Working New Year’s Eve is usually a given in the police, so you may as well be at a blue-chip destination to invoke the “change is as good as a holiday” vibe.
New Year’s Eve beating the feet has seen me grace the hot spots of Kerikeri, Whangamata, Queenstown, Wanaka and Alexandra.
This celebration of the last day of the Gregorian calendar saw me in Wanaka and, following recent trends, despite the high numbers of holidaymakers, clients in the Wanaka police cells were lonely for fellow incarcerated company.
Only eight arrests in Queenstown, Wanaka and Dunedin points to southerners becoming more in control of their big night of revelry.
A far cry from last decade, when I’ve been pelted with bottles at Whangamata and Albert Town, and Wanaka had a shipping container in the rear yard as a “drunk tank” to cope with the overflow of arrests.
One factor is that well-organised music events have kept the 18-28 age group enjoying themselves in well-controlled liquor licensed areas.
The dynamic of the Rhythm and Alps music festival, located in transformed farm paddocks in the Cardrona Valley, sees a migration of most of the area’s “Generation Millennials” to the temporary tent city of 8000.
With no arrests it’s a big tick for the peaceful party attitude of the gen-millennials, with sunburn the greatest danger.
This age displacement leaves Wanaka’s main street on New Year’s Eve a little like an “underage rage”, with parents often sighted in the shadowy fringes trying to keep a casual eye on their teens. Some 15 and 16-year-olds displayed a level of alcohol entitlement garnered from the tacit consent of their parents succumbing to “adolescence pressure”, supplying them with alcohol.
One 16-year-old I approached confidently stated “I haven’t had any alcohol”, slurring from behind bloodshot eyes while booze from broken bottles in his backpack spilt on me.
The downturn in antisocial behaviour paradoxically saw increasing excessive “pro-social” behaviour after midnight along the stony Wanaka lake front, and the term “get a room” was apt as warm weather tested amorous etiquette standards.
Anyway, just like your Michael Buble Christmas CD, it’s time to consign last year’s memories to the bottom drawer and look forward to a totes tops 2019.