National | New Year

Police remind public to be safe on roads as Aotearoa welcomes 2024

Aotearoa is one of the first countries in the world to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, and despite the wet weather thousands across the country rang in 2024.

“Police have been generally pleased with the behaviour of those celebrating the new year throughout the country,” Assistant Commissioner Mike Johnson said.

“Many of our officers across the country have described it as being like a busy Saturday night, with some alcohol-related disorder but no significant issues.”

Some youths in Whangamatā, Ōhope, and Tauranga were arrested for disorderly behaviour and fighting in a public place.

For concert goers at Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines event, the weather cleared up for the final night. Over 20,000 people rallied their mates and claimed their spots across 3 days for the event’s 21st anniversary.

Gisborne Police began breath testing first thing this morning as crowds started leaving the area.

“Make sure you drive to the conditions, within the posted speed limit. Make sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt and is properly restrained. Put the phone away if you’re driving, and take breaks if you feel fatigued,” Johnson warned.

The holiday road toll currently stands at 15, equalling last year’s number of deaths for the same period, with two days remaining. While heavy rain warnings had now lifted for most of the country, Johnson wanted to remind travellers heading home from holiday in the coming days,”please keep safe and be patient on the roads.”

Elsewhere fireworks were on full display across Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) to welcome the new year, but other festivities were canceled in Tauranga and the West Coast’s Grey district due to high winds, rain, and thunder.

In the Ngāti Porou territory of Te Tai Rāwhiti, the track to the tribe’s sacred mountain Hikurangi for the 2024 Hikurangi Dawn Ceremony was closed to the public.

Hikurangi is a popular place to celebrate the western New Year.

The difficult decision was made by the Hikurangi Dawn Ceremony organising committee due to the track being unsafe for 4WD vehicle access.

In a Facebook post, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou explained that while the decision was inconvenient, “safety is our number one priority, and we feel that we have made the right call given the current circumstances.”

Tēnā tatau Ngāti Porou whānui, The Hikurangi Dawn Ceremony Organising Committee have made the difficult decision to...

Posted by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou on Sunday, 3 December 2023