Police say the Toast Martinborough wine, food and music festival on Sunday was marred by feral behaviour by drunken young women and brawls.
The annual event in South Wairarapa attracted 10,000 people.
Sergeant Kevin Basher says it was the worst festival in seven years and officers might need to carry batons next year.
He says many young people appeared already drunk when they got off their bus on arrival, as most of the buses had liquor licences.
Sergeant Basher says a pragmatic view was taken and police made only three arrests.
But they could have made 30, given the behaviour of some young people.
The Toast Martinborough chair Richard Riddiford says the drunken behaviour was not as bad as the police are reporting, and the feedback he has received has been mostly positive.