Twins' birthday bash turns to chaos

22:02, Jul 24 2012
Rhythm and Heaven-Leigh Hartman
'PARTY OF THE CENTURY': Twins Rhythm and Heaven-Leigh Hartman with empty bottles after celebrating their 18th birthday with an open-invite party at their Paraparaumu house.

Rocks, stones, bottles and shopping trolleys were hurled at police as an 18th-birthday party spiralled out of control.

Up to 200 drunken young people clashed with officers in Paraparaumu as a squad from Wellington in protective gear tried to break up and disperse them.

Twins Rhythm and Heaven-Leigh Hartman decided to hold a joint 18th party, with two friends also celebrating birthdays, on Saturday night at their home in Rimu Rd. Rhythm posted an open invitation on Facebook.

His sister said she expected a lot of people to turn up, but not the number who did.

"We are quite popular kids," she said. "Everyone knows us. It was a party everyone was talking about. Everyone had to come from Kapiti, Otaki, Porirua."

Senior Sergeant Tony Smith said police started receiving calls at 10.15pm from neighbours complaining about drunk young people arguing in the driveway and the party getting out of control.


There were about 120 people inside and about 60 outside drinking on the road, blocking traffic and kicking cars.

The twins' mother, Mel Hartman, believed about 300 people descended on her property.

"It was very scary. There were way too many people. Our whole back-yard was full and more were arriving."

She and police persuaded some to leave but chaos erupted when several hundred of them hit the streets.

Police from the public protection unit in Wellington formed lines, trying to break up the crowds, but partygoers still tried to get through.

One group moved on to a Coastlands car park, where a fight broke out.

Rhythm Hartman said: "There was no trouble till the police arrived. I told everyone no ruckus in my home and there wasn't any until about 250 kids were sent out on to the street with nowhere to go.

"They [police] were aggro, man, caning little kids of 14, beating them with bats. They got the dogs out. My mate's missus got shot with rubber bullets. My mate got wasted with a baton."

He described it as "the party of the century", saying: "It was pretty insane. After two hours people were really drunk and people were leaving or asleep - on the carpet, outside on the ground, under the table."

Scott Barker came out of his nearby Moana Rd home when he heard "a hell of lot of noise" and dogs barking at the end of the street. He saw about 20 drunk teenagers being chased around the corner by dogs.

"You think you are living in a stable country. They were just drunken young idiots but I was blown away. I had a 12-year-old daughter inside - what if they had been on the rampage for alcohol?"

Mr Smith said some underage drinkers were given alcohol offence notices, two youths were arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour and a third with assaulting police.

They are due to appear in Porirua District Court later this week. Several other arrests were made but he was not sure how many.

After about 1 hour, the partygoers dispersed. "At the end of the day there were no injuries to the public, police or members of the public, and pretty minimal damage besides a lot of broken glass and stones lying around."

Some of the partygoers were only 15, Mr Smith said. "Where did their parents think they were? Who supplied them with alcohol?"

Mrs Hartman vowed never to have a party again.

"Don't let kids have parties and put them on the internet. They are just open house parties."

Party Pandemonium

June 22: A North Shore family home was trashed by about 100 uninvited partying youths after the owners went away for the night, leaving their 18-year-old daughter at home with a friend. The parents arrived home to find alcohol sloshed through the house, vomit on the carpet, holes in walls and the freezer and pantry raided.

May 5: Police closed part of State Highway 1 near Christchurch for up to half an hour after hundreds of drunken young people turned up to a house party in Islington. Officers in riot gear "marched" the partygoers about 1.2km north until they were in a safer area.

Contact Kay Blundell
Kapiti reporter


The Dominion Post