Wellington's public new year celebrations turned into a washout, leaving some revellers questioning the city council's decision to scrap New Year's Eve fireworks.
Instead, the council held a picnic with live music at Waitangi Park - but less than an hour after the music started, the rain began hosing down and a decision was made to call it off.
Headline act Trinity Roots had played only one or two songs when the tough call to cancel the event was made, council spokesman Richard MacLean said.
"It was cancelled probably for a fear of electrocution."
Only a few dozen people had braved the elements earlier to head along and listen to Wellington musicians Vanessa Stacey and Eb and Sparrow perform, but for fans Brenda Hamblyn and Beryl Walker the rain was never going to keep them away.
"We're huge fans of Eb and Sparrow and have come out especially to see them," Mrs Hamblyn said from under her makeshift cover. They [the council] have done it wrong though, because they should have done this last night and had the fireworks and done something for New Year's Eve."
Alex Rowberry had brought her 7-year-old twin daughters down for a boogie and dressed them appropriately in wetsuits.
She thought the idea of a New Year's Day picnic was a good one, and it was a shame the weather hadn't played ball.
"If we had been here last night we would normally go to the fireworks, but this is a good alternative and nice for families as well."
In some previous years the council organised new year countdown celebrations at Frank Kitts Park or Civic Square, but all was quiet at the close of last year after it decided to prioritise other summer events.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said past fireworks displays had not been regular events. In some years nothing was planned, and one year the display had to be cancelled because of similarly poor weather.
Hosting a New Year's Eve countdown for families was important, and council talks would be held next month to talk about options, she said.
New Year's Eve events traditionally cost the council a four-figure or low five-figure sum. The picnic was predicted to be "significantly more".
Yesterday's downpour affected two Wellington provincial cricket matches, although both still went ahead in shortened forms.
At Karori Park, a women's T20 match between Wellington and Auckland was cut to eight overs each, and the Firebirds' game against Central Districts in New Plymouth was reduced to six overs each.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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