Great weather, the perfect spot to watch the first of the city's fireworks displays, and the lure of a free barbecue and games for the kids, saw hundreds of families pour into Tauranga's waterfront.

Among the revellers at the Downtown Tauranga New Year's Eve Family BBQ on the waterfront were Brookfield couple Tiffany and Tukara Matthews, their son Franklin, 2, and their friends from Auckland, Rachel and Richard Hopkins, with their one-year-old son Tobias.

Mrs Matthews said: "It's a great way to see in this new year with our kids and husbands in a safe, family-friendly environment. The atmosphere is perfect and the weather couldn't be better."

Greerton grandmother Carmen Nikora, who was down at the waterfront with grandson Jade, described the event as an "absolutely great idea".