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Extra police redeployed ahead of New Year’s celebrations

Extra police are being deployed in some areas as populations swell in holiday spots ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations.

In the Coromandel, there will be an increased police presence in problem areas like Whangamata, Whitianga and Waihi.

Earlier this week, more than a dozen people were arrested in Whangamata, as police were kept busy with a big gathering at the town's surf club.

More than 100 officers have been redeployed to the area, in case of any trouble.

Seaside towns along the Coromandel Peninsula have a 24/7 liquor ban in place, but some people have already been caught out, handed $250 alcohol infringement fines.

New Year's Eve is expected to bring in 10 times the normal population.

Otago Lakes-Central Police Area Commander, Inspector Olaf Jenson, said the whole weekend had been relatively calm, but officers would be keeping an eye out on the roads.

He said despite the festival, it had been a relatively calm weekend, and he hoped to keep it that way.

He said there was always an increase in people coming into the district for New Year, and the police would mainly focus on vehicle speed and driver distraction.

Extra police are also at the Wairarapa holiday spots of Castlepoint and Riversdale Beach, where New Year's Eve partying is now a rite-of-passage for many of the region's teenagers.

North Island events

Auckland central will be ablaze with lasers and firework tonight as part of SkyCity's annual New Year's Eve party.

This year will mark the 20th New Year's Eve Party for SkyCity.

Kiwi musical acts such as Che Fu, Sons of Zion and King Kapisi will kick off the events tonight at Federal Street in central Auckland at about 6pm, before a laser and fireworks display at midnight.

SkyCity General Manager Brad Burnett said a crowd of about 30,000 was expected to turn out tonight, meaning there's going to be 1600 hands on deck working the event.

He said the extra staff would be used for front line service roles and security.

Also in Auckland, the Wondergarden Festival is being held at Silo Park on the waterfront.

It's the second time the event has been held and the line-up features New Zealand acts including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Leisure, Chelsea Jade and Nadia Reid.

In Wellington families are starting to gather at the Whairepo Lagoon near Frank Kitts Park on the waterfront.

A council hosted event kicks off at 8pm, with a kids countdown and fireworks at 9 and another fireworks set going off when the clock strikes midnight.

A Wellington City Council spokesperson said the fireworks are still planned to go off from Frank Kitts Park, even though the weather looks dubious. Food trucks and live music will be there until 12.

There will be no organised public event at Mount Maunganui, a traditional New Year's Eve party hotspot.

Last year was the first time the Tauranga City Council decided not to host such an event, after crowd control and safety concerns were raised by both the council and the police following previous events.

There will be fireworks from central city locations and family-friendly, early-evening community events taking place at the central city waterfront and in Papamoa.

In Taranaki, locals have taken it upon themselves to set up their own event on a dairy farm south of Hawera.

About 200 people are expected at Manutahi's Rhythm and Pines celebration.

Organiser Tim Myers said other major events were too far away so himself and some friends took it upon themselves to set up something closer to home.

"We're nestled in a few little pine trees here, we've actually titled this little shindig Rhythm and Pines, just jumping on that bandwagon, but we'd probably put Rhythm and Pines ahead of those other two [Rhythm and Vines and Rhythm and Alps] to be honest.

"We've got about 35 odd tents up around here, a few barbecues around the place, it's really kicking off, it probably cost us $5000 once we got a few toilets in and a few showers up and with the sound system and all of that but all in the name of having a good time."

In Palmerston North hundreds have gathered in The Square to see in the new year amid live music, a light show and fireworks.

A kids countdown will be at 9.30, following a fire-performance by pyro act, Highly Flammable.

Matthew Thompson, who was there to see the new year in with his family, said people were just there to have a good time.

"There's a concert going on, lots of families with their picnic blankets out, the St Johns Ambulance tent looks empty and the workers look bored so I guess that's a good thing."

South Island events

Further south in Christchurch, New Year's celebrations are expected to kick off about 9:30pm tonight, at North Hagley Park.

A Christchurch City Council events organiser, Drew Urlichs, said DJ's and local bands were expected to entertain locals until about midnight.

Mr Urlichs said the event will end with a fireworks display to usher in the new year, followed by more music.

He said he expected a large turnout.

"It averages about 15,000 people but last year we had 18,000 people ... we are expecting 18,000 again given [this year] this is the only large New Year's party in Christchurch."

He said the site will also see a heavy security and police presence.

"They'll be on patrol across the whole venue, it is an alcohol free event," he said.

MetService expected there to be a small amount of rain about 10pm this evening, clearing by midnight.

A kid's celebration was also underway now at North Hagley Park, featuring fairies, pirates, and smoke cannons.

In Dunedin, the New Year's Eve Octagon concert will see in the New Year.


While much of the North Island will stay dry, party-goers in the South Island might need to get their raincoats out as they farewell 2017.

The MetService says it's already raining on the West Coast, and patchy rain is expected to move up the east coast this evening and tonight.

Forecaster Ciaran Doolin said the best spots to see in the New Year were Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, with fine weather and light winds forecast.

"It's unfortunately not the clear skies and dry that we would ideally like to have across the country, but nonetheless most areas will remain largely dry and those that aren't - for the most part - will not see precipitation until later."

The MetService said similar weather was expected tomorrow.

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