the clean up begins.

Volunteers have started the massive task of cleaning up Dunedin's Hyde Street after the annual student party, held yesterday.

Eight people were arrested for minor offending during the day, however police said the were "generally pleased with crowd behaviour".

The party finished at 6pm.

"Eight arrests were made for minor offending, largely made up of people repeatedly trying to illegally enter the event," Area Response Manager Senior Sergeant Dave Scott said.

Students attend the annual Hyde street party in Dunedin. Photo / Supplied
Students attend the annual Hyde street party in Dunedin. Photo / Supplied

"Those arrested were both students and non-students alike."

Pre-event measures included removing couches, chairs or other material from front yards of the flats, ensuring no one was allowed on any roofs and fencing off the street with security manning the gates.

"These pre-event measures, along with pre-ticket sales, invite only, of limited numbers, helped make the event safer for all," Snr Sgt Scott said.

Eighteen staff, including police, Maori wardens, St John Ambulance and Fire Service workers were present over the course of the day, which police said helped the event run smoothly.

Police also acknowledged the collaborative approach of the University of Otago, OUSA, the Dunedin City Council, ACC, Dunedin Public Hospital, Student Health, Worksafe, landlords, tenants and affected businesses.

Earlier in the day Hyde St was packed.

Senior Sergeant Craig Brown said the street was at "maximum'' capacity as a one-way door policy came into effect at 1pm.

Crowd behaviour was "OK, at this stage'', he said.

St John Coastal Otago territory manager Doug Third said three people had been taken to Dunedin Hospital from the party so far, but all injuries were "reasonably minor''.

About 30 people had also been treated at the party for issues such as intoxication.

"It's about the same as last year at the same time,'' he said.

"There's nothing worse than last year.''

Many of the street's residents have already been drinking for hours, but police said there had been no arrests and no incidents of note.

As one party-goer puts it: "It's just good people and good times''.

"It's a rite of passage for students that's why they shouldn't take it away,'' he said.

"It's all good.''

Otago University Students Association president Laura Harris said countless hours had been spent organising the event.

"We have a phenomenal events team who have spent countless hours in the lead up to this event coordinating these safety measures and organising food, water, security and fencing as well as much more so that we can make this happen," she said.

Despite being hailed as a success last year, the event was marred by drunken incidents, including an attack on a St John ambulance, a dozen arrests and many people needing medical attention.

Emergency services said yesterday they were prepared for the event.

Fire Service East Otago area commander Laurence Voight said the Fire Service was providing extra support and staff for the event and would be "standing by to deal with any fallout that arises later in the evening''.

"We are providing our command unit to be able to be accessed by St John and police [and] two staff to work the command unit,'' Mr Voight said.

In a general safety measure, Willowbank firefighters had been going door to door, advising people to remove couches from their porches in the wake of several couch fires in late February, including one which spread to a Castle St flat.

St John had paramedic and first-aid resources dedicated to the Hyde St Party.

Communications adviser Ian Henderson said St John viewed the event as "business as usual''.

"We hope that people enjoy themselves in a responsible manner. If they need assistance then St John personnel will be available. At the same time we will still be available for the wider Dunedin community,'' he said.

A police spokesman said in a statement staff would work with the organiser to make the event "as safe as possible''.

"We encourage those attending to enjoy themselves within the bounds of the law and to keep themselves and their friends safe.''

The spokesman referred all questions on security to the organiser, the Otago University Students' Association.

An OUSA spokeswoman said its primary focus was safety.

"We have a security deployment plan that is in line with the size of the operation, which we are confident will reflect a balance between safety and friendliness,'' she said.

Are You Okay? team members and volunteers would be on hand to support people and food and water would be supplied, she said.

The party is scheduled to finish at 5.30pm.

- Otago Daily Times

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