Court showing after party spirals out of control

A house in Lordens Pl, Fernhill was the venue for Saturday night’s party. Photo: Louise Scott.
A house in Lordens Pl, Fernhill was the venue for Saturday night’s party. Photo: Louise Scott.
A 23-year-old man will appear in the Queenstown District Court charged with disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence after a party at a Fernhill house spiralled out of control on Saturday night.

Senior Sergeant Paula Enoka, of Queenstown, said an investigation was under way and others at the party could be charged.

Officers were called from Wanaka, Alexandra and Cromwell to help local staff shut down the party after Queenstown Lakes District Council noise control received multiple complaints.

An estimated 300-350 young people attended the party at the Lordens Pl house, after it was advertised on social media.

''Everyone was moderately to highly intoxicated.''

Partygoers threw bottles at officers, who seized the sound equipment and closed down the party about 1pm.

One neighbour said, on social media, his car was broken into  and residents took to Facebook to complain about the amount of broken bottles and rubbish left behind. 

The shindig was advertised on social media as the "Fernhill Mansion Party" and hosted by Queenstown’s "mostcooked", a public Facebook page. Party-goers were promised "free beer funnel on entry", "Beer pong" and "live DJs" on the publicly shared invitation.

Those who live at the property, believed to be a rental, did not want to speak to the media when approached by the Otago Daily Times yesterday. Neither did a number of other party-goers. Queenstown Lakes District Council communications manager Michele Poole confirmed noise control received a number of complaints, the first at 9pm.

Council staff initially cautioned party organisers.  After more complaints they went back to seize all sound equipment.

"Pretty much they handed over to police once they saw what the situation was. The equipment was described as professional gear — so the council has confiscated that. The party was eventually shut down at about 1am with police assistance."

One Fernhill resident, who asked not to be named, said the music kept getting "louder and louder and louder".

"You could hear crashing and smashing of bottles, there were people everywhere. It was very intimidating."

As the crowd grew, more and more people loitered on the road and driveway and there was a stream of vehicles and pedestrians going to and from the property, at the end of the road. She said police used megaphones to try to control crowds.

"It was terrible, so many people, all drinking. There was just no consideration for anyone else."

A police spokeswoman wasn’t able to confirm how many officers attended the scene but said two additional units from Alexandra, and one from Wanaka were drafted in to help.

"Police were called by noise control to assist with a large party on Lordens Place in Fernhill. There were reports of around 300 people at the party, however numbers are not confirmed. Several people were reported to be throwing bottles and behaving in a disorderly manner, including towards police. Several units attended and party-goers moved on after the police presence and only one person was arrested, a 23-year-old who will appear in Queenstown court [today] on a disorderly behaviour charge."

Fernhill residents were left to deal with the tidy-up  and a Facebook post showed bags full of rubbish gathered from along Fernhill Rd and the Eight To Late Foodcentre,  on the corner of Fernhill Rd and Richards Park Lane. Others complained bottles and rubbish had been discarded in nearby gardens.

Ms Poole confirmed council would send in street cleaners if  needed.

Organisers of the party seemed undeterred by the negative comments and planned to hold another party yesterday.An updated Facebook invitation said, "Hope you all had fun last night, we definitely did! If you’re that way inclined, feel free to roll around for a sunday sesh and bring a box for the boys."

- additional reporting Guy Williams


And we are going to be seeing a lot more house parties, as the 'nanny state' campaign against having a good time in bars continues to drive people out of licensed establishments and back into private residences - it will be a return to the house party heyday of the '70s & '80s, the last time NZ licensing laws were stupid and over enforced. Queenstown should take a leaf out of the resorts in Europe where bars close when the customers leave, you can buy whole bottles of spirits over the bar, pour your own measures, be solely responsible for how smashed you get and the consequences there of.