Thousands of revellers are preparing to see in the New Year
in Otago at parties planned throughout the region.
Police will again maintain a large visible presence and
enforce widespread liquor bans. Rhythm and Alps in the
Cardrona Valley will be one of the largest events.
The two-day music festival on a farm near Wanaka will cater
for up to 9500 people, including 5000 campers.
All tickets and camping spaces have been sold.
Rhythm Group chief executive Kieran Spillane said the
festival's move to the Cardrona Valley and timing over New
Year's Eve were popular changes.
''It is clear a festival like this is just what the South
Island needed,'' he said.
Thousands of people are expected to gather at the free
council-organised events in Dunedin, Queenstown and Wanaka.
It is estimated the Wakatipu area's population doubles to
about 90,000 during the peak holiday period, and at least
10,000 are expected in Dunedin's Octagon for the annual New
Year's Eve party.
Inspector Mel Aitken, area prevention manager for Dunedin,
Clutha and Waitaki, said officers in Dunedin would focus on
the city council's New Year's Eve party in the Octagon, but
it was a ''family affair'' and she did not expect any major
Additional staff were stationed in holiday destinations
including Wanaka, Queenstown and Otematata, for up to two
weeks over the Christmas break, she said.
New powers for police resulted from the recently implemented
Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, which allowed on-the-spot
fines for liquor ban breaches and other alcohol-related
Insp Aitken said she hoped people would drink responsibly and
behave over New Year, to ensure it was a safe and enjoyable
time for everyone.
Most public New Year's Eve events are alcohol-free and held
within wider alcohol ban areas implemented in towns for the
Live entertainment is planned to start at 8pm in the Octagon
and at the Queenstown and Wanaka events.
In the Octagon, the Robbie Burns cannon in the Octagon will
be fired once at midnight, followed by a fireworks display
from the Civic Centre roof.
Revellers gathered in Queenstown's Earnslaw Park and Memorial
Gates will see fireworks set off from a barge in Lake
Wakatipu, with a foreshore display for those gathered on Lake
For the first time in more than a decade, no public New
Year's Eve parties are being held in Central Otago, after
Promote Dunstan called it quits on the Clyde street party.
The event has been held for more than 10 years, but cost
about $12,000 and always made a loss.
Instead, Central Otago hotels will feature live music and
many camping grounds will host get-togethers for those on
In the Waitaki Valley, no public events are planned, and
liquor bans are in place in Otematata and Omarama.
Fine weather is forecast in Queenstown and Wanaka on New
Year's Eve, although some rain is expected throughout most of
the rest of Otago, including showers in Dunedin, Alexandra