Revellers mostly well-behaved

Thousands of party-goers across Otago and Southland welcomed in 2014.

While for most it was a happy New Year, Southern district police were kept busy by a minority of alcohol-fuelled revellers in Dunedin and Queenstown.

Southern district police made 85 arrests in the 12 hours from 6pm on New Year's Eve, for a range of disorder and alcohol-related offences.

Police in Queenstown - bolstered by an extra 50 officers from Dunedin and Invercargill - made 28 arrests. There was concern a ''grossly intoxicated'' 16-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted when she was found by police ''covered in vomit and her dress around her buttocks'', Senior Constable Chris Blackford said.

However, security cameras were checked and no offence had taken place.

Police in Dunedin and Clutha made 25 arrests. City police were kept busy with large numbers of intoxicated party-goers descending on the Octagon before midnight. As the Municipal Chambers' clock struck the hour, the several thousand people in the Octagon watched the Robbie Burns cannon being fired and the fireworks display from the Civic Centre roof.

Inspector Mel Aitken, of Dunedin, said ''it turned it a bit crazy ... a bit feral'' about midnight.

People were arrested for alleged law-breaking, including assaulting police, resisting arrest, disorder and alcohol-related offences.

In one of the more serious incidents of the night, an unconscious man was found in Hillside Rd about 11pm, and was taken to Dunedin Hospital with suspected head injuries.

Police and council staff would review handling of this New Year's celebration and ''we will certainly be looking at ways we can cut down or minimise intoxicated people from getting into the area so it can continue to be a family environment'', Insp Aitken said.

In Wanaka, several thousand people gathered on the Ardmore St lakefront for the New Year celebrations, the first event on the annual Summerdaze festival programme.

Nine people were arrested in Wanaka and Albert Town for alleged disorderly behaviour, assault, obstruction and detoxification.

However, there were few incidents and no arrests during the two days of the Rhythm and Alps music festival in the Cardrona Valley. The Branding country/rock music festival attracted about 1200 people to the Lake Hawea Hotel.

Co-organiser Sarah Perriam said those attending were ''happy, relaxed and well-behaved'' and she had received ''rave reports'' on the inaugural event.

With no organised public events in Central Otago, New Year's Eve was a relatively quiet event and police reported an incident-free night.

''A lot of bars have really taken on board recent Liquor Act changes and we've noticed they've evicted intoxicated people,'' Sergeant Matthew Alley said.

Invercargill police reported a quiet night, with eight arrests, while there were three arrests in Te Anau and five in Otautau.

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