Wellington Scoop

Wellington fireworks postponed till next weekend – to protect the whale

News from Wellington City Council
The Matariki Sky Show is to be postponed till next weekend – Saturday 14 July (rain day Sunday 15 July) – primarily due to the presence of the southern right whale in Wellington Harbour.

Wellington’s acting Mayor Jill Day says the postponement call was made this afternoon following advice from the Department of Conservation and mana whenua and concerns over public safety on the water.

“The advice we’ve received is that the noise from the fireworks is unlikely to cause harm to the whale but that it could cause it to act unpredictably if it is in the vicinity. We don’t want anyone in boats or kayaks on the water, in the dark, to come off second-best if the whale breaches among them.

“We also don’t want the whale to be injured in any contact with a vessel.

“Hopefully by next weekend the whale will have departed the inner harbour and headed to Petone or Eastbourne or out into Te Moana-o-Raukawa (Cook Strait).”

Cr Day says there’s been strong iwi and public sentiment in favour of a postponement. “Wellingtonians have fallen in love with this whale – this taonga – and they’ve been telling us they don’t want anything untoward to happen to it. The whale’s presence is a true blessing for Matariki.”

She says the Council will be talking during the week to interested parties – including the Harbourmaster, iwi and police – about how to deal with the situation if the whale is still in the harbour next weekend.

“We think we can find a solution that enables us to celebrate our harbour visitor – and watch a stunning fireworks display.”

DOC specifies its concerns

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  1. Nora, 6. July 2018, 16:38

    Cr Day is correct “The Whale’s presence is a blessing for Matariki”. How true as there was never fireworks in the early Maori days, leave them to Guy Fawkes!

  2. Citizen Joe, 7. July 2018, 11:14

    Nora, Fireworks are a Chinese invention! I’m certain Maori did not have any before the white fella arrived. They did burn down the bush and forests to shoe out the Moa and other birds. Probably cooked whale meat on fires too.

  3. Chris Horne, 7. July 2018, 21:19

    My vote is for the fireworks display to be abandoned forever. I consider it to be a profligate use of ratepayers’ money which should be invested instead in caring for people in need.

    I consider that the CO2 emissions produced by the burning of fireworks themselves, and the burning of petrol and diesel used to propel people to vantage points, is in direct conflict with New Zealand’s ratification of the COP21 Paris Accord. That ratification commits us to slashing greenhouse-gas emissions. Continuing with fireworks displays would be to thumb the capital’s noses at that commitment. Let’s find ways to celebrate Matariki without fireworks.

  4. Citizen Joe, 8. July 2018, 10:58

    Chris – we need to stop the increase in the human population if we are to reduce CO2 emissions so let’s start with a zero growth target for Wellington’s population.

  5. NigelTwo, 8. July 2018, 12:18

    Whale or no whale, the weather would probably have caused a postponement.

  6. Michael Gibson, 8. July 2018, 13:00

    I agree with Chris.
    Being a ‘traditionalist’, I thought that there was some point in having fireworks to mark the anniversary of a fireworks-type occasion but it is now simple self-glorification of the kind that the Council seems to want to foist on ratepayers. If the Mayor wants it, couldn’t he a) plan to protect the environment better and b)get his grateful developer chums to pay for it?