A 54-year-old man has denied inciting a New Year's Eve riot in Whangamata that "cost a family their livelihood", according to the local mayor.
The local man was charged with inciting disorderly behaviour after chaos erupted at Williamson Park, near the town's beach, on December 31. A large group of unruly teenagers took to the streets, hurling bottles into a crowd of roughly 500 people, knocking over rubbish bins and causing extensive damage to Blackies Cafe.
Footage showed officers in riot gear advancing down one of the town's main roads, armed with shields and batons.
Appearing at the Waihi District Court on Wednesday, the 54-year-old pleaded not guilty and was granted interim name suppression. His next court appearance has been scheduled for March.
Inciting disorderly behaviour carries a maximum penalty of three months in prison and a fine of $2000.
Two other people were charged with assaulting the police. Twenty-two people were arrested that night, but have not been charged.
Speaking to Newshub earlier this month, Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie described the group as "self-indulgent brats".
"They have cost a family their livelihood," Goudie said.
"It is just a significant group of young people that were highly intoxicated. They were throwing bottles into the crowd. The breach of the liquor ban was just horrendous. The amount of liquor has just been horrendous. They confiscated enormous amounts."
The owner of Blackies Cafe told Newshub the youths had caused significant damage to the roof, with repairs to the structure potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars.
"There's holes all through the roof and they broke into our freezer and stole about $8000 worth of product," manager Jordan Hunter said.
Goudie has called for the teenagers to pay for the damage.