Christmas celebrations ended with a bang for a backpacker who smashed his vehicle into shops in central Tauranga early on Boxing Day morning.

The 32-year-old man, from Waitakere in Auckland, was racing down Willow St just before 3am yesterday when he lost control of his vehicle and ploughed into shops at the State Arcade at Red Square.

Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Nigel Ramsden said police had just received a report about the man's driving when he crashed.

"At 2.56am it was reported by the CCTV operator who saw him driving at speed down Willow St, and he lost control at the junction."


The man was unhurt in the accident but caused some damage at the scene.

His car bowled through a street bollard and rubbish bin before smashing into a store window and security gate.

Police arrived shortly after and arrested the man.

When breath tested, the man blew twice the legal limit, Mr Ramsden said.

He was charged with drink driving and dangerous driving, and will be summonsed to court next year. The man was later released and sent back to the Willow St backpackers where he was staying.

Property manager Brian Berry said his thoughts about the driver were unpublishable.

The window of Bodyzone gym was smashed by a flying rubbish bin while the window of a vacant store, soon to be leased by Ray White Commercial Real Estate, was smashed by the impact of the car. Both windows were boarded up yesterday until new glass could be fitted.

Mr Berry said the biggest problem was the security gate, which would take longer to fix and he would probably have to hire a security guard in the meantime.