Tauranga Hospital's emergency department had a busy night overnight, with around 90 per cent of cases alcohol related.

The emergency department saw 180 patients on December 31 and by 8.30am today it had already seen 50 patients.

"We have had a busy night, which is to be expected on New Year's Eve night into New Year's Day morning," emergency department clinical lead, Dr Derek Sage, told the Bay of Plenty Times.

"We do put on additional staff in anticipation of the extra numbers and we coped perfectly well."

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Dr Sage said around 90 per cent of the emergency department presentations last night were alcohol related.

"So that is either the direct results of over drinking or related physical injuries because of fights or falling over or the like. We also had some patients whose pre-existing medical conditions meant that it probably wasn't wise to be drinking in the first place."

He said while some of the patients may have used inappropriate language at times there was no physical violence towards staff.

"In general I would say that, although still busy, the last two years have been somewhat quieter than years we've had before. Why that is is hard to say."

Tauranga Hospital's emergency department clinical lead Dr Derek Sage said it was a busy night last night, with around 90 per cent of cases alcohol related. Photo/file
Tauranga Hospital's emergency department clinical lead Dr Derek Sage said it was a busy night last night, with around 90 per cent of cases alcohol related. Photo/file

Dr Sage said the hospital's emergency department would remain busy now for a while.

"And I suspect it will be the middle of next week before we return to some sense of normality. There are several reasons for that including the number of holidaymakers in town, the public holidays and reduced GP availability during the holiday season."

Meanwhile, Tauranga's mayor Greg Brownless said everything went as expected for the city's New Year's Eve celebrations.

"Our aim was to welcome the New Year in a safe but enjoyable way so everyone can celebrate in a welcoming environment."

There were free, family-friendly events both on the waterfront in the Tauranga CBD and at Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa as well as fireworks at 9.30pm and midnight.

"I was delighted to see all these families coming down to the waterfront and celebrating the New Year together," Brownless said.

He said the council was glad things went smoothly on the night.

"We've also seen that many local businesses took the chance and put their own organised events on for New Year's Eve. It has been a fairly quiet night for all of us. How New Year's Eve will look in the future is yet to be determined.

"It was a wonderful start to the year and the celebrations showed that Tauranga truly is a destination loved by many and a great place to live, work and play with great events and a terrific community spirit."

New Year's Eve celebrations at the Strand in central Tauranga. Photo/Andrew Warner
New Year's Eve celebrations at the Strand in central Tauranga. Photo/Andrew Warner

The council estimated that upwards of 2000 people enjoyed the free New Year's Eve entertainment in the central city and around 3000 attended the event in Papamoa.

Brownless said he would like to thank the Tauranga community for getting behind the city's celebrations and making New Year's Eve 2017 "truly something to remember" as well as all the local residents for supporting the event.

"Our events team worked closely with police, emergency services, security companies and roading contractors when planning the events, to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe environment for an unforgettable start to the New Year. Thanks to all businesses for their support."

The New Year's Eve family-friendly event at Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa. Photo/Andrew Warner
The New Year's Eve family-friendly event at Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa. Photo/Andrew Warner