Before the sun even rose on 2013, two men had been killed, one was critically ill after being stabbed, and another was saved from drowning.
A 29-year-old Hokio Beach man died at 2.15am yesterday after being hit by a taxi as he walked home from Levin along an unlit road with no footpath. He was reportedly drunk and walking in the middle of Hokio Beach Rd. He died at the scene.
Sergeant Matiu Grant, of Levin, said the taxi driver and passenger were both shaken by the incident. He would not comment on whether charges would be laid.
Gerard Bohan, whose house is on the outskirts of Levin beside the 100kmh stretch of road where the unnamed man was hit, said it was common to see people walking the 5 kilometres to Hokio Beach along the open road.
The death was followed by the year's first suspected homicide, in the east Auckland suburb of Panmure, about 4.20am. A 27-year-old described as "a huge big fella" was found dead by police, who were called out after the man was allegedly assaulted in the street.
Police said a weapon was involved, but they would not give any more details. There had been no arrest by last night.
In Waihi, a man - reportedly an Australia-based Kiwi visiting home - was left fighting for his life after being stabbed in the neck and head when he went to investigate a noise about 1am.
"Initial indications are a couple staying in a caravan outside 25 Waihi Beach Rd heard a disturbance about 1am and went to investigate," Detective Inspector Karl Thornton of Waikato said.
"They have encountered a man and told him to leave, but then the husband has suffered stab wounds to his neck and head before the offender has fled."
Police said alcohol abuse and ugly acts of violence had marred New Year celebrations at Coromandel holiday spots, but there were fewer arrests across the district than in previous years.
There were 118 arrests in Whitianga alone - more than ever before - along with 109 arrests in Whangamata, 20 in Tairua and 20 in Waihi.
Teenagers on the beach at Waimarama, Hawke's Bay, spotted a man rolling unconscious in the surf about 1.30am and pulled him to safety, probably saving his life.
Waimarama rural fire chief Peter Morrell said his volunteer crew laid strobe lights on the beach to make a pad for the rescue helicopter. Some partygoers tried to get into the cleared area and had to be forced back.
The man, 25, was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital in a critical condition, but was discharged later.
- © Fairfax NZ News