The Year 2022 started off with a spectacular light show in Auckland.
In celebration, the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Sky Tower and Auckland War Memorial Museum were lit up from 9pm, with a full light show at midnight.
The traditional and highly anticipated fireworks show was cancelled due to the risk of Covid-19 among crowds gathering to watch the fireworks.
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At 10.30pm, people were seen at the Auckland Viaduct, waiting in anticipation for the New Year’s Eve countdown.
In Wellington, the sky will be lit up with beams from the Tūrama 2020 light sculpture in the centre of the city at midnight.
The annual New Year’s Eve fireworks and Whairepo Lagoon event on Wellington’s waterfront were cancelled.
As midnight neared, hundreds of teenagers gathered at Williamson Park in Whangamatā.
Police were stationed at every corner of the park and had a heavy presence around the crowd.
There was a liquor ban at the council-owned park, and officers could be seen arresting anyone carrying alcohol.
St John has a safe zone set up at the Whangamatā War Memorial Hall to care for intoxicated people in need of help.
St John Hauraki territory manager John Armitt was preparing for a busy night.
Bars on Oxford Tce in central Christchurch hummed with families and friends out for drinks around 7.30pm as bars prepared for a big night ahead.
Co-owner of popular bar gin gin, Luke Dawkins, said it was “the calm before the storm” as staff set up for a band to perform at 10pm. People dressed up with drinks in hand already lined the seats and filled the tables outside.
At newly opened Paddy McNaughton’s Irish Pub, live music already flowed through the venue and staff expected the night to get much busier. Kine Diallo was there with her parents, and said it was “definitely” a relief they could go out to celebrate the New Year despite another year riddled with Covid-19.
With a new variant of Covid-19 to possibly contend with, and more of the country now in the orange setting of the traffic light system, 2022 will certainly come with its challenges.
Retailers and restaurateurs will be looking forward to increased business in the new year, with fewer Covid-19 related restrictions for most of New Zealand.
And the MetService is predicting a “sweltering” start to the year with highs of 30 or 31 degrees Celsius in some towns.