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A safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve for all

31 December 2012

A safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve for all

Emergency services in Gisborne, where the Rhythm and Vines music festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary, say they are planning for a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve for all.

“Ten years has taught Tairawhiti a lot in terms of managing crowds and emergency services to make sure everyone has a good time,” said Tairawhiti Police Area Commander Inspector Sam Aberahama.

“We’re running a combined operation with event management, security companies and emergency services meeting daily to share information and coordinate activities.”

Inspector Aberahama said he was feeling confident for a good New Year’s Eve after two nights’ excellent bus transportation from the BW camp grounds to the Rhythm and Vines site at Waiohika Estate.

“Moving nearly 14,000 campers has traditionally been the stressful part of the evening, so it’s really great to see the lessons learned being put into place. Hopefully things will go just as smoothly again tonight.

“Generally, crowds are less intoxicated and more well-behaved this year,” he added.

“People seem to understand they can’t get on the bus or enter through the gates if they’re playing up. They realise they’ll have to have a chill-out period before they’re allowed back to the party.”

For Tairawhiti emergency services though, New Year’s Eve is not just about Rhythm and Vines.

“Lots of other events are going on around Tairawhiti so it’s business as usual as well. For the first time in a long time there’s no town clock party in the centre of the city. Instead, licensed venues will do an in-house countdown.

“Our local policemen are all on duty and we’ve got a couple of teams from out of the district who have come in to give us a hand too.”

Inspector Aberahama said there had been four arrests related to R&V overnight but that those arrested were all local people.

Inspector Aberahama confirmed drugs had been seized at festival gates during bag searches.

“You get that with music festival events of this nature. You also get broken bones and sprained ankles. Police are comfortable with the vigilance of security staff doing the bag checks. Unfortunately there have been a number of reported thefts too. Criminal activity in the region is no different to at this time in other years. There’ll always be people who will try to take criminal opportunity.”

St John ambulance staff said they had been busy at the festivals. Gisborne team manager Shane Clapperton said most of the injuries seen at Rhythm and Vines had been soft tissue ones – cuts, bruises, sprained ankles. One person had been seen at Gisborne Hospital’s emergency department with a fractured elbow. Another woman was taken to hospital by ambulance suffering an adverse drug reaction. She is now in a stable condition.

Inspector Aberahama said checkpoints for drink driving had been a big focus for Police in the past few days and that would continue as 2013 was ushered in.

“My message to people going home after R&V is: You’ve had a great time, make it last until you get home. Get a good sleep and drink plenty of water before you hit the road. Drive sober, drive slowly and drive safe. We are taking a zero tolerance approach to drink driving and a reduced tolerance for speeding.”

Checkpoints will be in place both north and south of Gisborne.

“We’ll continue to be vigilant around drink-driving into the few days after R&V finishes as people are packing up and returning home. I’m really pleased to see this message has got through. Our teams stopped more than 500 cars over a 24 hour period earlier this week and not a single person was found to be over the limit.”


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