Alcohol consumption can become a problem when it is consumed in public places, in certain settings or at events. 

Although the majority of alcohol is consumed in private homes and within on-licences (bars, restaurants, etc), there are also a number of other settings where drinking occurs. This includes public outdoor spaces (e.g. parks, beaches), workplaces, public events (e.g. music festivals), tertiary settings, sports and others clubs, etc.

‘It is widely recognised that the environments in which we live, work, learn and play impact in a significant way upon the way we live our lives. This has certainly been shown to be the case in terms of the various ways in which the wider environment can influence alcohol use.’ [1: piii].

Alcohol consumed in places which are available to the public (where consumption is often uncontrolled), can present many problems:

  • Intoxication in public places can result in assaults, aggressive behaviour, and crime.
  • Alcohol use  can also decrease the quality or attractiveness of the public space in terms of noise, vandalism, property damage, and  alcohol-related litter (broken bottles, cartons, etc). 

This section will guide you to take action on any concerns you have about alcohol being consumed in public spaces.

Remember if the problem is occurring now and you are concerned about the safety of yourself or others - please call the Police.

Alcohol in public places

Drinking in public places is associated with significant harm and disorder and is an important setting to address to reduce alcohol-related harm. Public places includes parks, reserves, beaches, streets, etc.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol at public events

Alcohol consumption can cause problems at events – this is often due to intoxication. Drunken behaviour can easily disrupt an event and spoil the event for you and others.  If the event is attended by young people it can also expose them to poor behaviour and role modelling as well as alcohol marketing and promotion.

Read this section if you are concerned about the way alcohol is managed at public events you attend or have attended events where problems have arisen. This includes music festivals, cultural and social events, arts performances, and so on.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in schools / tertiary settings (e.g. Universities)

Education facilities such as schools and universities play important roles in protecting and promoting the health and well-being of children and young people.  

Given the high levels of alcohol harm experienced by young people and young adults, it is very important that these settings promote wellbeing rather than increase the risk in these vulnerable groups. 

For example, schools play other important functions in communities, and are often a hub for community gatherings and these sometimes involve alcohol. Some schools have licences to sell/serve alcohol, others use alcohol sales as a fund-raising activity. School Balls have also caused concern.

Tertiary students are among our heaviest drinking groups in New Zealand, putting them at increased risk of alcohol-related harm as well as failing to reach their academic potential. Orientation and other university student events, and student-oriented bars sometimes serve to highlight this.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in workplaces

Alcohol consumption has serious implications for both employers and employees in workplaces.  This can range from death and injury as a result of impairment, to absenteeism and lost productivity, and general low morale of the work force.

Some workplace settings have higher safety risks - these include construction, manufacturing, forestry and those where driving/machine operation are a key component of the activities. Workplaces where there is a high level of stress can also contribute to alcohol use.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in sports and other clubs

Sports and other clubs form an integral part of any community.  They can provide a place for building knowledge and skills, fitness and physical activity, cultural or artistic expression as well as social connection.  Clubs often provide essential facilities and activities for children and young people so it is important to ensure these environments are safe and supportive of good health and wellbeing.

However, alcohol consumption can sometimes undermine these benefits and threaten the viability of the club.  For example, problems can arise if one or more of the members are bringing their problematic drinking into the club environment, spectators are drinking prior to and/or during the game, or after-match functions or club events involve heavy drinking.

Taking Action to address any alcohol problems associated with clubs will largely depend on your relationship with the club.  If you are a member you can work from within the club, where as if you are not a member you will need to find alternative avenues.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol and the great outdoors

Our mountains and other wide open spaces - beaches, rivers and lakes, our flora and fauna - are all part of what makes New Zealand unique and beautiful.  They are often home to many of our cultural and environmental taonga.

They also present a number of inherent risks to users. This requires us all to take special care to enjoy them safely and to preserve their beauty and value.  

Alcohol use in these places can cause problems. These can range from serious risk to health and safety, to damage to property and facilities, to noise and nuisance.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in Marae

Alcohol in churches (especially Pacific churches)

Church settings are commonly used to promote healthy behaviours. In New Zealand, most church-based health programmes have been conducted in churches mostly attended by Pacific peoples.

This section focuses on church-based strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. 

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study


Alcohol in the home

In New Zealand, 75% of all alcohol is purchased from off-licensed premises and consumed elsewhere, often in private settings/homes.[1]

Unlike drinking in supervised environments (bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc), drinking in and around the home is relatively unrestricted and uncontrolled. The home environment also has a significant influence on young peoples’ experiences and exposure to alcohol.

Ensuring our homes provide the safest possible drinking environment can significantly reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study


References - Places & Events

  1. Information Team Community and Public Health. Health Promotion in Tertiary Settings: reducing alcohol-related harm. Christchurch: Canterbury District Health Board; 2015. Available from [Accessed 25 July 2017].
  2. New Zealand Law Commission. Alcohol in Our Lives: Curbing the harm: A report on the review of the regulatory framework for the sale and supply of liquor. Wellington: New Zealand Law Commission; 2010.
  3. New Zealand Law Commission. Alcohol in Our Lives: An issue paper on the reform of New Zealand's liquor laws. Wellington: New Zealand Law Commission; 2009.
  4. Nielsen. Quality of Life Survey. 2014.Retrieved from [Accessed 25 July 2017].
  5. Labhart F, Graham K, Wells S, et al. Drinking before going to licensed premises: An event‐level analysis of predrinking, alcohol consumption, and adverse outcomes. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2013;37:284-91.
  6. Miller P, Sonderlund AL, Coomber K, et al. The effect of community interventions on alcohol-related assault in Geelong, Australia. The Open Criminal Journal 2010;5:8-15.
  7. Babor T. Alcohol: No ordinary commodity: Research and public policy. 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2010.
  8. Conway K. Booze and Beach Bans: Turning the tide through community action in New Zealand. Health Promot Internation 2002;17:171-7.
  9. Webb M, Marriot-Lloyd P, Grenfell M. Banning the Bottle: Liquor bans in New Zealand 2004. 3rd Australasian Drug Strategy Conference, Melbourne, Australia; 2004.
  10. Pennay A, Manton E, Savic M, et al. Prohibiting Public Drinking in an Urban Area: Determining the Impacts of Police, the Community and Marginalised Groups; National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund (NDLERF); Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2014.
  11. Webb G, Shakeshaft A, Sanson-Fisher R, et al. A systematic review of work-place interventions for alcohol-related problems. Addiction 2009; 104:365-77 doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02472.x.
  12. Greenaway A, Conway K, Field A, et al. Young People, Alcohol and Safer Public Spaces. Auckland: Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit, University of Auckland; 2002.
  13. Murray S, Morgan E, Batchelor J. Wellington City Council Liquor Control Bylaw Evaluation Police; Wellington: New Zealand Police; 2005.
  14. Silins E, Fergusson DM, Patton GC, et al. Adolescent substance use and educational attainment: an integrative data analysis comparing cannabis and alcohol from three Australasian cohorts. Drug Alcohol Depend 2015;156:90-6.
  15. Clark T, Fleming T, Molesen E, et al. Problem Substance Use Among New Zealand Secondary School Students: Findings from the Youth'12 National Youth Health and Wellbeing Survey. The Health and Wellbeing of New Zealand Secondary School Students in 2012; Adolescent Health Research Group, School of Nursing; The University of Auckland; 2014.
  16. Rehm J, Monga N, Adlaf  E, et al. School matters: drinking dimensions and their effects on alcohol-related problems among Ontario secondary school students. Alcohol and Alcoholism 2005;40:569-74.
  17. Kelly AB, O’Flaherty M, Toumbourou JW, et al. The influence of families on early adolescent school connectedness: evidence that this association varies with adolescent involvement in peer drinking networks. J Abnorm Child Psychol 2012;40:437-47.
  18. Ham LS, Hope DA. College students and problematic drinking: A review of the literature. Clin Psychol Rev 2003;23:719-59.
  19. Jennison KM. The short‐term effects and unintended long‐term consequences of binge drinking in college: a 10‐year follow‐up study. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 2004;30:659-84.
  20. Cashell-Smith ML, Connor JL, Kypri K. Harmful effects of alcohol on sexual behaviour in a New Zealand university community. Drug Alcohol Rev 2007;26:645-51.
  21. McEwan BJ. Student Culture and Binge Drinking. (Doctoral Dissertation, Doctoral Thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand) 2009.
  22. Ministry of Health. Annual Update of Key Results 2015/16: New Zealand Health Survey; Wellington: Ministry of Health; 2016.
  23. Kypri K, Cronin M, Wright CS. Do university students drink more hazardously than their Non‐student peers? Addiction 2005;100:713-4.
  24. Kypri K, Langley J, Stephenson S. Episode-centred analysis of drinking to intoxication in university students. Alcohol and Alcoholism 2005;40:447-52.
  25. McAnally HM, Kypri K. Alcohol and road safety behaviour among New Zealand tertiary students. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2004;16:229-38.
  26. Kypri K, Paschall MJ, Maclennan B, et al. Intoxication by drinking location: A web-based diary study in a New Zealand university community. Addict Behav 2007;32:2586-96.
  27. Kypri K, Bell ML, Hay GC, et al. Alcohol outlet density and university student drinking: a national study. Addiction 2008;103:1131-8.
  28. Gruenewald PJ, Treno AJ, Ponicki WR, et al. Impacts of New Zealand's lowered minimum purchase age on context‐specific drinking and related risks. Addiction 2015.
  29. Kypri K, Paschall MJ, Langley J, et al. Drinking and alcohol‐related harm among New Zealand university students: Findings from a national web‐based survey. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2009;33:307-14.
  30. Towl D. Alcohol Use and Tertiary Students in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Wellington: ALAC; 2004.
  31. Kypri K, Stephenson S, Langley J, et al. Computerised screening for hazardous drinking in primary care. The New Zealand Medical Journal (Online) 2005;118.
  32. Piazza-Gardner AK, Barry AE, Merianos AL. Assessing drinking and academic performance among a nationally representative sample of college students. J Drug Iss 2016;46:347-53.
  33. Thombs, D. L.Olds, R. S., Bondy, S. J., Winchell, J., Baliunas, D., & Rehm, J., Thombs DL, Olds RS, et al. Undergraduate drinking and academic performance: A prospective investigation with objective measures. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and drugs. 2009; 70:776-85.
  34. Pascarella ET, Goodman KM, Seifert TA, et al. College student binge drinking and academic achievement: A longitudinal replication and extension. Journal of College Student Development 2007;48:715-27.
  35. Tustin R. Tertiary Students and Alcohol Use in Aotearoa--New Zealand: An update of the research literature 2004-2010. Auckland: Alcohol Healthwatch; 2010.
  36. Cousins K, Connor JL, Kypri K. Reducing alcohol-related harm and social disorder in a university community: a framework for evaluation. Injury Prevention 2010;16:e1.
  37. University of Otago. Protor’s Office. Campus Watch Objectives. Retrieved from  [Accessed 24 July, 2017].
  38. Cousins K, Connor JL, Kypri K. Effects of the Campus Watch intervention on alcohol consumption and related harm in a university population. Drug Alcohol Depend 2014;143:120-6.
  39. Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, New Zealand Drug Foundation, Accident Compensation Corporation, et al. Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace - Employer Guide. Wellington: ALAC/NZ Drug Foundation/ACC; 2008.
  40. Clark TC, Fleming T, Bullen P. Youth'12 Prevalence Tables: The health and wellbeing of New Zealand secondary school students in 2012. Auckland: The University of Auckland; 2013.
  41. Slack A, Nana G, Webster M, et al. Costs of Harmful Alcohol and Other Drug Use. BERL Economics 2009:40.
  42. Ministry of Health. Alcohol use 2012/13: New Zealand Health Survey 2013. Wellington: Ministry of Health; 2015.
  43. Harrison PA, Fulkerson JA, Park E. The relative importance of social versus commercial sources in youth access to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Prev Med 2000;31:39-48.
  44.  O'brien KS, Kypri K. Alcohol industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking among sportspeople. Addiction 2008;103:1961-6.
  45. O'brien KS, Miller PG, Kolt GS, et al. Alcohol industry and non-alcohol industry sponsorship of sportspeople and drinking. Alcohol and Alcoholism 2011;46:210-3.
  46. Teevale T, Robinson E, Duffy S, et al. Binge drinking and alcohol-related behaviours amongst Pacific youth: a national survey of secondary school students. The New Zealand Medical Journal (Online) 2012;125.
  47. Kingsland M, Wolfenden L, Tindall J, et al. Tackling risky alcohol consumption in sport: a cluster randomised controlled trial of an alcohol management intervention with community football clubs. J Epidemiol Community Health 2015:204984.
  48. Ofanaite Dewes. Obesity Prevention in Pacific Adolescents: Is there a role for the church? The University of Auckland; 2010.
  49. Warren H, Kirk R, Lima L, Siataga P. Alcohol community interventions and services for Pacific peoples: Literature review; Wellington: Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporatio; 2006. Retrieved from [Accessed 20 October 2017]
  50. Cagney P, Alliston L. Pearl Unlimited – Pacific peoples and alcohol. Wellington: Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand; 2016. Retrieved from [Accessed 20 October 2017]
  51. Campbell MK, Hudson MA, Resnicow K, Blakeney N, Paxton A, Baskin M. Church-based health promotion interventions: evidence and lessons learned. Annu.Rev.Public Health 2007;28:213-234.
  52. Bell AC, Swinburn BA, Amosa H, Scragg RK. A nutrition and exercise intervention program for controlling weight in Samoan communities in New Zealand. Int J Obes 2001;25(6):920-927.
  53. Kemp K. Church Affiliation and Church Attendance by Pacific Ethnic-Groups [online]. Email to Esther U (; 2017 October [cited 9 November 2017]
  54. Fa'alili-Fidow J, Moselen E, Denny S, Dixon R, Teevale T, Ikihele A, et al. Youth’12 The Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School Students in New Zealand: Results for Pacific young people. The University of Auckland 2016.
  55. Schluter PJ, Tautolo E, Taylor S, Paterson J. Alcohol consumption by parents of Pacific families residing in New Zealand: findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study. Alcohol 2013;47(3):241-248.
  56. Leti Lima. Tafesilafa'i: Exploring Samoan alcohol use and health within the framework of Fa'aSamoa. The University of Auckland; 2004.
  57. Suaalii-Sauni T, Samu KS, Dunbar L, Pulford J, Wheeler A. A qualitative investigation into key cultural factors that support abstinence or responsible drinking amongst some Pacific youth living in New Zealand. Harm Reduction Journal 2012;9(1):36.