News | 21 June 2019
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Matariki Sky Show set to go off – whale permitting

Last year we had a whale of a time as a tohorā/southern right whale visited the harbour, causing the inaugural Matariki ki Poneke Sky Show to be postponed for a week – but the coast looks clear for this year.

Matariki fireworks.

Matariki is all about celebrating the Māori New Year and giving respect to the land, sea and sky – so it’s fitting that the Matariki festival closes with a fireworks display in the sky above the harbour for all on land and sea to enjoy.

An estimated 200,000 people watched the Sky Show fireworks on their Matariki debut in July 2018 – and Mayor Justin Lester expects the same this year.

“Feedback from attendees last year was hugely positive about the capital’s main fireworks event being held around Matariki, and with an earlier start time of 6.30pm.

“Families with young children, and older citizens, were particularly pleased with the earlier timing of the event as it was more accessible for everyone to take part. There was also a general consensus that it being Matariki added to the enthusiasm of the crowd as they came together to celebrate a uniquely New Zealand event.”

Events Portfolio Lead Councillor Simon Marsh is hoping there won’t be a repeat of last year’s whale appearance until after the show.

“We wouldn’t blame Matariki the tohorā for coming back to enjoy the beautiful harbour and scenery of the city, but hope it’s not in the next couple of weeks. So much time and effort goes into organising these large-scale events, with teams of experts being coordinated to make sure everything runs smoothly and successfully – and we don’t want to put a whale in the works!” jokes Councillor Marsh. 

One of the expert teams involved in the running of the Sky Show is world renowned Artistic Pyrotechnic Designer of PyroStar International, Robert McDermott, who is organising the fireworks display for the 25th consecutive year – with 2 tonnes of firework materials and effects.

“Yes, I was a very young man when it started, but it’s been great to see the growth in a whole new generation enjoying the show. I’m always blown away by how many people turn up, but it’s a feel good thing – no matter what sort of day you’ve had you’ll go away happy.

“Now that we’re doing it for Matariki makes it even more special too, as it’s got more meaning and connects more with our identity as New Zealanders.”

Sky Show 2019

Saturday 29 June 2019, 6.30–6.40pm

Postponement date: Sunday 30 June, 6.30pm.

  • Tune into The Breeze (94.1FM and 98.5FM) or More FM (99.7FM and 95.3FM) to listen to the soundtrack as you watch the show. To get the best synchronisation of sound and fireworks, listen on a terrestrial radio tuner to avoid streaming delays.
  • The Sky Show 2019 soundtrack includes music from local artists Toni Huata, Rob Thorne, David Downes and WAI.
  • For event updates check Facebook.

While on the waterfront, check out the exciting Pop-up Village by Kumutoto. Designer container stalls packed with homewares, art, gifts, clothing and accessories.

The Winter Underground Market Pop-up Village runs throughout June and July (19th June - 23rd July 2019).