Thousands of party-goers across Otago and Southland welcomed
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
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
However, security cameras were checked and no offence had
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
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
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
''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