New Year’s Eve is all about the fireworks and those in Auckland are hoping the weather gods will play ball, with rain forecast for many areas across the country.
The celebrations are going ahead as planned, and if the rain holds, then SkyCity is the place to be for the Auckland countdown to 2024.
The display starts with a 10-second countdown projected onto the base of the Sky Tower before five-minute and 30 seconds of fireworks cascading from the Sky Tower begin on the stroke of midnight.
SkyCity chief operating officer Callum Mallett notes that Auckland is the first major international city in the world to bring in the New Year, making celebrations here special.
The fireworks display is the highest in the Southern Hemisphere, and 500kg of pyrotechnics will be launched from three purpose-built firing sites mounted on to levels 55, 61 and 64 of the Sky Tower, 200-240m above ground.
The fireworks will be accompanied by a laser light and animation show inspired by the ‘Auckland is Calling’ Tomokanga, reflecting the 19 iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau and the weaving together of people, land and sea.
Vector lights will shine on the Auckland Harbour Bridge for a light show that will be synchronised with Auckland Museum the Te Ara I Whiti The Lightpath.
Best places to view this include Westhaven Marina, Silo Park, Princes, and Queens Wharves, Mt Eden, Bayswater Marina and Mt Victoria.
Rain has been forecast for Auckland and most parts north of the North Island from the afternoon.
This rain will be heavy with intensities of 10mm/h to 25 mm/h and could be accompanied by thunderstorms, MetService says.
MetService meteorologist Alwyn Bakker said a big frontal system has moved across the country from the southwest.
“We’ve had a lot of warm air coming in from the tropics that is making it active and changeable,” Bakker said.
“It’s making all of this moisture condense out and fall all over New Zealand.”
A Heavy Rain Watch is in place for Taumarunui, Waitomo, northern Taranaki, northern Whanganui, and Taihape about and west of State Highway 1 including Tongariro National Park until 9pm this evening, while a Heavy Rain Watch is forecast from 5pm this evening to 5am tomorrow for Bay of Plenty, east of Ōpōtiki.
A little bit of good news for Auckland is that the rain won’t reach watch or warning levels, Bakker said.
“It will be regular heavy rain, a band of rain where it will be quite heavy,” he said.
“It will be regular bad.”
Should that happen, maybe it’s an idea to take the countdown party indoors to one of the many inner-city restaurants and bars.
The Churchill, HI-SO Rooftop Bar, Dr Rudi’s and Rooftop at QT are among venues that are having countdown parties with DJs, cocktails, bubbles and lavish food offerings.
Police across the country are encouraging people to be sensible and look after themselves and their friends when celebrating this New Year.
Officers will be out in force enforcing liquor bans across hotspots while revellers ring in 2024.
Liquor bans prohibit alcohol from being consumed or brought into the street or public places like beaches or parks.
It does not include alcohol being transported directly to a restaurant or a private home.
Anyone who breaches a liquor ban is liable for a fine of up to $250 and may also be arrested.
Police are also promising to have a strong presence across the country.
“While they encourage people to enjoy themselves at celebrations, partygoers should be sensible and look after their mates to ensure everyone gets home safely,” police said in a statement
Anyone feeling unsafe or worried about dangerous, illegal or suspicious behaviour should phone 111.