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In any case, there were sure to be takers for any spares. Unalloyed glamour doesn’t visit the city of Auckland very often, whereas inclement weather does, so even the downpour of unseasonable rain couldn’t dampen spirits.
In accordance with tradition, the venue was kept a secret until the last minute. Even while boarding the ferries that would transport them to the party, guests weren’t told where they were headed. Past venues have included Hammersmith Farm, the site of John F. Kennedy’s and Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding reception, and the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. With the idea of topping the magnificence of each successive party, this time the party committee went for a naval dry dock, turning it into a dramatic, half-submerged landscape. "It’s amazing, because it’s quite a scruffy old area, and they’ve completely transformed it," commented Sir Michael Fay, the first New Zealander to challenge for the America’s Cup.
The party venue may well be the only genuine secret in an event awash with allegations of stolen design secrets and a lawsuit brought against OneWorld. The rival tech billionaires were all missing from the evening’s celebrations, but Billy Crudup and Mary-Louise Parker came for the festivities.
Meanwhile, possibly sensing that a gravy train had pulled fleetingly into their station, many Auckland guests scoffed freshly shucked oysters and swigged the Moët at an alarming rate. Later in the evening, more than one guest was seen exiting the dance floor by hurtling down the rain-slicked staircase.
But if the locals were behaving somewhat ungraciously, it had no visible effect on "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" star Chen Chang, who embodied an elegant serenity and was surrounded by the most gorgeous women at the party, including Hong Kong actress Shu Qi.