Police say "it's too early to speculate" whether charges will be laid after a University of Otago student died at a rowdy flat party.

Two other people were seriously injured following a panicked stampede from the party at Police say "it's too early to speculate" whether charges will be laid after a University of Otago student died at a rowdy flat party.he attempted to leave the overcrowded house, a witness says.

Otago Coastal Commander Inspector Marty Gray said the victim was carried out of the house by other people and resuscitation attempts were made.

"There were 500-600 party goers, very anxious, a lot of uncertainity as you'd imagine."


Officers and other partygoers worked on the woman for a "good five minutes" before St John arrived.

"Police, on arriving...their focus immediately was to determine what was going on and then one thing led to another. It was a very quick succession of events."

Police received the call just before midnight last night requesting assistance breaking up the party.

Gray said Campus Watch had called about general disorder to police. Then, on the way to respond, another call was made to police over the injuries.

"Police were not confronted by any resistance or disorder" from partygoers, Gray said.

"Everyone was in a state of shock and everyone was trying to help out."

There were no arrests at the scene.

"It's not a time to point fingers. We need to rally around the community.


"It's news no parent wants to hear. They live outside of Dunedin and they've been told of their daughter's death this morning.

"Just like a parent myself, just join with us and understand the situation those parents [of the deceased] are going through."

Gray said the family have been offered support by police, University of Otago and Victims Support.

Police said the staircase in the house did not collapse, and they now have to determine what occured, which will include and examination of the scene, gathering information from people at the party and making a number of other enquiries.

"Police are interested to hear from all people who attended the party."

Student fatally 'trampled': Witness

A student who attended the party told the Herald people fell down the flat's stairs and landed on top of the woman, who suffered fatal injuries.

"She may have been trampled," the student said.

"I went outside and saw her lying on the ground being given CPR."

The hosts had called earlier police for help to shut down the party before the woman died.

Shoes were strewn among the beer bottles outside the house this morning. Photo / ODT
Shoes were strewn among the beer bottles outside the house this morning. Photo / ODT

This morning, emergency tape cordoned off the property and shoes, glass alcohol bottles, cans and boxes were strewn on the street outside.

There had been reports the stairwell of the flat had collapsed during the party, however, the student told the Herald it had not.

Another partygoer told the Otago Daily Times of the shock that hit people as they exited the party.

"Shock . . .and obviously sadness. But shock more than anything.

"It's just a horrible, horrible way to go, you know."

Another student said hundreds of people were flooding into the flat before the incident and many of the partygoers were "extremely intoxicated".

When the stampede started to exit the flat, attendees were panicked trying to get out the door when the girl fell over, she said.

"She fell and people were just trampling all over her without taking much notice," the student, who asked not to be named, told the Herald.

"When I was coming down, people had started giving her CPR but she was gone pretty fast, unfortunately."

Once police officers were inside the flat, everyone got out really quickly, she said.

The street outside was flooded with people and at least eight police cars, three ambulances, and two fire engines were at the scene.

She had heard rumours the party was the last blowout for "The Manor" as it had been bought by the University of Otago.

A female student died at the overcrowded student flat dubbed 'The Manor'. Photo / ODT
A female student died at the overcrowded student flat dubbed 'The Manor'. Photo / ODT

Exams were just around the corner and university year was due to end around the start of November, so it was one of the last big parties, she said.

A spokesperson for the Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) offered their sympathies to the family and those affected by the death.

"We are at this point working together with the university and relevant authorities."

University of Otago vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the student community had been badly affected by the death of the woman, who was a student.

"We are deeply saddened by what occurred last night. We are supporting the family of the student who died," she said.

"Our staff are working with them today, and will continue to do so, at this very difficult time."

The university would work with police as they continued to investigate the incident.

'Please don't let me die, I don't want to die'

Other partygoers told of being crushed and trampled while trying to flee the out-of-control student party.

One student told the Herald she was nearly crushed in the stampede to exit the flat and was fearful she would die.

"I got pushed to the ground with two other girls I remember, and we were looking at each other screaming and crying trying to get up," she said.

"I kept repeating 'please don't let me die, I don't want to die'.

"I don't know how long I was down there, but it was the most terrifying experience of my life - I thought that was how I was going to die."

Someone managed to grab her hand and help her off the ground: "I just ran out of the building screaming."

She was not injured but very shaken up, she said. The flat was so full, no one was able to move around inside.

Meanwhile, a third student who left before the stampede said he left the party because he was getting worried about how overcrowded it was.

"There was one point where I was swept over and fell down with a couple of other people," he said.

"It was pretty standard [for flats to be full], it's happened before at flat parties but this was certainly worse than I've experienced in the past."

"It was like a school of fish moving around … you didn't really have control over what was happening."

Another partygoer told the Otago Daily Times he saw St John whisk three people away from the scene in an ambulance.

Many of those at the party were panicked during the incident as partygoers tried to leave the house. It "felt like an hour" for him to get out, he said.

Hosts asked for police help to shut down party

Emergency services were called to help shut down the party at "The Manor" just before midnight by its occupants.

The well-known student flat was teeming with people and when emergency services arrived, a large number of them were trying to leave the property.

People were injured as they attempted to leave, Otago Coastal Area Commander Marty Gray said.

The Dunedin Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) had been advised of the death and Victim Support had been made available, he said.

Gray pleaded for partygoers to touch base with police.

Police speak to media after fatal Dunedin student party. Video / ODT

"If you were at the party and have not spoken to police, we would ask you to please get in touch, to help us piece together what happened."

Overnight, the intersection of Dundas St, Clyde St and Lovelock Ave was blocked off by firefighters and police crew.

Hundreds of people had attended the party, and spilled out on to Dundas St after the incident. A section of the street was later cordoned off by police officers.

University of Otago Campus Watch staff joined firefighters, ambulance staff and police officers at the scene.

A spokeswoman for the Southern District Health Board was not able to provide any information when asked about patients at an incident on Dundas St.

In 2016, 16 people were moderately injured and two others seriously injured when a balcony collapsed at another Dunedin student flat.

Emergency services were called to that property - on Castle St, also in the student quarter - after the incident which occurred during a concert by the band Six60.

Up to 1500 students were at the party. Police discovered the balcony had been overloaded.

Witnesses described seeing bloodied, injured people - described by police as "walking wounded" - after the incident.

No one was charged in relation to the collapse.