It begins! New Zealand welcomes 2024 as rest of world prepares for New Year

Jubilant crowd witness fireworks display at Auckland Sky Tower along with the capital city’s Harbour Bridge

As the world prepares to welcome 2024, New Year celebrations kicked off in New Zealand on Sunday (today) with elated crowds gathered to witness an impressive fireworks display from the Auckland Sky Tower along with the capital city’s Harbour Bridge.

New Zealand is one of the first countries that welcomes the New Year. However, it is not the first country to do so, as Kiribati’s Kiritimati Island, also known as Christmas Island — according to National Geographic — is the first territory to welcome the new year.

The Island welcomed 2024 at 10 GMT or 3:00pm as per Pakistan Standard Timing (PST) earlier in the day followed by New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

The fact that the world is divided into 24 primary time zones means that the New Year’s celebrations will continue throughout the day with the island nations of Niue and American Samoa — located southwest of Kiribati in the South Pacific — being the last territories to welcome 2024.

The outgoing year has proved to be rather tumultuous for the world on political, economic, geopolitical and other fronts. From the war in Ukraine to the conflicts in Africa and the Middle East — most notably Sudan, Israel and Palestine — the world remained polarised amid deteriorating financial indicators, rampant inflation and a whole plethora of crises.

Nevertheless, countries around the world are likely to welcome 2024 with “open arms” with public countdowns and fireworks expected at landmark locations such as Australia’s Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, New York’s Times Square in the United States, Rome’s Circus Maximus, Westminster in London and others, reported CNN.

Although, like the rest of the world, the new year is marked by celebrations all across the country with fireworks etc, this year the government has prohibited all New Year’s celebrations as a gesture to express solidarity with the Palestinians who have been subjected to brutal Israeli offensive since October 7 that has martyred more than 22,000 Palestinians — including over 8,000 children.


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