Revelers hoping to ring in 2019 at Rotorua's only free, public New Year's Eve party, will have to take their celebrations elsewhere, with this year's party finishing at 9.30pm.

The council's arts and culture manager Stewart Brown said the Glo Festival would this year run from 4.30pm to 9.30pm citing safety and security and feedback from attendees as the reasons for the change.

"Delivering two major fireworks displays within such a short timeframe is challenging and poses safety risks.

"Antisocial behaviour also increased in previous years once the first fireworks display had finished."

Codi Poutu, 16, (left) Yasmin Beizlle, 19, and Hone Morris, 19. Photo / Ben Fraser
Codi Poutu, 16, (left) Yasmin Beizlle, 19, and Hone Morris, 19. Photo / Ben Fraser

Brown said attendees were surveyed following the Glo Festival 2017 about what parts of the evening were most important.

"The research indicated that people loved the family atmosphere and togetherness, and loved the fireworks at 9.15pm.

"Given that the fireworks was the key reason people came, along with family togetherness, this year's single fireworks display will be longer and more spectacular, and at a time that is attractive for families."

Local teen Yasmin Beizlle, 19, said the options for teenagers on New Year's Eve were limited and the changes limited them further.

She said in her opinion finishing the event at 9.30pm wouldn't address any concerns about unruly behaviour.

"I think you're still going to find there is unruly behaviour, it's just going to be spread out.

"People still want to stay in town, at least with Glo there is a policed area.

"Young people are prone to getting in trouble ... they are not just going to go home at 9.30pm. Why not have a safe place to stay?"


Hone Morris, 19, said Glo's early finish defeated the purpose of having a New Year's Eve event.

"It's not New Year's Eve, it's only 9.30pm."

Morris said Glo was a good outing for families.

"If we have the right people in place to prevent trouble we could minimise the issues," he said.

"In terms of Māori Wardens, it would be great to bring back that kaitiaki perspective. In the past when we were down there at New Year's Eve we had trouble under control."

Codi Poutu, 16, said some teenagers tended to "go crazy" and cause trouble.

Brown said the festival would finish earlier but a carnival on the village green would run until later and bars and restaurants would be open late.

Ambrosia manager Anne-Marie Kemplay said she didn't think an earlier finish would affect business negatively.

Wayne Goodchild and Flynn Goodchild at GLO last year. Photo / File
Wayne Goodchild and Flynn Goodchild at GLO last year. Photo / File

"Last year we were very busy, then everyone went off to see the fireworks and then came back afterwards."

She said while there was a possibility there would be troublemakers, she felt Eat Streat had cracked down on them and Ambrosia had door security to avoid any trouble.

Eat Streat Collective chairman Jason Wright said it was disappointing to hear about the shortened format but it could benefit businesses.

"In the past couple of years there's been a little bit of disorderly behaviour around outskirts which has marred the event in the eyes of some.

"It's obviously really good for Eat Streat itself because after the event finishes a lot of people spill into different establishments."

A Rotorua police spokesman said New Year's Eve was always a busy time for police.

"Our focus is on keeping everyone safe, no matter the event or location.

"New Year's Eve can be a great night out, but it's important to keep yourself and those around you safe. Drink responsibly, look out for your mates and make a plan for getting home."

Brown said the council would assess how the new format event was received before making any decisions about future New Year's Eve activities.

"Rotorua Lakes Council's priority for the Glo Festival is to deliver a safe, family-friendly, free event for our community."