Revellers party into small hours
Picton came to life last night as hundreds of people welcomed in the new year with music and a colourful explosion marked the stroke of midnight.
Crowds packed the foreshore from about 8pm, with people from all corners of the world including the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and Britain.
Some had come for the music, some to enjoy the atmosphere and others for the fireworks.
Waikawa Bay woman Sandi Lock was happy dancing the night away to Blenheim band the Chilli Dogs.
"The music is just amazing, wonderful, and it's the only night of the year when all ages come together down on the foreshore," she said.
Mrs Lock was joined on the dance floor by hundreds of Picton and Blenheim people, including many who had been waiting for headlining act.
"I love this band [the Chilli Dogs], they are fantastic," Blenheim woman Laura Munford said after they took the stage at 10pm and sang their way into 2014.
Many had also been interested listening to Blenheim singer Emma Logan and her guitarist brother Sam Logan, including Blenheim woman Carolyn Poswillo, who "loved" the pair.
"We're only staying 10 minutes away in Ngakuta Bay so it was a no-brainer to come here," she said.
Picton woman Marilyn Twose, who often went to the foreshore event, said this year seemed quieter than others because of the Blenheim-based Ignite Marlborough event.
"They should encourage people to come to Picton for one night of the year," she said. Mrs Twose thought putting on buses might be a good idea.
For Picton-based family Tina, Harvey and daughter Paige Lafrentz, the pull of the country and Pasifika-themed event at Liz Davidson Place in Blenheim was stronger than the foreshore party.
"We came to see Tony Williams," Mrs Lafrentz said. "It's the first time we've come to Blenheim, we normally stay in Picton." Her 7-year-old country music-loving daughter was up dancing from the word go:
"I'm liking all the music that they are singing", she said.
New Zealand Country Music Legend award winner Tony Williams was the headline act at the Blenheim show, which also had a fireworks display at midnight.
Ignite Marlborough event organiser Duncan Mackenzie, of Go Marlborough, was thankful for a clear night after days of rain, and a positive crowd.
"People are having fun, there's no issues with anti social behaviour or anything like that," he said.
"There's a whole lot of families out there too ... everybody's just really in a positive frame of mind," he said.
The positive vibes had spread throughout Picton, into cafes, bars and restaurants, with people hard-pressed to find a table, particularly at venues along the waterfront.
"You go up through the town and it's absolutely chokka with people," Mr Mackenzie said.
His observations were echoed by Marlborough police area commander Inspector Simon Feltham, who said about 1am he was relieved "all is right with the world" after the celebrations.
"We're very happy with the crowds and had no issues at all," Mr Feltham said.
He had been at the Picton event, and said it was good to see so many people having a good time. The Blenheim event had been similar, he said.
"[It was] pretty quiet by and large apart from the odd arrests, which were alcohol-related, but other than that it has been very good," he said.
In its first callout of the year, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter in Wellington was put on alert when a man was reported missing overboard from a boat in Endeavour Inlet.
"They were found safe and well before we even took off," a spokesman said this morning.
The Marlborough Express