1 Jan 2010

NZ celebrates beginning of 2010

1:42 am on 1 January 2010

Thousands of people around the country have welcomed in the New Year with fireworks, street parties and music.

Liquor bans, extra police and in some cases bad weather have so far stopped trouble at resort towns and main centres alike.

In Auckland the traditional spectacular firework display was launched from the top of the Sky Tower at midnight.

Bands performed to large crowds in Wellington's Civic Square on a cool evening at an alcohol-free event.

Rain fell in Dunedin but failed to dampen spirits there and in Christchurch about 15,000 people crammed into Cathedral Square for a firework display with live music keeping revellers entertained.

Huge crowd in Sydney

Sydney is the first major world city to see in 2010, with some 1.5 million people expected to attend the city's events.

Crowds began gathering early in the morning, some of them camping overnight to secure the best vantage point for the 12-minute midnight fireworks display.

New Year's Eve this year will also see a rare blue moon in many parts of the world - a second full moon in a month.

New Zealand will get its two full moons in January, along with Asia and Australia, because the full moon appears in this region on New Year's Day.