New Year’s Day is the first day of the calendar year and is celebrated on 1 January each year. The day is marked by a public holiday in New Zealand.
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With a longitude of 174 degrees, New Zealand is one of the first nations to see in the New Year – it’s not until 9pm in Wellington that the people in Los Angeles see in their New Year.
As is the case around the world, New Year’s Eve celebrations on the night of 31 December welcome in the New Year. Families, sports’ groups, work colleagues and friends countdown to midnight then party longer. Auckland, Wellington and some major towns have firework displays at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
At Waimea, a music party runs from midday on 31 December to midday 2 January – with very strict rules for entry. Several other outdoor ‘under the stars’ music festivals also run in various locations around New Zealand.
But, after the celebrations, most people sleep late then start the first day of the New Year quietly before they go to events like the Waihi Beach Centennial New Years’ Day Beach Sports or the Big Brunch at Rotorua.
Generally New Zealanders love their outdoor lifestyles and, if the first day of the year brings good weather, then picnicking and barbecues are the menu guide of the day. The average temperature for Auckland in January is 25C and, for Christchurch, 22C but these can climb to the mid to low-30’s. This usually makes for perfect weather for family gatherings along the clean beaches and waterways of New Zealand or for yachting in Auckland Harbour for those who can.