13 ar­rests dur­ing Christ­mas in the Park

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Thir­teen peo­ple were ar­rested at Auck­land’s Coca-Cola Christ­mas in the Park, de­spite low turnout due to bad weather.

Or­gan­is­ers es­ti­mated only about 10,000 turned out for the an­nual event at the Auck­land Do­main on Satur­day evening, down from as many as 100,000 in pre­vi­ous years.

Po­lice said most of the ar­rests were for al­co­hol and dis­or­der­re­lated charges.

Four of those ar­rested were ju­ve­niles - un­der 17-years-old - and an­other 10 youths were taken home by po­lice or had their par­ents called.

A po­lice spokesman said there was a very low turnout due to the bad weather, but de­spite this, of­fend­ing was still high.

‘‘Staff still had to deal with nu­mer­ous jobs mainly that of of ju­ve­niles dis­play­ing gang colours, in terms of dis­or­der and mi­nor of­fend­ing; so just youth groups caus­ing some is­sues there.’’

He said a high po­lice pres­ence was main­tained through­out the event, and more than 70 of­fi­cers were sta­tioned on trains around the city.

He said most of those ar­rested were were re­leased on bail on Sun­day morn­ing.

Pun­ters spoke out about their dis­ap­point­ment af­ter at­tend­ing this year’s event.

Ep­som res­i­dent Al­lana Dunn wrote on Neigh­bourly that the event was miss­ing Christ­mas songs and carols.

‘‘It has turned into a show­case for failed NZ’s Got Tal­ent per­form­ers play­ing their own mu­sic,’’ she wrote.

‘‘It has lost the fam­ily ap­peal now.’’

Oth­ers com­plained that the lack of park­ing had turned them off the event.

Mt Roskill res­i­dent Ar­lene McLel­lan said in the past the event felt like a ‘‘celebrity party’’.

‘‘I went last year and it just didn’t feel like it had the Christ­mas spirit.’’

De­spite this, many agreed that high­light was the an­nual fire­works dis­play at the end of the show.

Christ­mas in Park was first held in 1994 at Auck­land Do­main on a 15m stage on the cricket pavil­ion.

This year’s edi­tion was dubbed as be­ing the big­gest yet with a brand new high tech stage, one of the largest ever de­signed and built in New Zealand.

Stan Walker fronted the line up and was joined by New Zealand per­form­ers Tami Niel­son, Vince Harder, Lav­ina Wil­liams, Barry Con­rad and Nyree Huyser.

CHRIS SKELTON / FAIRFAX NZ

This year’s Coca-Cola Christ­mas in the Park, held at the Auck­land Do­main, ex­pe­ri­enced low turnout thanks to the weather

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