Parents worry pop-up party will get out of control

By Cherie Taylor

Parents concerned about their underage youth going to a paddock dance party advertised on Facebook don't need to worry, according to organisers.

They say security will be heavy at the event being held at Horohoro tomorrow night.

A couple of parents have contacted The Daily Post concerned there won't be enough supervision for the 500-or-so youth who have already indicated on Facebook that they intend going.

Two Rotorua DJs, Ngarimu Voss and Tony Gallacher, are hosting the STDJ's 121212 Party with up to 1700 young people invited on the Facebook page, with 503 stating they are going and 211 indicating they may go.

One parent, who didn't want to be named, contacted The Daily Post said she and her husband were concerned about the legitimacy of the dance party and whether police knew about it.

"Do the police know in case 800 people turn up and get out of control?"

She is also concerned the young people may get hurt if it rains.

"If it rains, are the kids going to get electrocuted because some cowboy set up the stage electrics? How about refunds if it's a thunderstorm or, these days, a tornado," she asked.

Another parent, who also didn't want to be identified, questioned how safe her daughter was going to be at the event.

"You will have hundreds of kids there. I'm sure they won't have enough security to keep on top of that many kids. They can take alcohol and drugs in and nobody will know any better. Kids can be cunning."

Mr Voss, who organised the event, said parents need not worry as security would be tight at the alcohol and drug-free dance party.

"It will be a safe environment and something fun ... our security people are very experienced and will be checking everyone and bags before people can come in. They will also be checking cars for alcohol and drugs," he said. "It will be confiscated ... We just won't let it in. We are really strict on that. We want them to see you can have a good time without alcohol and drugs."

At the first Under-age Dance Party held last year, between 500 and 600 youth turned up, Mr Voss said.

They are expecting about the same number or a few more this year.

"There is just nothing for them like this in Rotorua. We just felt there was a massive opening for this. I've got a sister this age and she tells me what goes on at youth parties. I thought there could be a better environment for them to party in than getting drunk and taking drugs and the party spilling out on to the street. You don't have to get drunk to have a good time."

However, there have been a few hiccups setting up this year - from finding the right outdoor venue to a ticket thief.

One of the young people selling tickets told them her wallet and tickets had been stolen but it soon transpired she was telling lies, Mr Voss said.

"She was under-selling the tickets and keeping the money for herself."

Rotorua police Acting Senior Sergeant in charge of community services Mike Membrey said police had not been notified about the event, but previous events run by the same people had been run "fairly well" with few incidents.

"They have been run before without many issues, they do use security and fence it off and do their best to control it," he said. "We're not endorsing it. The party comes with its own risks with people driving to and from the venue, possibly with alcohol being consumed before or after the event prior to travelling, which police are concerned about."

Pre-event tickets cost $15 and are available from XPloit or $20 at the gate.

Gates open at 7.30pm on Wednesday December 12. Nobody will enter or can re-enter the paddock after 9.15pm.

The dance party will go through until 1am.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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