Police have confirmed that an officer spoke to a group of "boisterous" hockey players at Wellington Airport before the group allegedly disrupted a safety briefing on a flight to Auckland.

"Airport police received a report of a loud, boisterous group at the bar on Sunday at around 8pm," a spokeswoman said.

"An officer attended and talked to the group who left the bar and went to their gate without incident."

The "rowdy" and "intoxicated" Hockey New Zealand players on an Air New Zealand flight are under investigation after reportedly disrupting the safety briefing on Sunday night.


The Auckland and North Harbour men's and women's squads had played a league final that afternoon and were heading to Auckland from the capital.

One source told the Herald the male and female players were drunk, rowdy and disrupted the safety briefing.

The unnamed source also said some of the players did not follow crew instructions.

Hockey New Zealand media and digital manager John Whiting said the players were in "high spirits and emotionally charged".

He acknowledged the players had drinks in their changing room after the games, but said management were confident none were intoxicated.

However another witness has now come forward to tell the Herald that it was "quite wrong to say that players only had a drinks in their changing rooms after the game".

"I was at Wellington Airport awaiting a delayed flight, and there was a group of about 30 players already drinking heavily at least 30 minutes before they were to board their flight to Auckland," the witness said.

"Players were bringing handles of beer to the tall tables and encouraging each other to skull the drinks with loud shouts.

"Airport staff appeared quite concerned with the behaviour, and after about 20 minutes a police officer arrived and dispersed them.

"The adults with the group in particular looked very sheepish. The officer stayed for around 20 minutes as the group lumbered down the terminal to their flight. The airport took about 15 minutes to clear the tables and mop the floors.

"I am quite surprised they were permitted to board the flight as they already appeared drunk and while it did seem spirited rather than menacing the rate they were drinking and the number of players involved meant that it could easily have gotten out of hand. There appeared to be non-existent or at least wildly ineffective supervision in place."

But another witness told the Herald: "I was on the flight. They were excited to have won the tournament, maybe had a beer or two, but I saw no sign of intoxication whatsoever."

"For goodness sake why can't we celebrate their success and share their joy?
NZ, the glass is half full!!!" he said.

Whiting said Hockey New Zealand staff, who were travelling separately, apologised to cabin crew after the flight had landed.

"On behalf of Hockey New Zealand and the teams in question we sincerely apologise for any disruption or offence caused to the airline or other passengers on the flight through excessive noise or any offensive actions," he said.

''We have spoken to the chief executives [of Auckland and North Harbour] and they have given their version of events. We have them looking [further] into it.

''There have been no complaints to us or the airline. We are keeping an eye on it and doing some digging ourselves.

"If they crossed the line and were inappropriate we will deal with it. Obviously we take any claims like that very seriously. We're not taking it lightly. The only thing we've heard is they were a bit loud and there was some singing on the flight."

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline had not received any complaints.

National women's coach and former Australian international Mark Hager was not on the same flight as the players but admitted the potential tainting of the game was disappointing if the claims of misbehaviour at the airport and on the flight were correct.

He also suggested there may have been some naivety on the part of younger players regarding the way social media works.

"If that behaviour (is proven) it shouldn't be condoned," Hager said.

Wellington Airport marketing manager Arpita Dutta confirmed that airport staff contacted the airport police to intervene because of "loud and boisterous behaviour". He said the players "were responsive to the police".