Māori and Pacific Peoples experience a disproportionate burden of alcohol-related harm relative to other ethnic groups, yet little is known about the context in which this drinking occurs. Few studies have explored how and why young Māori and Pacific women drink. Therefore, this article aims to develop a more nuanced and detailed account of Māori and Pacific young women’s drinking practices. The following article reports on an ethnographic study of young Māori and Pacific women aged 18–30. Five Māori participants and six Pacific participants were selected and asked to become researchers within their social groups. Nine female researchers also became participants in the study, accompanying recruited participants to drinking occasions and events. Participants were each given a ‘drinking diary’ to document drinking occasions, which formed the data-set for the project. Three levels of thematic analysis were undertaken. The first noted broad themes with the second and third levels exploring more nuanced themes and identifying intersections across themes. The study demonstrated that Māori and Pacific young women’s engagement with New Zealand’s culture of intoxication is complex: Māori and Pacific women drink for pleasure or to achieve a ‘buzz’ and to be social. Drinking practices are deeply affected by ethnic and peer group collectives (‘the girls’), traditions and expectations. Harm reduction initiatives need to take account of the many pathways specific to how Māori and Pacific young women engage with alcohol use. Additionally, the wider context in which alcohol-related harm occurs needs to be considered in policy and harm reduction debates.