Wellington Matariki Fireworks postponed due to whales

NZ 06/07/2018

Wellington's Matariki fireworks have been postponed due to the emergence of the southern right whale in Wellington Harbour.

The fireworks were scheduled for July 7 to coincide with the Māori New Year, but will now be held next weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday.

Wellington City council says it made the call following advice from the Department of Conservation and mana whenua.

"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," Wellington's acting Mayor, Jill Day, says.

"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."

Ms Day says the Council will have discussions about how to deal with the whale if it's 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," she says.

"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."

Public support in a Newshub poll asking if people would rather watch the whale or the fireworks has been running 90 percent whale.