New year, new city.

That's what the Witika family were preparing for as they watched the 9.30pm New Year's Eve fireworks display over Tauranga Harbour last night.

The family had just moved to Tauranga from the small Eastern Bay village of Matata.

Dad Shikoni Wikita said they had moved to the bigger city in the hope of finding better opportunities for work and "and for our children".

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They were off to a good start, having secured a house in Tauranga's notoriously tricky - especially for big families - rental market.

The family were among more than 2000 people seeing out the last daylight hours of 2018 in Fergusson Park, Matua, where a family New Year's celebration was being held for the first time.

Attendees gave the event good reviews, with positive comments about the location, ample parking, lively entertainment and uncrowded space to set out a blanket.

Antoinette Douglas with her dogs Sky and Rusty, with Ralph Heijmer, holding 13-week-old Zachary Heijmer at Fergusson Park. Photo / Andrew Warner
Antoinette Douglas with her dogs Sky and Rusty, with Ralph Heijmer, holding 13-week-old Zachary Heijmer at Fergusson Park. Photo / Andrew Warner

Antoinette Douglas of Matua was grateful to have a dog-friendly option.

She comforted chihuahua Sky - who, being scared of fireworks, was due to be popped in the car before they started - and her french bulldog Rusty, while partner Ralph Heijmer cradled their sleeping 13-week-old, Zachery Heijmer.

"It's a great family environment."

Annabelle O Cinnseala, a member of Tauranga City Council's events team, said she had been surveying attendees and the results were largely positive.

"A lot of people were saying it was nice to have something local."

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Adelle King, 10, whips her hair around to the music at Fergusson Park. Photo / Andrew Warner
Adelle King, 10, whips her hair around to the music at Fergusson Park. Photo / Andrew Warner

There were food trucks and rides and Batman and a live band who assured the crowd they were certainly having more fun than those gathered at the sister events, also organised by Tauranga City Council, in Pāpāmoa and at the Tauranga CBD waterfront, where Mayor Greg Brownless kicked off the evening with a free sausage sizzle.

Holiday hotspot Mount Maunganui - once a magnet for drunken revellers - was quiet in the run-up to midnight, relative to previous years.

At least one party was shut down well before midnight, in Riverton Rd.

An area on Wells Ave was temporarily cordoned off by firefighters early in the evening due to a gas leak.

Brownless said the community events were well-received by many, with more than 2000 revellers at the central city festivities and about 2500 at the Papamoa celebrations.

And more than 3000 neighbours from the surrounding area also enjoyed the entertainment in Matua's Fergusson Park, he said.

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

"Overall, it was a fairly quiet but fun night for all of us."