We saw in the New Year by visiting Mount Maunganui. They’d made the area a traffic free zone and we parked our car in the Park & Ride car park and took a free bus to where the New Year Celebrations were taking place. There were two stages with live bands and all the fun of the Fair Ground with rides and some stalls. The big event, of course, was the fireworks display on the beach at midnight.
We felt like a couple of geriatrics – I think we were just about the only people over 20 on the bus. It was packed with excited 14 and 15 year olds dressed in shorts and skimpy tops (and it wasn’t that warm at 11pm!) all trying to act cool. They were loud and every other word or so was ‘f’ but it was cheerful, not aggressive.
We all got out at the Mount and went in the direction of the music. There were two bands playing – one close to the Mount itself and one further down on the beach. We listened to the first one and were quite impressed. …we discovered the band was the ‘Generators’ and Kelly (the son in law of our New Zealand friends David and Beth Moore) was the guitarist!
There must have been thousands of people at the Mount for the event – many of them under 20, but also families and oldies sitting along the prom – some had taken their own chairs for a comfortable vantage point to watch the fireworks.
Lots of people in the hotels and apartments were out on their balconies watching the spectacle. The biggest plus was that people weren’t drunk. There’s an alcohol ban in public places during events like this in NZ so unless people were having a meal they weren’t generally drinking. The off licences (or ‘liquor stores’) weren’t open either so presume that’s part of the plan too.
After the countdown to the New Year the fireworks started immediately and lit up the sky for miles around. From the beach we all had a great view. The finale was a mass of golden sparkles. We had a bit of a wander afterwards past a few funfair rides and some stalls but then made our way back to the bus stop and queued with the masses. People were very patient and good natured with very few trying to push in – in fact the only people I saw doing so were a group of four or five who must have been in their 70s. The teenagers were as good as gold! Pretty good evening all round I reckon.