Australia, New Zealand usher in 2017

Fireworks explode over the Opera House during a pre-New Years Eve fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, Australian, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A massive fireworks display has lit up Sydney Harbour as Australia’s largest city ushered in 2017.

The BBC reports that some 1.5 million revellers had been expected to turn out on the waterfront.

Earlier, Auckland in New Zealand has become the first major world city to welcome the New Year.

Many cities around the world have stepped up security for New Year’s Eve celebrations, after a year in which attackers drove lorries into crowds in Berlin in Germany and Nice, France.

Thousands of extra police will be on duty in London and other cities.

In Paris, Madrid and New York, concrete barriers and heavy goods vehicles will be used to block off central squares where crowds gather to celebrate.

The midnight fireworks display at Sydney Harbour paid tribute to Prince and David Bowie, two music superstars who died in 2016.

“This year, sadly, we saw the loss of many music and entertainment legends around the world,” fireworks co-producer Catherine Flanagan said.

“So celebrating their music as part of Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks displays is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and what the future may hold.”

Pacific islands including Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati entered 2017 at 10:00 GMT, followed an hour later by Auckland, where fireworks erupted from the 328m (1,080ft) tall Sky Tower in the city centre.