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Their District Banned Liquor. These Heroes Built Their Own Island to Drink in the New Year

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A group of Kiwis wasn’t going to let a small thing, like a ban on alcohol in public places, stop them from celebrating the New Year with a few drinks. Instead of simply succumbing to the requirement, they took advantage of Sunday afternoon’s low tide and built an island out of sand out in the waters of the Tairua estuary.

The Coromandel, in New Zealand, banned liquor from public areas over the New Year period, preventing revelers from enjoying adult beverages while celebrating the holiday.

But, one group found a solution, building a sand island in the Tairua estuary and placing a picnic table on the mound, allowing them to enjoy a drink “in international waters,” according to a declaration from the partiers and as reported by Stuff.

A member of the group stated that, from the safety of their sand fort, everyone was able to circumvent the liquor ban, giving them a chance to drink well into the night and enjoy the fireworks show.

Sandra Goudie, the Thames-Coromandel mayor, made comparisons between the group and those who started Radio Hauraki.

“That’s the one thing I absolutely love about the Coromandel: the inventive nature of the people,” said Goudie. “It’s about creativity; the legal reality is somewhat different.”

According to Inspector John Kelly, the Waikato eastern area commander, the local police weren’t aware of the attempt to get around the ban.

“That’s creative thinking,” said Kelly. “If I had known that, I probably would have joined them.”

Police were enforcing the restrictions at all beaches in the Coromandel, but did not encounter the partiers who built the island in the water, whose activities may not have been entirely legal, based on the alcohol-related restrictions.

Based on the local law, police are able to enforce a liquor ban, including by searching vehicles without prior notice, as long as at least one sign is clearly visible that indicates the restriction is in place.

Without appropriate signage, law enforcement must allow a person to remove the alcohol from the area.

As of Monday morning, the sand island was still visible and appeared to be intact.