Dance, dance, dance to the new millennium
NEW YEAR'S EVE ushered in a new millennium of entertainment.
And hopefully some new attitudes.
Though much has been made of the drug-taking associated with raves and dance parties, there is a growing faction who actually enjoy dancing without drugs.
And, while the media focuses on the illegality, the public misses the point.
There is less aggression and alcohol abuse on the dance fraternity than in the public at large, particularly the great unwashed Kiwi pissheads who turn aggro every weekend, fuelled by the demon drink.
Case in point. Auckland New Year's Eve.
While the footpaths down both sides of Queen St were filled with aggressive drunk teenagers, venues on both sides of the street were catering to 10,000 people dancing and having the peaceful time of their lives.
In the Aotea Centre 4000 plus people, myself among them, saw British DJ Sonique and support DJs, or opted for one of the five or so other rooms with different DJs, including London's Metalheadz in the Town Hall.
Over the road at the St James 4000 people danced till dawn in seven different rooms to seven different types of music (albeit derivations of the same techno beat).
There were no fights and no aggression.
But out in the streets drunken youths and their fuelled-up girlfriends attacked passersby, simply because they were pakeha.
It happened to me when several drunken teens accosted my girlfriend and I outside our hotel and chased us up Queen St, despite the presence of myriads of police. And it happened again later outside the St James.
Racism is alive and well in New Zealand, and if you feel uneasy in New Plymouth, it's a retirement village compared to Auckland.
Thankfully New Plymouth venues reported little or no trouble, particularly the dance venues. And the Gathering seems to have been the most peaceful place of all.
While drug arrests and a few people flipping out on drugs made the news, thousands were arrested for drunken violence, with barely a mention.