Busy New Year's Eve for police

Southern police arrested 22 people in the six hours before midnight on New Year's Eve, largely for alcohol-fuelled offences.

Those arrests included an assault on police, resisting arrest, disorder and breach of liquor bans, which kept police busy, Southern District deployment co-ordinator Steve Aitken said.

Both Queenstown, Wanaka and Dunedin were busy for emergency services.

In Dunedin the first arrest was for an intoxicated reveller in the Octagon around 8pm. 

In one of the more serious incidents of the night, an unconscious man was found on Hillside Rd around 11pm.

He was taken to Dunedin Hospital with suspected head injuries.

A large walk-up crowd saw thousands of people flock to the Octagon to catch the live entertainment.

That included the firing of the Robbie Burns cannon at midnight followed by a fireworks display from the Civic Centre roof. 


Brawls and an out-of-control party had Wanaka police scrambling to keep up in the early part of the evening with four incidents in the space of an hour between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

Wanaka sub-area commander Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell said there were two brawls in the street near residential addresses.

One person was arrested for obstructing police and resisting arrest.

Police then responded to a complaint from a local motel where under 18s were "partying up and out of control" and some were refusing to leave.

An ambulance was called for one female who was very intoxicated.

Police then made another arrest just before 9pm at the Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park. 

Overall six arrests were made before midnight.

"The way it started ... it certainly had some bad vibes, being called to two big fights and two other incidents but it certainly calmed down after that," Snr Sgt Grindell said.

Police working at Rhythm and Alps festibal said there was a "good mood" there and no trouble.


Emergency services in Queenstown were kept busy with petty offences and minor injuries, then had to contend with tens of thousands of people leaving Earnslaw Park at once when the midnight fireworks ended.

The Otago Daily Times witnessed one fight break out between two young men on the Queenstown Village Green at 10pm. One man was pinned to the ground by a doorman while his associates looked on and police arrived.

St John Queenstown ambulances struggled to attend medical emergencies through the mass of people. Paramedics were escorted by police to scenes of apparent trauma, including the jetty, moments after 2014 began.

The ODT saw officers call one young woman carrying a glass of alcohol on Church St over to the squad car and explain she was in breach of the liquor ban. The woman poured out her drink and went on her way.

A young man caught police attention as he urinated against the flood-lit wall of Night 'n Day on Camp St, opposite the police station, and was spoken to by an officer.

Police kept a watchful eye on a commercially organised party of about 50 backpackers, lead by a man using a megaphone, as they congregated outside Base Queenstown on lower Shotover St, then crossed the street towards Earnslaw Park before midnight.

After the fireworks, the marshalled queue at the taxi rank stretched for more than 20m along Camp St as people headed for hotels, hostels or homes.

The year 2013 was played out by a Queenstown band on stage on Earnslaw Park performing Honky Tonk Woman by the Rolling Stones. After the fireworks, the first song they played in 2014 was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. - James Beech