New Zealand beach town, Whangamata, is a popular local hotspot for New Year’s Eve celebrations and debauchery. Every year teens trek to this boozy beach locale in droves for a night of fireworks, dancing, and lots of public drinking, a point of contention for townspeople seeking to cut down on the number of drunk adolescents on raucous holiday celebrations.
The town invoked a public liquor ban in Coromandel towns during most public holidays. But the ban all but stopped one group of crafty drinkers from setting up shop on their own, man-made, boozy resort off the coast.
BBC reported a group of New Zealanders perched atop a sand island in the Tairua estuary on the Coromandel Peninsula in the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, a clever attempt at circumventing the town’s public drinking ban. The private island — constructed out of sand, seashells and wooden blanks — included a picnic table and ice box for drinks so the revelers could ring in the new year buzzed on “international waters” while avoiding the authorities.
The group’s organizer, Leon Hayward, had apparently spent most of New Year’s Eve building the sandbar, about six hours with the help of five of his close friends, all in a collaborative effort to work around the ban. Hayward told TIME that the idea was a “good laugh” and would pose a “gray area” on the drinking ban.
Hayward and his cohorts drank into the night on New Year’s Eve, watching fireworks on their private, pint-size island without confrontations with the authorities. Violating the public drinking ban could cost you $250 or an arrest. Authorities, however, took the group’s lengthy efforts as a creative feat worth joining.
Police Inspector John Kelly, told BBC that had he known about the group’s sanctuary, he would have joined them.
The drinking ban was enacted after reports of alcohol-related arrests had been made over New Year’s Eve celebrations on the beach, Delish reported. Community organizer, Noddy Watts, told BBC that he believed the ban was not working to reduce the number of drunk teens and the issue should be dealt with by parents instead.