In what has become somewhat of a Kiwi tradition, young people across New Zealand will be coming together to celebrate Crate Day this Saturday, but health officials are warning about the dangers of binge drinking.
According to a Whanganui Hospital spokesperson, Crate Day is "one of the busier" days for the emergency department each year, with a large influx of males aged 18-30 showing with alcohol-related symptoms or injuries.
The tradition involves purchasing an entire crate of beer, or twelve 745ml bottles, and attempting to consume them all within one day.
A crate is equivalent to around 30 standard drinks, or 300g of pure alcohol. Like past years, liquor stores are again getting in on the act, bringing in a larger supply of crates for the occasion. One is even selling crates of RTDs as opposed to beer for those less partial to a brew.
In Whanganui, Big Barrell Liquor on Victoria Ave had a stack of crates ready for sale. A staff member inside the shop told the Chronicle that while few had purchased crates so far, she was expecting a busy weekend.
"It goes nuts on Friday and Saturday morning. Last year we went through a few pallets," the staff member said.
"We get really busy in the lead-up."
But despite the popularity of the event, health officials are urging people to be careful this Crate Day.
Whanganui DHB health promotion officer Chester Penaflor warned that binge drinking, particularly outdoors in the heat, can be harmful.
"Drinking large amounts of alcohol can result in confusion, blurred vision, poor muscle control, nausea, vomiting, sleep, coma, and even death," Penaflor said.
"It can also impair a person's judgement and decision-making ability, which can increase the risk that they may do silly things and put themselves in dangerous situations."
Penaflor said that after consuming such a significant amount of alcohol, it's important that people recognise the amount of time it takes to sober up before making any significant decisions.
"Those who are driving or going to operate machinery should remember alcohol takes time to leave the body, and they may still have alcohol in their body several hours or even the day after drinking," Penaflor added.
"If you are planning to take part in Crate Day, you should think about getting home safely - carpooling with a sober driver or sharing taxis are good ideas."
Penaflor said his advice was simple.
"Remember, alcohol affects different people in different ways, so keep an eye out for your mates and they will keep an eye out for you.
"Remember to put mates before crates."
Police are urging Crate Day participants to keep themselves safe, saying they aren't out to stop people from having fun.
"We are aware that some people may choose to participate in Crate Day gatherings. Police will be out patrolling to keep our communities safe.
"This isn't about stopping people from enjoying a beer with their mates. We want you have fun, while keeping yourself and others safe," a police spokesperson said.
"We will be enforcing local liquor bans and if you are drinking, make sure you plan ahead and know how you're getting home.
"Socialising is fun, but drinking and driving should not be mixed. If you are going to drive, avoid alcohol.
"It's important that everyone takes responsibility for keeping themselves safe."
Police suggest these easy steps if you are hosting a Crate Day or other event:
• Supervise the party and make sure there is enough food and non-alcoholic drinks available. Think about how your guests will get home.
• Remember, you can't supply minors with alcohol unless you have the permission of their parent or legal guardian.
• If you are a parent or caregiver and there are young people drinking at your place, make sure they are supervised at all times.