Last chance dance
It is an age-old question. What does one wear to the end of the world?
Parties will be held across the region tonight, with officially no more sleeps left until life as we know it ceases to exist.
According to some Mayan experts, their ancient calendar predicts the apocalypse will strike some time today, destroying the earth and all that lives on it.
NZ Skeptic editor, Gordonton resident David Riddell, will be among those who head to an end of the world party for one last night of fun on Earth.
"The theme is dress how you would like to dress for the end of the world," he said.
Mr Riddell is also among those who believe the predictions of doom are, in the very least, false.
"I would like to think that there is no need to cancel the Christmas shopping," he said.
People were drawn to doomsday prophecies throughout history because of the "immensity of time".
"Human life can seem very brief and I suspect people like the the idea that everything will come to the end because that makes us heroes of all the history of life," he said.
"It is an idea you see again and again in history. This is not the first time people have been convinced the world is ending and it won't be the last."
Ancient Mayans believed that a 5125-year cycle known as the Long Count would come to a close on December 21, 2012. Tourists have already flocked to archaeological sites in Mexico and Central America where "apocalypse parties" are being held to mark a new Mayan era.
Experts estimate the system, made up of 394-year periods called baktuns, started counting at 3114 BC, and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5125 years, around December 21.
They say 13 was a significant number for the Maya, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone - but they have been keen to stress that it does not mark an end.
Conspiracy theorists nonetheless believe the Maya may have known of impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.
END OF YEAR PARTIES
Altitude Bar in Hamilton will hold an "End of the World" concert and fundraiser tonight, with money raised going to the Waikato Salvation Army's Christmas foodbank appeal.
The Agenda nightclub in Hamilton will also hold an end of the world party tonight, with an optimistic finishing time of 3am tomorrow.