Up to 20,000 people came to see the midnight fireworks
display in Dunedin's Octagon. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Not everyone was smiling when New Year's Eve revellers in
Dunedin celebrated the start of 2013 with a bang.
Up to 20,000 people crammed into the Octagon for the midnight
fireworks display, which saw $10,000 worth of colourful
explosives launched from the Civic Centre roof over about
However, Dunedin city councillor Neil Collins - who watched
from the nearby Radio Otago House - yesterday labelled the
show a ''pathetic'' and ''embarrassing'' fizzer.
''It was like someone had decided to go down to the $3 Shop
and brought a party pack [of fireworks].
''It was pathetic. God, it was embarrassing.''
He insisted the city needed to lift its game and said he
would push for a bigger budget at this month's annual plan
''We used to have a good display here, but the last few years
they have just dwindled.''
Dunedin City Council events team leader Marilyn Anderson said
$70,000 from the council's events fund was allocated to this
year's New Year's Eve festivities, as well as $8500 of
That covered the $10,000 fireworks display by staff from
Christchurch-based firm Fireworks International, which did
''a stunning job'', and all other event costs, from
entertainers to public toilets and security, she said.
The budget had remained unchanged for the past three years,
but was presented to councillors for approval each year, she
''It's a very, very tight budget and it's worked very, very
carefully,'' she said.
Despite that, the only feedback had been positive. Many
revellers arrived in the Octagon late in the evening,
specifically to see the fireworks, she said.
''We have had no complaints about the quality of the
fireworks show,'' she said.
Council community development and events manager Rebecca
Williams said a better display would require a bigger budget,
''but that's a choice councillors make''.