Welcome to 2014

22 arrests in the south

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 10:19 01/01/2014
fireworks
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ
Fireworks light the sky over Lake Te Anau to bring in the new year. Thousands turned out despite the rain to celebrate at the towns Lion Park where a large bonfire and entertainment took place.

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A brawl broke out in Wanaka early in New Year's Eve but overall police were pleased with revellers behaviour throughout the south.

The brawl in Wanaka started about 7pm after police received two reports of disorder and multiple people fighting.

Police southern deployment co-ordinator Steve Aitken said one person was arrested. 

It started after groups of people had been drinking too much, he said.

In Wanaka, four people were arrested, one for disorderly behaviour, one for assault, and two for detoxing.

In other incidents a man fall five metres from a roof in Industrial Place, Qeenstown, at 8.30pm last night and was taken to hospital, and a man was burned at a bonfire in Invercargill about 1.30am.

Overall until 2am this morning only 33 arrests had been made in the southern region despite the thousands of people descending on Queenstown and Wanaka to celebrate the New Year.

About 120 police were throughout the region and behaviour on the night was the same as previous years, with some people consuming too much alcohol and being silly, but the majority of revellers had been well behaved.

The new sale and supply of liquor act, liquor bans in areas and visible policing had all helped to keep arrests down and people out of trouble, he said.

In Invercargill there were six arrests for minor alcohol related offences in the four hours leading up to 2014.

Acting Senior Sergeant Dave Kennelly, of Invercargill police, said on the whole, the behaviour in the city and surrounds was good.

The half a dozen people arrested were picked up off the streets in suburban areas for disorderly behaviour, he said.

Those in bars and hotels had not been any trouble, Mr Kennelly said.

One person was arrested in Te Anau for disorderly behaviour.

More than 100 people danced the New Year in at the Scottish Hall in Invercargill to celebrate Hogmanay.

St Andrew's Scottish Society chief Barbara Swain said dozens of people took to the floor for the Scottish tradition.

Stepping, sweeping and gliding their way through the evening before a supper, with haggis of course, and a countdown to New Year.

Meanwhile, some took to the country pubs to see in the New Year.

Both Woodlands Pub and Gorge Road Country Club had more than 100 people counting down to 2014, with many opting for the family friendly environment.

Country club president Brendon Perriam said the club ensured it was family friendly and went out of their way to make sure everyone got home safely by picking them up and dropping them off where they needed to go.

But despite the joyful celebrations, many would have to get up early for work, he said.

''A lot of them will have to get up for milking in the morning.''

Mr Kennelly said it was schemes such as courtesy coaches which ensured police were not attending fatal accidents on Southland roads on New Year's Eve.

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Invercargill and Kingswell fire crews were called out to Calvery Hospital just before midnight after a strong smell of gas was reported.

Southern fire communications shift manager Karl Patterson said when crews got there they too could smell the gas but could not find where it was coming from.

After investigating the area they ''headed for home,'' he said.

Fire and ambulance were called to a house at 1.30am after a person suffered burns from a bonfire.

The ambulance took him to hospital.

Mr Patterson said the Invercargill Fire Service also attended another back yard fire in Tweed St before 2am today.

Balclutha, Central Otago and Gore were quiet but busy for the fire service.

The Milton Fire Service was called to a timber yard before 10pm. Southern fire communications shift manager Karl Patterson said it was a small rubbish fire which had spread to some fence posts.

''We thought it would be the whole timber yard, but luckily it wasn't.''

Mr Patterson said Kaka Point took out the honour of being the first call out of the year for the fire service.

Both Balclutha and Kaka Point brigades attended a scrub fire at the beach at midnight, it was put out promptly, he said.

- The Southland Times

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