Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty Police are appealing to Tauranga's residents and visitors to put their own and their families' and friends' safety first while celebrating New Year's Eve in Tauranga and especially at Mount Maunganui.
Mayor Greg Brownless stresses that the safety of residents and visitors comes first.
“We want everyone to enjoy New Year's Eve, but to celebrate it safely,” Mr Brownless says.
“We want our communities to understand the changed offerings at Mount Maunganui Main Beach, to make informed decisions and to plan ahead. New Year's Eve is for celebrating, so wherever you are, at home or at a friend's place, make sure you're surrounded by people you trust.”
Mayor Brownless says that Council is working closely with WBOP Police to create a safer environment at Mount Maunganui on New Year's Eve. There will be no entertainment or fireworks at the beach. Both Hopukiore (Mount Drury) and Moturiki (Leisure Island) will be fenced off to protect the natural environment and the beach will be well lit. Between 26 December 2016 and 6 January 2017 inclusive the temporary 24-hours-a-day alcohol-free zone in Mount Maunganui has been extended to Hull Road and Tweed Street. There will be some road closures, parking restrictions and traffic management in place to manage traffic flows throughout the day and evening of New Year's Eve. Delays are likely, but the intention is to minimise the impact in traffic, whilst addressing safety and operational needs.
“We recognise that change takes time and that some changes might not come as easy as we would like them to. For us the safety of our communities comes first. We encourage everyone to take the time to talk to friends and family about their plans on New Year's Eve. This is the best way to help them stay safe while celebrating.”
Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton emphasises that there will be a strong Police presence in the Mount Maunganui area on New Year's Eve.
“We take the safety of our communities seriously and are working diligently with Tauranga City Council and partners to try and ensure the safety of all,” Mr Paxton said.
“Council and NZ Police are working alongside to inform residents and visitors on how to plan ahead and how to stay safe during New Year's Eve in Tauranga.”
Mayor Brownless emphasizes the wider city activities for summer and New Year's Eve, including the new youth event “Frequency NYE” at ASB Baypark Arena and the central city fireworks display.
“Midnight fireworks will be displayed from a central city location so that they can be enjoyed across the city. Watch them from your deck or backyard, ideally from a slightly elevated point,” Mr Brownless said.
“And Council has added a fireworks display at the family-friendly time of 9.30pm. They will light up the sky from a barge at the Tauranga waterfront.
“You've got the choice: celebrating at home, at a friend's place, or at one of the NYE events happening around town, such as the under 18s event Frequency NYE at the ASB Arena.
“Frequency NYE has been introduced as part of this year's changed event offering in Tauranga on New Year's Eve to meet the demand for an alcohol-free youth event in the city. This demand was evident from the demographic profile of 2015/16 New Year's Eve attendees. Council's highest priority is to provide a fun and safe environment for this age group (14 to 17 years of age).”
The Frequency NYE ticket includes a free bus ride to and from the event. Uzabus will pick up and drop off Frequency NYE attendees across the city in Greerton, Windermere, Brookfield, Otumoetai, Mount Maunganui, Papamoa and Welcome Bay. These routes are along regular Baybus routes and pick up/drop off will be at various nominated bus stops.
Council is running the summer events programme at Mount Drury and at the Mount Main Beach from 20 December 2016 – 8 January 2017. The summer events programme aims to engage residents and visitors throughout the busiest summer period in Mount Maunganui. There will be a series of events taking place over the Christmas and New Year period, providing activities to be enjoyed by all¬ audiences with an emphasis on attracting families to the area.
Be prepared for NYE
There are a few things parents, teens, anyone should consider before they go out, especially on a busy NYE night:
• Plan ahead before you go out: The early stage of the evening is the time to get prepared.
• Being out and about: Look after yourself, your mates and your belongings. Remember these and a few more things while you're out and about and it'll be a good night.
• Getting around town and home: A graceful exit is as important as a grand entrance – remember to plan how you're getting home and around town.
• Emergency and safety numbers: Need to call someone? Save numbers of Police, medical centres and taxis into your phone.
Council consolidated these relevant tips and tricks on www.mytauranga.co.nz/staysafe, a mobile-friendly website that can be easily accessed from home or when you're out and about.