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Social event planning

Any function that involves students, and at which alcohol is present, is covered by University Regulations. The following forms are to be completed by the organiser of the function and approved by the President/Head of Department. They are to be filed with the Proctor no less than 7 days prior to the event taking place.

Is a special liquor licence needed?

Consider the scenarios below when determining whether your social event plans require a special liquor licence:

  • If an event is held at a licenced premises such as Starters Bar, the bar holds the liquor licence – organisers can reply on the bar's licence for their event and do not need a special licence. Provided that the licensee is receiving the proceeds (which is the usual practice) and the event is held within the usual licensed hours.
  • If an event is held on the University of Otago premises where the University Union is providing catering and alcohol – organisers can rely on the University Union's liquor licence for their event and do not need a special licence. This is the case as the endorsement on the University Union liquor licence allows for them to “cater”.
  • For a residential college where as part of a formal dinner an alcoholic drink is provided as part of the meal at no charge – no special liquor licence is required as the meal is free and so is the drink. No sale takes place and therefore no licence required.
  • The Head of the Department of Physics has a few drinks for his department on a Friday night in the staff meal room. The head pays for the drinks and no money changes hands. No sale takes place, therefore no licence required.
  • The Department of Maths has a few drinks on a Friday night in the meal room. A cash bar operates run by the social club. A Special Liquor Licence is required as this is defined by the act as a sale.
  • The Pacific Island Centre host a graduation event where all invited guests get a drink at no cost – where the University Union is not involved. No sale takes place and therefore no licence is required.
  • The OUSA Bagpipe Club hold an event. The event is ticketed, with the ticket comes a wrist band that has three tokens that can be surrendered to obtain three alcoholic drinks. No money changes hands aside from purchasing the ticket to the event. A special liquor licence is needed as this is defined in the Act as a sale.

Please note that the sections in the Act that relate to supplying a minor and serving intoxicated people apply even if the premises/event is not licensed.

Good One Party Register

The Proctor's Office is fully supportive of the Good One Party Register, a joint initiative with the OUSA, Health Promotion Agency, University of Otago and the Police for people to register their party online. By registering you are automatically forwarded advice about being a responsible host and what to do should things get out of hand.

General advice for hosting a safe party

Host responsibility

There is an expectation of the hosts to deliver a safe and lawful event. No one should be on rooftops, no one should be throwing items or breaking glass.


Don't let anyone set/light any fires regardless of whether they are contained in a brazier, etc. as the Otago Regional Council has a regulation banning all fires in Dunedin City. The penalty for this is $300 payable by the residents of the flat.

Keep track of who is attending the party

Try and make sure you know who is attending your party. You are responsible for their behaviour at your place. Be aware that local thieves and burglars like to party too!

Look after your friends

Take care of your friends and visitors who over-indulge in alcohol. If your mate is engaging in poor or risky behaviour, do or say something to intervene, that is what a good friend would do.

Warn the neighbours

Let your neighbours know. They are much less likely to get angry at the noise if they know it's coming.

If things get out of hand…

If, through no fault of your own, things do start to get out of hand consider calling Campus Watch or Police.

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