Mardi Gras in Ohakune over the weekend was "just a group hug of a party", according to organisers.

But police are not so enamoured at the number of drink-driving tickets they had to issue.

David Williams, who has been running the event in Ohakune since the early 2000s, said the event was "5000 people having a really great time".

"Police were really happy with the vibe in the crowd."


However 19 people were processed for driving with excess breath alcohol between Friday night and Sunday morning.

Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery said the numbers were unacceptable.

"We work hard to keep the roads, and drivers who take risks like this need to realise the consequences," he said.

"They are putting their lives and other people's lives in jeopardy."

Twelve drivers were pulled over on Saturday and Sunday morning and found to be over the alcohol limit.

"If drivers have been drinking heavily the night before, they shouldn't get behind the wheel the next morning. Alcohol stays in the system a long time and their driving skills can still be impaired even after sleep.

"Not only that, but the weather conditions were variable on Sunday with extreme wind and rain."

Mr Williams said: "It's less about drink driving, it's about stupidity, I think.

"We do a lot of advertising and send a lot of information to accommodation providers, all the bus and transport companies."

He said overall the event was a success.