A great way to greet the year

Police report little trouble

SASHA BORISSENKO AND TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 01/01/2014
newyear
ALDEN WILLIAMS / Fairfax NZ

IT'S HERE: The clock strikes midnight at Nelson's Church Steps and 2014 arrives to jubilation and cheers from an enthusiastic crowd of thousands.

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High hopes for better times and police praise for good behaviour have marked Nelson's entry to 2014.

Thousands around the region got into the swing of things overnight, but there was little trouble throughout the region and the wider Tasman police district, which includes Marlborough and the West Coast.

Acting Tasman District Commander Inspector Steve Greally said he was delighted with the noticeable change in the way people were behaving.

"For two years running we've had relatively trouble free New Year's celebrations in our district. That's a credit to the work police in all three areas have done to address alcohol-related offending," Mr Greally said.

The police were not able to give a breakdown of figures for each area, but said that in total, 28 people were arrested for breaches of liquor bans and disorder. A further 33 infringement notices were issued for alcohol related offending, and nine people were arrested for assault.

Youngsters among the 3000-strong crowd at the Trafalgar Square New Year's Eve countdown were surprisingly well behaved, police said.

Response manager Sergeant John Price said people were in good spirits behaving themselves at last night's Church Steps New Year's extravaganza.

"They were in surprisingly perfect order just after midnight, I am glad to see everyone having a safe time."

Apart from the odd tiff, police did not have to intervene too much, Mr Price said.

Clearly the message was getting out there with the use of social and mainstream media, he said.

"I am very happy to be here tonight. I would not be doing this job if I wasn't.

Mother-of-two Terri Clark of California, had a particular fondness for the world music style of the band bringing in the new year, Batucada Sound Machine, which was one of four bands playing during the evening.

She had a good dance with her family, Mrs Clark said.

Even the kids danced along and had a great boogie, she said.

"It is funny, everyone keeps coming up to us and asking why our kids are still up and not in bed."

Batucada manager Mariela Barale said the band performed really well and this could be beccause of the fact Nelson had a particularly good crowd.

People sometimes had trouble digesting their sound, Ms Barale said.

But being the third time they had played in Nelson, it was safe to say they were happy to be there.

The band had a combination of latin, hip hop, African and jazz sounds.

"It is always really thrilling to play for a really receptive audience," she said

Official audio crew member Sam Lovell said the crowd had been very good and everyone appeared to be having a good time.

It was always fun to do the audio-tech work for well-respected bands, Mr Lovell said.

"It is great to bring the New Year in with a bit of style."

Although he had started work setting up the stage at 8am yesterday, it was all worth it and there were few hiccups.

Meanwhile, Nelson born and bred Sean Gourdie said it was the first time he was spending his New Year's Eve in Trafalgar St.

The 18-year-old said it was interesting to see a great mix of people, from tourists to oldies, having a bit of a laugh. "Everyone is just sharing the love."

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His friend Kyle Maurice said it was natural to see so many people out having high hopes that 2014 would be spectacular.

It was just the sort of optimism that everyone naturally carried, Mr Maurice said.

He said 2013 was wonderful for him, and he managed to get in touch with his family, great friends and land himself a job in sunny Nelson. But this was only the beginning, he said.

"Just you wait, 2014 is going to be even better."

More stories, photos, p3

- © Fairfax NZ News

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