A newly-designed Glo Festival is being hailed a big success with the event attracting up to 15,000 people - the biggest New Year's Eve crowd in the city for several years.

The family-friendly event moved from being a three-day festival to a one-night event starting with a movie on a big screen at the Village Green.

Despite the success, police have confirmed it was a busy night for emergency services with 12 people being arrested for disorder and alcohol-related offences.

A police media spokeswoman said it was a busy night for police with "pockets of disorder" with most of the callouts relating to young people.


The number of arrests was slightly higher than last New Year's Eve in Rotorua when nine people were arrested.

Glo Festival organiser Alia Ryan, who is the Boost Fundraising & Events managing director, said within the Village Green near the Lakefront, where the Glo Festival was held, the crowd was extremely well behaved with the police and security staff keep a tight lid on any trouble.

She said given the event was alcohol-free and family-friendly, it was a perfect mix.

"It's becoming known that Rotorua puts on a great family event for New Year."

Glo Festival started with the Moana movie before local artists took the stage. The performers included Te Manaia Yates, Ruaeo Te Moni, Rehua Selwyn, Danielle Selwyn, Paretoroa Webster-Tarei, Poppy Langdon and DJ Pete.

Ryan said there was a great line-up of local acts who just "nailed it".

"They all did a fantastic job. Those young girls and boys, my goodness there is some power in their voices. They were such great little professionals and there were even some people in the crowd holding up supporter signs for the young people."

The first of the fireworks was just on dark at 9.15pm at the Lakefront before the crowd were further entertained by DJ Pete before headline act Elemeno P took the stage. The crowd then moved to the Lakefront for the final fireworks at midnight.

"We had great feedback on the fireworks. It was awesome hearing the crowd think that it was over and then more pyrotechnics would go off and they would all go 'wow'.

"I just want to say a massive thank you to Rotorua for coming out and celebrating the New Year with us, it was such a pleasure to be involved with."

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Webster-Tarei, 12, said he loved the opportunity of performing.

"I was a little bit nervous because it was the biggest crowd I've sung in front of but I loved every minute of it. Also seeing everybody singing alongside me when I sang my songs was cool too."

The Hits Rotorua host Paul Hickey, who was MC alongside Mercia Yates, said he was impressed with the early turnout for Moana. The movie screening had been held on another day to New Year's Eve at previous Glo Festivals.

"That change encouraged more early involvement for the evening. There was just a really positive and relaxed vibe and everyone I spoke to was enjoying themselves. It was another great event that showcased our community to all the thousands of visitors who also were part of the night."

Yates, who is Nga Pumanawa e Waru's programme co-ordinator, said she was "elated" with how the festival went from the perspective of being able to showcase local talent.

Many of the local performers were those who were successful at Nga Pumanawa e Waru's Matariki Star Search earlier in the year.

"They were each able to command a stage presence and also deliver with conviction and passion.

"Community partnerships for Nga Pumanawa e Waru are critical to ensuring we engage with our community and whanau in a meaningful ways that continue to support their children's learning, and in this case we get to showcase the arts, as a result of Matariki Star Search and rising stars."

She said Te Manaia, her son, choreographed his own item and "owned it".

"He delivered in true Te Manaia style and the crowd loved it."

Te Manaia said he "loved seeing all his friends and family" and liked making them all smile and be happy.