Police out in force for New Year
Nelson police will be out in force tonight, patrolling trouble spots and enforcing the central city alcohol ban.
Inspector Jim Wilson, area manager of Nelson Bays, said all available police would be working, and would patrol areas of Nelson and Motueka on foot and in cars. Mr Wilson said he did not expect there to be large-scale trouble but there was always the potential for problems, so police would be prepared. He said Nelson police wanted people to enjoy themselves but also to be sensible, look after themselves and their friends, and moderate their drinking.
Liquor would be confiscated from anyone seen drinking in the area of the alcohol ban, which covered central city streets from 7 tonight to 7am tomorrow. If anyone was intoxicated and putting themselves or other people at risk they would be arrested and placed in the police cells for detoxification, Mr Wilson said. He said police would patrol licensed premises and would keep an eye on areas where they expected large crowds to be, such as the central city, Tahunanui Beach area, Branford Park, Buxton Square and Montgomery Square carparks.
Police would also keep an eye on Kaiteriteri, the Nelson Lakes area, and Nelson and Motueka police would be at the Gathering on Takaka Hill, Mr Wilson said. The Nelson police strategic traffic unit would have its "booze bus" out and about and would be doing compulsory breath testing checks around Nelson and Motueka, Mr Wilson said.
The biggest New Year's Eve party with a crowd of 10,000 will be the alcohol-free Gathering at on the Takaka hill.
In Nelson, celebrations include the Jazz Festival Party at the Maitai Bowling Club, which will feature seven bands from the Nelson Jazz Festival. Festival coordinator Rupert Winter said they had moved to a bigger venue this year after last year's party at the Rutherford Hotel was chock-a-block. The bowling club, which had a big dance floor, could take 400 partygoers and the Sun City Big Band would see in the New Year.
The New Year's Eve party at the Copthorne Rutherford Hotel will have a Titanic theme and steams ahead from 8pm. At the Nelson College hall, 160 Scottish country dancers from around the world will celebrate a traditional Hogmanay.
The Tasman District Council has banned alcohol in public places at Kaiteriteri, Breaker Bay, Torrent Bay, Little Kaiteriteri and Lake Rotoiti from 4pm today to 4am tomorrow. The Department of Conservation will close the road access to the Totaranui campground from 8.30 tonight until 9am tomorrow.
Awaroa Lodge and Cafe will have a band playing as well as a barbecue. Manager Terry Knight said there would be no camping at the lodge this year, unlike previous years. Blue Tongue Band from Australia will play at the Riwaka Hotel starting at 8pm. The five-member rock'n'roll band was brought out to perform at the Riwaka Beer Festival on January 3. Cover charge is $10 a person. Nelson band Rock and a Hard Place will play at Kaiteriteri Beach . The concert, organised by the Kaiteriteri Campground, will start at 8pm.
In Golden Bay, no large New Year's Eve events have been organised and most of the more upbeat celebration is expected to take place at the Gathering. Anne-Marie Gilligan from Pohara Beach Holiday Park said she expected most people would organise their own fun in small family groups. Takaka police constable Peter Crins said the usual patrols would be done but he expected the Gathering to make things pretty quiet elsewhere.