Eden Park stops school ball bookings after noise complaints over AGGS ball

Turning up to the school ball in a flash ride is a rite of passage for Kiwi teens – but for some noise-conscious neighbours of Eden Park Stadium the rowdy behaviour at drop off time has gone too far.

As Auckland Girls’ Grammar School students arrived at their school ball at Eden Park early on Friday evening, locals began calling the Eden Park Trust Board to complain.

Chief among their concerns were reports of loud stereos, revving cars and motorbikes and a traffic jam around the Sandringham Rd entrance. The Herald understands 11 complaints were made to the park’s 24/7 hotline.

Police and the school principal were called to get things under control and extra security was brought in. No warnings were made.

A Facebook post to The Hood – a private neighbours’ page set up by Eden Park – said the stadium’s trust board had been made aware of “anti-social behaviour of attendees and associates” arriving at the AGGS ball.

“This conduct will not be tolerated and Eden Park Catering will be instructed not to take any additional school ball bookings beyond those already in place,” the post said.

But most commenters weighing in on the Facebook post were on the students’ side, saying the noise was early in the evening and people needed to remember what it was like to be young.

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AGGS principal Ngaire Ashmore said the girls were dropped off between 7-8pm and she confirmed there had been some noisy vehicles, as well as a traffic jam.

She had been corresponding with the girls and their parents over the issue, she said. This was AGGS’ first time at Eden Park but past balls had not led to complaints.

“[The ball] was cancelled twice last year and so there was, I think, excitement that we were able to have a ball this year – that might have contributed to it. I’m not making any excuses if there were vehicles that were noisy. If there were concerns for residents, that concerns me.”

Barring the first hour of arrival, the ball had been “really successful”, Ashmore said.

“At 12 when it poured with rain and everybody left, it was a smooth and quiet exit from Eden Park.”

Eden Park’s chief executive Nick Sautner said it was disappointing that a few people’s behaviour had negatively affected residents.

“Eden Park is taking a proactive approach to managing school balls going forward, including not taking bookings beyond those already in place,” he said.

There had been “isolated” noise complaints on the night but locals had also expressed appreciation for how quickly and effectively Eden Park had dealt with the situation, he said.

The Herald understands Eden Park has been hosting more school balls than usual while hotel venues are being used for MIQ. Another six school balls are scheduled at the park this year, after which no more bookings are being taken for 2021.

In future, it’s understood one option could be requiring students to be dropped off and picked up from the park by bus.

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