'We're so lucky!': How New Zealanders rang in 2021 around the country

As well as being the first country to welcome in the New Year, New Zealand was also one of the few celebrating with no COVID-19 restrictions. 

As fireworks erupted from Auckland's Sky Tower at midnight, it was a burst of colour to see out a year that was a real fizzer.

Thousands flocked into the city to see the tower be transformed into a massive sparkler - it may well have been the largest New Year's Eve crowd in the world.

"We're probably one of the safest countries at the moment," one reveller in Auckland told Newshub.

"We're so lucky to be in New Zealand!" exclaimed another.

In Wellington, families flocked to the waterfront to ring in 2021, with many finding an unconventional seat to watch the kid's early countdown.

Later in the evening, things weren't so tame on Courtenay Place. Emergency services were still dealing with the aftermath on Friday morning.

Police picked up 17 drunk drivers in the Wellington District overnight and arrested five people on Dixon Street for disorderly behaviour.

They made 16 similar arrests in the Auckland CBD, while in Wanaka five people were taken into custody.

In Queenstown, crowds packed out the lakefront to celebrate and a few jumped in nude at midnight for the traditional first swim of the year. 

Despite the rowdy festivities at the Southern tourist hotspot, police say most people were well behaved. 

"It's absolutely fantastic, everyone is just enjoying the atmosphere Queenstown has to offer," said acting senior sergeant Queenstown Steve Watt.

"Where else can you come to experience what we've experienced on this New Year's?"

There was also a fireworks display at Queenstown, celebrating the end of a year that was like no other.