If the whale’s gone, the fireworks are on

12 July 2018

A sighting of a southern right whale/tohorā in the Moa Point area yesterday morning – and no sightings for at least two days of a whale in Wellington Harbour – raises the prospect that Wellington’s first Matariki fireworks display will go ahead this weekend.

Matariki fireworks.

The Sky Show display was postponed last weekend after widespread public concerns about the effect the display could have on the whale that had taken up residence in the harbour for several days.

The Department of Conservation advised the fireworks themselves were unlikely to harm the whale but there were safety risks if the whale was in the proximity of fireworks-watching boats on the harbour.

Wellington’s Acting Mayor, Simon Marsh, says if the harbour is whale-free on Saturday 14 July, and the weather is good, then it’ll be showtime.

“We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled over the next few days. The fact a whale was seen outside the harbour entrance raises the possibility that ‘our’ whale has finally tired of the bright lights and the big city.

“However if it decides to come back for more at the weekend, we’ll postpone the Sky Show to a future date. Wellingtonians made it plain to us that a whale in the harbour is a thing to be cherished far more than a fireworks display.” 

Wayne Mulligan, Chair of Taranaki Whanui ki ke Upoko o te Ika, endorses the Council’s stance on the whale and the fireworks. “The visit by the whale was a fantastic event for Wellington, and this made Matariki even more special.  In the event the whale is not in the harbour this weekend, then let this fireworks Sky Show be a wonderful conclusion to our region’s Matariki for all Wellingtonians – kia tuu tahi tatou”. 

Weather and whale permitting, the Sky Show will start at 6.30pm on Saturday and run for 10 minutes.