|NEW ZEALAND SEES IN NEW MILLENNIUM [Abridged]|
Zealand on Saturday became the first industrialised nation to enter the
new millennium, but along with the fireworks and parties.
Thousands of people braved intermittent rain in most major New Zealand towns and cities to attend midnight celebrations, countdowns, fireworks and concerts. As the clock hit midnight (1100 GMT), crowds cheered beneath the town clock in Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island and in Auckland, flooded the downtown harbour area with light.
The Skytower, Auckland''s most prominent landmark, was turned into a giant fireworks display as wave after wave of pyrotechnics was unleashed into the rain-sodden night, drawing cheers of delight from damp partygoers in the streets below.....
While many New Zealanders opted to spend the millennium night with their families rather than at large, organised celebrations, for many thousands of workers the coming 24 hours were to be spent in the office performing Y2K checks.......
Published Saturday, January 01, 2000
The menace of Y2K was no match for Mother Nature in a New Year's Day clash at Ellerslie.
Colourful Irish sponsor Thomas McDonough's two-year dream of backing the first Group One race of the millennium became a nightmare for the Auckland Racing Club with the abandonment of the country's biggest race meeting after a heavy shower made the track dangerous.
"Our worst nightmare," said club chief executive David Lloyd after announcing a cost to the club of at least $400,000 and the axing of the Eric Watson-sponsored $500,000 Auckland Cup - the country's richest race - and the McDonough-sponsored Railway Handicap.
The delayed announcement that racing would be abandoned and the two features added to today's programme brought an outburst of protest from thousands of members of the public. They demanded refunds on tickets and racebooks and refused to pay for service at the track's exclusive Silks Restaurant. One patron demanded half of a $1600 fee paid to hire a helicopter for the day.
Hosting the millennium's first Group One race now goes to North America.
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|Last modified: 14 January 2000|