Chaos erupted in central Queenstown after the bars closed at midnight last night and hundreds of people poured out onto the street.
NZME photo journalist George Heard saw what happened and said it got out of control very quickly.
"The bars shut at midnight and so everyone got shoved outside onto the street and there were hundreds of people on Ballarat Street.
"There was a guy playing a bongo drum and everyone started crowding around having a good time, having a laugh."
It was then that things started to get out of hand, he said.
"People were climbing up trees, I saw someone fall out of a tree. there was a guy by the lamppost and he started shaking it and broke the lamp. After that happened the cops came in and started clearing everyone off.
"It just got really out of hand really fast."
Heard estimated there were about 300 people on the street.
A police spokeswoman said they dispersed the "large gatherings" of people just after midnight and no arrests were made.
It came after an incident of disorderly behaviour at The World Bar that led to one person suffering head injuries and one facial injuries.
A spokeswoman said they were called to the scene on Church St at about 9.15pm.
"There were a number of people around who may have witnessed what happened, and captured footage on video or camera.'
Police urge anyone with footage of the incident to email it to email@example.com.
Queenstown-Wakatipu ward councillor Valerie Miller said seeing disorderly behaviour in the area broke her heart.
"One of the things that was great about Queenstown when I was younger is it always felt completely safe, I never felt scared, so to see it change is such a tragedy."
She said the council was very aware of the issue and had actively been looking for ways to mitigate it, such as CCTV cameras and increased lighting.
"I have had feedback from locals who are too frightened to go into town now. It is a real shame.
"We [council] have had sessions with police. It's scary because we know it can just take one punch to seriously injure someone for the rest of their life."
The behaviour seemed to have ramped up since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Miller said.
"In the past, we have had a huge number of young people coming here on New Year's Eve and it's always a problem. Now we've got other types of behaviour, a lot of fighting and the use of drugs as well and I think it fuels this kind of thing.
"It had been creeping in for a while but it seems to have become much more of an issue since Covid-19.
"Whether it's young people with less to do or who have less investment in their future, I'm not sure."