The infamous North Shore house party on Saturday has attracted nationwide criticism. But was the party any good?
There are many things that might tempt Aucklanders to breach lockdown rules. Funerals, births, sick loved ones, a partner in another bubble. The list is long and varied. A really good party is somewhere (not high up, but somewhere) on that list.
On Sunday, videos circulated of a North Shore house party where at least 50 young people were gathered in breach of level three restrictions. It was a big party, and the footage was jarring to view after 61 days of lockdown.
The attendees of the party – often referred to as “influencers” but in truth closer to “people with Instagram accounts” – have been written about extensively since the videos were first circulated. Many have deleted their social media accounts, two have been dropped by their talent agencies, and a handful have issued frankly impressive non-apologies. Like, politician-level non-apologies, meaning not one mention of the words “sorry” or “apologise”.
Police have since confirmed that they are investigating the gathering after receiving multiple complaints through their 105 hotline. The party, said aerosol chemist Dr Joel Rindelaub, had “all the makings of a super spreader event”. He also noted that “dry humping is not a Covid-friendly activity outside your bubble”.
I, meanwhile, was transfixed by the footage. An Auckland party hasn’t been documented in over two months. Thousands of New Zealanders have been denied the pleasure of sidestepping a pashing couple in the hallway on their way to the bathroom for far too long. Amid all the very justified anger and disappointment at these people’s actions, an important question has gone unanswered.
Was the party worth it?
The music was OK. Across the multiple Instagram stories and TikToks posted, there’s a consistency at least. But that consistency is: loud. You can’t just play the same genre and volume for hours on end. Yes I might be 65 years old on the inside but even I like to dance sometimes. If you’re not gonna play something to dance to, play something to sing to. And if you do neither, turn it down so attendees can discuss their cryptocurrency portfolios without spitting into each other’s faces. 6/10
The lighting was good in some of the videos. Not too dark but not glaring. Unfortunately, the good lighting was so often ruined by people on their phones. At one point, one of the attendees recording the party scanned past a window and revealed that they had their flash on. Which means that there are now two groups of people who record shamelessly with their flash on: everyone over the age of 50 and the people at this party. I’m surprised no one was recording on an iPad. 8/10
Someone broke the ping pong table. During the 4pm announcement today, moments after she told Aucklanders they’d stay exactly where they are for another two weeks, Jacinda Ardern said she hadn’t seen the party videos but someone had described them to her. I’m starting a Go Fund Me to investigate whether someone said the words “dry humping on a broken ping pong table” to the prime minister. N/A
Social media buzz
If the reason for posting so many videos of the party was to show off to everyone, it absolutely worked. As much as these people may be influencers, they surely never dreamed of the type of exposure that must’ve come from being featured in the 6pm news bulletin. The reach! As for engagement? The metrics, like the aerosol transmission, must be through the roof. 10/10
Let’s be honest, very rarely does a party shared on social media look half as good as it was, because videos often fail to capture the vibe. At the same time, any party that gets so documented is never good because if it was, people would be too busy enjoying it to worry about filming. So far the only people I’ve heard say that the party looked awesome have been white guys in their 40s. If 40-year-old white men are the only ones jealous of your party, that’s, uh, not great. Perhaps this RNZ image choice in reporting the party is more accurate than we think. 2/10
Good friend behaviour
The videos circulating weren’t shot by a pissed off neighbour. Nor did they come from a whistleblowing guest who had a sudden burst of conscience. The call was coming from inside the house. Which means most of these people at the party weren’t real friends. They just didn’t care. Filming an illegal gathering? Turning the camera on yourself? TAGGING IN OTHER PEOPLE? UsInG fL@sH iN A dArK r0oM? This is not friend behaviour. Quite the opposite, in fact. -250000/10
Conclusion: not worth it
On September 24, two thieves smashed the side window of the Inglewood Subway in the dead of night and entered, intending to leave with a bag full of cash. Instead, they caused $2,000 worth of damage to the window and fled with only “$20 worth of salt and vinegar chips and a couple of bottles of L&P and Powerade”.
Over the weekend, dozens of people gathered at a North Shore home despite current restrictions limiting Aucklanders to within their own bubbles. With community cases of Covid continuing to rise, they jeopardised the health of their families, friends, neighbours, and potentially thousands more. And all they got was a $20 party.