Get Prepared

The links below tell you what you need to know to reduce alcohol harm at public events.

If alcohol is being sold and supplied at a public event a licence will be required.  This is usually a special licence. Please also check out the section on Alcohol licensing developed by Health Promotion Agency. 

This licence will require the event organisers or the licence holder to have appropriate plans in place to ensure the safe and responsible use of alcohol and the safety of event goers.

Larger events will require a greater level of management and planning. Click on the tool below to learn more.

Guidelines for Managing Alcohol At Large Events

Other useful Health Promotion Agency resources include the Alcohol Management Plan template and Guidelines for Safe Zones at Large Events.

A licence is not required for private functions where alcohol is supplied by the host or the guests for their own consumption (unless the function is held on a licensed premises).  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t responsibilities associated with private functions. Please click here for the relevant section of the Act. 

Sometimes events are not licensed but alcohol consumption is still a problem.  This is often related to people bringing alcohol to the event, drinking prior to the event or the event’s proximity to other places where drinking is taking place.

Minors at public events where alcohol is sold

Some public events which sell alcohol may be restricted to only those 18 years and over.

Other events may allow minors to attend but with special requirements. Some festivals may also have a minimum age that the minor must be, e.g. one music festival in NZ requires that all attendees are over the age of 15 years.

There must be signage at the event stating that alcohol will not be sold to minors. Security and bar staff should ensure that minors do not enter licensed areas and are not supplied with alcohol from other patrons.

There are some legal matters you need to be aware of before you plan your event, especially if your event is going to be held on a licensed premises or if you require a licence for the event.

Sale of alcohol to minors & minors on premises

It is illegal for those under 18 years to purchase alcohol or to enter some licensed premises (those premises with a ‘restricted’ designation on their licence, and those with a “supervised” designation  if they enter without their legal parent or guardians). There are implications for both the supplier/licensee and the purchaser. Please check the relevant sections of the Act:

Section 239 - Sale or supply of alcohol to people under purchase age on or from licensed premises
Section 240 - Exemptions in respect of licensed premises
Section 243 - Buying of alcohol by people under purchase age

Supply of alcohol to minors

It is also illegal for anyone to supply alcohol to those under 18 years without the express consent of their legal parent or guardian.  Any alcohol supplied to those under 18 years must be done so in a responsible manner.  Please check the relevant sections of the Act and other section of ActionPoint: 

Drink driving limits

The legal alcohol limit for driving is ZERO for those under 20 years and 50mcg/100mls (0.05) of blood for other drivers.  If people are driving to your event you must take this into consideration. Click here for more information on drink driving.

Allowing an unlicensed event for people to gather specifically to drink

Place of Resort – It is illegal to allow an unlicensed premises to be used as a place of resort for the consumption of alcohol. Sections 235 and 236 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 outline the offences related to this.  

The Police have issued guidance on this - please click here.

For further information, you can read the following legal summary - please click here.