Liquor controls urged at marae
A Palmerston North coroner has called for tighter alcohol controls on a Foxton marae following a man's death after drinking there.
Bulls man Shadrach James Donaldson died about 9.30pm on August 16 last year after he wandered on to State Highway 1 outside the Motuiti Marae, and was hit by two truck and trailer units.
He had been drinking at a tangi held at the marae.
An autopsy two days after his death found he had a blood-alcohol reading of 328 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit for driving is 80mg.
In his findings released yesterday, coroner Tim Scott said Mr Donaldson should not have been allowed to get so drunk.
"That he was able to drink to excess or was permitted to do so is an issue of serious concern.
"Shadrach should not have been allowed or permitted to drink anything like the two dozen bottles of Steinlager, which he is said to have consumed.
"No homeowner, in my view - except perhaps an alcoholic - would allow anyone to become that intoxicated at their home."
At the hearing, marae trust chairman Milton Rauhihi said there had never been an issue with alcohol before. There was no written policy, but spoken and unspoken tikanga had always worked, he said.
But in his report, Mr Scott doubted that.
"That may well be more by luck than design, and the fact that there have been no other tragedies involving drinking on the marae does not necessarily mean that there has not been any other excessive drinking there. It would surprise me if there had not been."
Mr Scott said Mr Donaldson was responsible for getting himself so drunk, but more had to be done to prevent a repeat. The marae committee needed to have a written policy instead of only unwritten tikanga about alcohol use.
The use of bouncers or people assigned to deal with drunk people may have helped prevent the death, he said.
Groups at the marae who were likely to allow drinking should also submit a written plan to the marae committee, describing how it would be handled. Mr Rauhihi could not be reached for comment yesterday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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