A party at a mansion in the Auckland suburb of Westmere descended into bloody chaos when a guest suffered critical injuries after being apparently stabbed by a champagne flute.
The event on Friday night was at a property in Rawene Ave that was crowned NZ Home & Entertaining Home of the Year in 2007. One of the attendees told the Herald it was a "beautiful occasion, with wonderful catering" - but shortly before 8pm it took a dark turn.
"The only other sound was laughter and the clinking of champagne glasses, then I heard a gargled yell from [the victim], who I was standing right next to. I turned around and saw him holding his neck, and so much blood was rushing out of his shirt."
The party's host, builder Mark Ensom, is credited by witnesses with saving the victim's life after he staunched the severe bleeding while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
"The host, with a couple of other guys, held him and were miracle workers. I think [Mark] saved his life, definitely saved his life - he plugged the hole and didn't take his fingers out of the guy's neck until the ambulance staff took over."
The catered party, at the home of Ensom and his partner Steph Winitana, was attended by several dozen of the city's property and financial elite and was intended to honour the couple's relationship - but the night became memorable for all the wrong reasons.
St John ambulance confirmed an emergency call was made at 7.58pm. At least six police cars and medical staff arrived on the scene within 10 minutes.
The victim was treated on site, then transported by ambulance to Auckland City Hospital in what St John described as a critical condition.
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The Herald understands the victim underwent hours of emergency surgery on Friday night, to both stem bleeding and remove broken glass from his neck, but over the weekend his condition improved to stable.
"From what we've been told, he was very lucky to be alive," the witness said.
Ensom declined to comment when contacted this morning.
Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Anderson said police's handling of the incident was complicated by "a number of intoxicated and unco-operative people at the address".
"Additional police staff were required to bring the scene under control and to allow inquiry work to be carried out," Anderson said in a statement.
"No arrests have been made at this stage, however our investigation is continuing to progress."