This year’s Queenstown Nines Rugby League Tournament may not be a completely dry event, provided the organising committee obtains a special licence.
Yesterday the Queenstown Lakes District Council voted unanimously to adopt a 48-hour temporary alcohol ban, sought by police, to coincide with “Crate Day”.
In the unofficial event, held during the first weekend of summer, participants consume a crate of beer.
The proposed ban was a way of avoiding the carnage caused during the 2016 event when large crowds of people converged on the Village Green and became increasingly disorderly.
Initially the ban area included the Queenstown CBD, Lake Wakatipu foreshore, from the One Mile roundabout to Park St, the Queenstown Gardens and the Queenstown Recreation Ground.
However, the third annual nines tournament is scheduled to be held at the recreation ground on December 2.
The council gave the tournament organisers a lifeline at its meeting in Wanaka yesterday, voting to exclude an area of the ground, enabling the committee to apply for a special licence to service a “corporate area”.
Tournament chairman Taika Brooks welcomed the decision.
He says he’s been “bummed out” at the prospect of the fledgling event, now in its third year, having to be a dry one.
“It’s always nice to have a beer while you’re watching sport.”
This year, 18 teams from across New Zealand, including Auckland’s representative side the Akarana Falcons, registered interest, but only eight were selected.
They included the 2016 champions Riccarton Knights, of Christchurch, and the Ngongotaha Chiefs, from Rotorua.
Brooks says the committee aim to grow the event, possibly running it over two days.
“We want to create an environment where players are dying to come down here every year and play in this tournament.
“But in the future we’ll make sure we don’t have it on Crate Day, or the day after.”
Tracey Roxburgh – Otago Daily Times