In the Far North a mostly quiet New Year's Eve with few arrests in the traditional hotspots was marred by a stabbing, blazes sparked by fireworks and two serious crashes.

Celebrations started well in the Bay of Islands with a fireworks display from a barge moored between Paihia and Russell and police reporting only minor problems by 1am.
Most involved revellers suffering the effects of too much alcohol.

The threat of an approaching storm is thought to have been a factor in the smaller than usual crowds.

Details are still sketchy around the most serious incident of the evening in which a man was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital with stab wounds, then later transferred to Whangarei.


Police were seen collecting evidence and conducting interviews at the Pipi Patch Bar on Kings Rd yesterday morning.

Earlier in the night, about 8.30pm, two cars collided at Sandhills Rd between Ahipara and Awanui, injuring five people.

One was thrown from the vehicle while another was trapped and had to be cut from the wreckage by the Kaitaia Fire Brigade. One patient was in a critical condition while three others were serious.

The worst injured were flown to Whangarei Hospital by the Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter while the others were transported by road to Kaitaia. Two helicopters attended the crash.

A motorcyclist who came off his bike on Parnell Rd, Rawene, about 5.45pm was also airlifted to hospital. The Far North's top cop, Inspector Wendy Robilliard, said the lead-up to midnight was marked by mostly good behaviour and little violence.

Officers had enforced Paihia's liquor ban from early in the evening, tipping out revellers' drinks or issuing fines.

In previous years police have used a converted shipping container as a temporary lockup, but this time a prison van was used to hold the arrested before they could be taken to Kaikohe Police Station.

By 1am, however, only two people had been taken back to Kaikohe for "detoxing".

A crew from the TV show Police Ten-7 spent the night in Paihia capturing the action.

Ms Robilliard said the number of revellers was significantly down on last year, possibly because of warnings about the approaching storm.

Reasonable behaviour overall was marred by a few serious incidents, road crashes and "silliness" with fireworks putting people's homes at risk.