Weather, music strike right note in North Island

Fans dance as Dragon play on the main stage at the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisborne. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Fans dance as Dragon play on the main stage at the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisborne. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

Music, partying and grandstand firework displays heralded 2013, as North Islanders welcomed in the new year.

Legions of people swarmed into downtown Auckland to be with friends, while thousands of others around the country celebrated at music festivals, concerts and parties.

As Aucklanders enjoyed the annual Sky Tower fireworks display, residents of Wellington were left disappointed when its midnight fireworks display had to be cancelled because of windy weather.

In Mt Maunganui, thousands gathered to watch its fireworks display.

And while there will be a few sore heads today, police around the country said the vast majority of revellers were in well-behaved party mood.

There was a steady stream of people in downtown Auckland from about 10pm, when streets, clubs and bars began to fill. Families were also out on the streets.

Among those enjoying the party was Datia Wilson, who said the new year was a time to take up new opportunities. "I haven't really thought about what my plans are for 2013, but I'm just going to try and make the most of it."

There was a huge police presence out on the streets, and three of the force's most senior officers were among staff walking the beat.

Commissioner Peter Marshall joined officers in Auckland City, Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush was with staff in the capital and Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard helped staff at the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisborne.

The move followed attacks on five officers over the Christmas period.

Late last night, Auckland Central area commander Inspector Andrew Coster reported a fairly quiet night.

"There's plenty of people, but a lot of families and the mood is good. It's been a good night all around."

Earlier in the day, sunny skies and hot temperatures made for good spirits in many parts of the country.

More than 27,000 people were at Rhythm & Vines, around 10,000 were in Whangamata and an estimated 7000 were at Papamoa.

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