The fireworks display on the waterfront will take place Saturday night if the southern right whale has departed Wellington Harbour.
The ten-minute Sky Show spectacular, planned to mark the end of the city’s Matariki celebrations, was postponed last weekend because of the visit by the southern right whale.
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.
In any case, gale-force winds and rain over the weekend would have also seen the event postponed.
But with fine weather and declining northerlies forecast for tomorrow, the rescheduled event this Saturday 14 July, looks likely to go ahead, depending on whether the whale has left the harbour.
It has been seen this week off Moa Point.
Wellington’s Acting Mayor, Simon Marsh, says if the harbour is whale-free on Saturday, then it’ll be showtime.
“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”.
If the show does go ahead tomorrow, the start time of 6.30pm will mean more families will be able to enjoy the largest annual council-produced fireworks display in the country than was possible for previous November events.
“New effects reflecting the Matariki theme will be revealed on Saturday,” said Pyrostar International owner Robert McDermott, who has been the artistic director behind the Wellington Sky Show fireworks since 1995.
“There’ll be seven firing patterns to represent the Matariki constellation, and beautiful shell-patterned effects featuring seven point stars. There’ll also be a new launch spot closer to Frank Kitt’s Park that will feature the Matariki star.”
People travelling into Wellington for the event are advised to use public transport, with Metlink advising extra services for Saturday evening. There will be additional seating on the Kapiti, Johnsonville and Hutt Valley lines before the event, and additional services on those lines afterwards.
Metlink are attempting to source additional Wellington and Mana bus services for Saturday.
Route 14 bus services will be diverted on Saturday 7 July between 3:00pm and 7.30pm.
Access will be restricted along Oriental Parade and through Roseneath, so buses will not be able to travel on Oriental Parade and Evans Bay Parade between Cable Street and Cobham Drive.
The route 14 bus will be diverted outward through the Hataitai Bus Tunnel, on a loop around Hataitai Road and Waipapa Road and then through the village to Rongotai, returning by the same path.
Vehicle drivers are asked to avoid driving to the Mount Victoria Lookout or try parking on Palliser Road or The Crescent in Roseneath, unless you arrive very early.
Latecomers should expect congestion, traffic delays and frustration.
Shelley Bay Road is another premium vantage point, but get there early to secure a safe park.
Access will be restricted along Oriental Parade and through Roseneath, and parking options will be limited.
Thinking of grabbing a good spot on the Oriental Bay Band Rotunda viewing platform? Forget it. This will be closed between 5:00pm and 9:00pm.
However, the Wellington waterfront between Frank Kitts Park and Te Papa promenade will host around 20 food trucks operating from 3:00pm to 7:30pm, a NZ Chocolate Festival Pop-up in front of Te Papa, and the Paradice Ice Skating Rink running from 10:00am to 10:00pm at Odlins Plaza.
There’s more information, and advice of any schedule changes, on the Council’s Sky Show page.
The Wellington App can also advise of any event postponements – just register for our Push notifications.