News | 6 July 2018

Matariki fireworks postponed till next weekend after whale advice

The Matariki Sky Show is to be postponed till next weekend – either Saturday 14 July or Sunday 15 July – primarily due to the presence of the southern right whale in Wellington Harbour.

Fireworks over 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.”