Live: Sun sets on 2021 as revellers prepare to bring in the New Year

A light show extravaganza that will bring some of Auckland’s iconic landmarks to life will brighten up the sky tonight for those wanting to ring in the new year in colour.

Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower, Auckland War Memorial Museum and Te Ara I Whiti – The Light Path will be lit up from 9pm tonight before the main show on the stroke of midnight.

The capital city is also electing to put on a light show rather than the traditional fireworks display over the Whairepo Lagoon, a decision the Wellington City Council made today in light of the Omicron threat. Wellingtonians are being told to look to the sky around midnight to welcome in the new year.

With major festivals postponed because of the uncertainty of Covid restrictions,Rhythm and Alps in Wanaka is one of the few events where people have gathered to party their way into 2022.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted a photo taken on nationwide vaccine drive day, Super Saturday, to pay tribute to the people who had worked hard to get New Zealand through a difficult year – while wishing everyone in New Zealand a happy New Year.

“This year was hard, but it was a lot of other things too,” Ardern wrote.

“This photo taken on Super Saturday reminded me that in amongst the difficult moments, have been some pretty special ones as well, full of people who have worked so hard to help get us through.

“To them, all of them, I say thank you – you’re the reason that no matter what comes our way, we will get through.”

I spent a bit of time tonight scrolling through images from the last year, trying to find a way to sum it up. I got to…

The theme for tonight’s City’s of Sails’ spectacle is Auckland is Calling. The creative idea for the campaign was drawn from the concept of Tomokanga, created by Katz Maihi, of Ngāti Whātua.

The Vector Lights show on the Auckland Harbour Bridge begins with a white spiral that starts small and gradually gets larger. In total, there will be 19 spirals to represent the 19 Tāmaki Makaurau iwi.

A test run of tonight’s spectacular light show got the attention ofsome in the early hours, including Northcote Point resident Christine Smith who was woken with blue light through her window.

“I wondered what on earth it was in my befuddled state because it was just static, it looked like searchlights.

“But then it started to play and it was just gorgeous. We have seen a lot of light shows because we face the city but this was something else.”


The light show comes as Auckland woke this morning to life under the orange traffic light setting after more than 130 days under level 4 and 3 lockdowns, and most recently the red traffic light system setting.

The traditional midnight fireworks display from the Sky Tower was unable to go ahead this year because of Covid-19 and was cancelled as a way to discourage crowds from gathering at the base of the landmark.

There were 49 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today – 22 in Auckland, three in Waikato, 19 in Bay of Plenty, four in the Lakes district and one in Hawke’s Bay.

The Ministry of Health’s guidance over summer includes to wear a mask when out and about, scan in everywhere you go and have your My Vaccine Pass ready for where it is required.

Meanwhile, others across Tāmaki Makaurau have opted for festivals, gatherings at home or a day at the beach in the sun.

Various festivals are taking place across Tāmaki Makaurau tonight and into the new year.

The three-day AUM Festival in South Head and the Highlife Festival at Ascension Winery in Matakana have both kicked off.

The road leading into Matakana, and the main street of the village, was busy with cars and full of activity this afternoon, while the nearby Omaha beach was crowded with people soaking up the sun on the last day of the year.

For anyone heading north of Warkworth, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has warned of delays on State Highway 1 to Wellsford as those heading away on holiday take to the roads.

Meanwhile, police in Whangamatā are taking a “no tolerance” approach to poor behaviour tonight after officers had bottles thrown at them while undertaking patrols in Williamson Park last night.

One person was arrested for disorder in relation to the bottle throwing and has been summonsed to appear in Waihi District Court in the new year.

Police in Whangamatā and around the Coromandel Peninsula were concerned a small group of people were not getting the message about celebrating the holidays safely.

Acting senior sergeant Terri Wilson said the majority of the people causing trouble and breaking the law were visitors to the area.

“It is disappointing that they would have so little regard for the local community.

“For anyone looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve tonight and create trouble, be aware that police will be taking a no-tolerance approach to poor behaviour. Celebrate safely tonight otherwise you might find yourself welcoming in 2022 in a police cell.”


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