Story: Public holidays

New Year's Eve fireworks

New Year's Eve fireworks

An excited crowd watches New Year's Eve fireworks at Mt Maunganui in 2010. This tradition has its origins in the 19th century, when at port towns ships used their signalling flares to create pyrotechnic displays. Heavy drinking is also an old New Year custom in New Zealand, and from the 1970s this began to create problems as thousands of young people congregated at beach resorts, got drunk and caused trouble. The imposing of liquor bans and a strong police presence at places such as Mt Maunganui has reduced the potential for disorder.

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New Zealand Herald
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Photograph by Christine Cornege

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Public holidays - Easter, Christmas and New Year', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2024)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 19 Apr 2023