November fireworks fizzing out?

Should Guy Fawkes and November fireworks be allowed to fizzle out?

There are growing numbers of complaints about fire risks and frightening pets, but late daylight makes this time of year impractical for kids. There’s a tendency to get impatient and start at dusk, too early for the best visual effects.

I don’t really care about it. I’ve heard a bit but haven’t seen a single thing this year – and have a five year old in the household. We largely ignored it all.

This is a huge contrast to my childhood, when we experimented with crackers, stuffed a Guy, built bonfires and stayed up late (with no daylight saving?)

NZ Herald editorial: Guy Fawkes Night – cracker or fizzer?

Fireworks, done well, are a treat for all the family. Fireworks done badly, as it will be done tonight, is a disappointment at best, a danger always, terrifying for pets and an annoyance to neighbours. Why do we continue with Guy Fawkes?

For the children, most people would say. Little children get a thrill when Dad lights their sparklers and lets off some rockets in the backyard. Remembering our own innocent pleasure we wonder whether we have the right as jaded adults to deny the experience to the next generation of little ones.

But the truth is, the kids will get far more enjoyment from a real fireworks display, lying on the ground with parents and a crowd around, watching explosions of colour overhead. The sequences are far longer and the variety so much better than anything that can comes in a bag from a store at this time of year.

So why do we persist with the backyard variety? Perhaps because the occasion hardly warrants a public effort.

Guy Fawkes marks a minor act of attempted terrorism long ago and far away. Nobody knows much about it and nobody cares. It’s an artefact of English heritage that would be no loss. It comes soon after Halloween which New Zealand children now mark in American style and have much more fun than a few firecrackers can give them.

How much better, for them and everyone who enjoys fireworks, if it marked an event with meaning in New Zealand. Matariki possibly, which occurs in winter when darkness comes early.

I think that November 5 will persist, albeit on a reducing scale.

It is already common now to have major fireworks displays at New Year.

It would be good to brighten up our winters with a bit of a show – why not Matariki?


Leave a comment


  1. alloytoo

     /  7th November 2016

    Being the Cheap Skate That I am, I took the 2 year old down to the beach to watch the fireworks on the opposite shore (Glenn Innes).

    Marveled at the thousands of dollars literally going up in smoke. (Though I have no doubt that just as much, if not more, was launched from my shore.)

  2. Pickled Possum

     /  7th November 2016

    Watching the family dog shake and whimper at each and every BOOM made me wish that celebrating a ‘orrible act of a far away land and time, was illegal in NZ.
    The hurt list for GF night is long children with burnt faces, adults with burnt hands, burnt trees, a house damaged, occupants with smoke inhalation
    Fire Service nation wide being called every 19 seconds.
    What a waste of our precious resources.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th November 2016

      I only heard one fire callout; we seem to have got off lightly this year, . One every 19 seconds is unacceptable.There was a house damaged in Hamilton a few years ago when a rocket was stuck between a roof and the roof underside. The woman who lived in it had the fright of her life when a group of boys who were passing ran in and hammered on doors and windows to tell her that her house was on fire; if they hadn’t been there, she could well have died, as she was asleep. I hoped that the publicity given to this incident would have increased pressure to stop sales of fireworks.

      My dog was all right this year, as apart from a few booms (which made him bark with rage and fear ) right at the beginning on Friday night, the fireworks around here didn’t make much noise. Maybe the wind was in the right direction, as I heard other dogs sounding very distressed and barking their heads off. Other years have been nightmares, as although he’s a Maltese terrier-one tends to forget that these are terriers-and not a cowardly dog usually, he hates loud fireworks and becomes a cotcase with rage and terror.

      Roll on public displays only !!!.


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