Far North pub owners are banding together to stamp out bad behaviour after an increase in bar fights since the lockdown.
A key initiative of the newly formed Far North Accord, which brings together eight bars in the wider Kaitaia area, is sharing information about troublemakers.
The new scheme will give publicans the option of trespassing anyone who has been trespassed from another bar in the group.
That means troublemakers won't be able to go down the road to a different pub if they are banned from one establishment, and could act as a strong disincentive to those who go out with the aim of picking fights.
Stan Day, the owner of Collards Sports Bar in Kaitaia, said fighting was the main issue pub owners wanted to fix.
The problem had increased since the Covid-19 lockdown ended, which he put down to more people going out and socialising.
''I think people were locked up so long they're just keen to get out. Along with the increase in clientele we've also had more problems. There's just more people in the same space."
Police and the council's district licensing officer suggested he try setting up an accord, a voluntary agreement which aims to reduce alcohol-related harm. The agreements bring together an area's licensed premises, police and other community agencies.
''We wanted to be proactive and do our bit in the community, so I mentioned it to some of my publican mates and invited all the licensees to come together.''
Eight bar and pub owners from Kaitaia, Herekino, Houhora, Mangonui, Taipa and Waipapakauri attended last Friday's inaugural meeting of the Far North Accord or put in apologies, so all but a few licensed premises in the area were on board.
It was a chance to meet face-to-face and discuss issues facing the industry, such as how they had managed during Covid-19 restrictions.
The key decision taken was to share information about troublemakers.
Day said a Messenger page had been set up for the group so if a problem occurred at one establishment other bar owners and managers could be quickly notified.
''If we trespass someone for bad behaviour we'll post their name and a photo, and we'll say 'This guy has come to Collards, he's caused trouble, we've trespassed him for a year'. Then it's up to the other publicans what action to take.''
Some pubs had decided to take joint action so if someone was trespassed from Collards, for example, that person would also be trespassed from Tuatua Tavern, Waipapakauri Hotel and Mangonui Hotel.
Other establishments would decide what action to take on a case-by-case basis.
''We wanted to send a message to the community that, as a group, we won't tolerate any kind of poor behaviour. If someone plays up here, and we trespass them, they can't just go down the road and think they can get away with it somewhere else. We want people to think twice before behaving badly."
The same rules applied to private functions held at any of the venues covered by the accord, which meant people who had been trespassed could also miss out on work and family functions.
''We've found trespassing individuals on its own hasn't got the message through. They'd come back after doing their time, then do it all over again,'' Day said.
General manager Petrina Marinkovich said the repeat offenders weren't regulars.
''It's randoms who say, 'I'll come to Collards and cause a bit of trouble'.''
She said the number of people going out since the lockdown had increased sharply, with the food side of the business doubling as more groups and families opted to eat out.
As well as just enjoying the chance to socialise again she believed people were responding to messages about supporting local businesses.
Dave Collard, who ran the tavern in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said he had tried a similar information-sharing system in his day but it fell down due to lack of technology.
''I'd have to take a photo [of trespassed people], get it printed off, then post a copy to every pub in the area.''
Bar owners could now share information and photos instantly, he said.
Meanwhile, a gaming trust is also helping stamp out bad behaviour.
The Oxford Sports Trust, which operates gaming machines at Collards and other venues, has written to rugby and other sports clubs it funds around the Far North.
The trust's letter warns that if a club's players cause trouble at an Oxford venue, funding to the club will be at risk.
That gives club managers a strong incentive to make sure players are well behaved when they go out after a game.
The next Far North Accord meeting will be held in October. As well as publicans it will be attended by police, the district council, the Northland Hospitality Association and other parties.
Alcohol accords already exist in many places around the country, including Whangārei.
Some include area-wide agreements on maximum opening hours or lock-in policies, whereby patrons aren't allowed in after a certain hour. In the Far North, however, licensing hours are already limited in most cases to 10am-1am.