Matariki to become Wellington's main Fireworks display event

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

Wellington's mayor is pulling the plug on the city's 22-year-old Guy Fawkes festival in favour of the Māori New Year festival, Matariki.

Guy Fawkes brings together the masses to watch spectacular fireworks displays and celebrate.

But do we know what we're really celebrating?

I asked a few people walking through Lampton Quay and the response was “Someone in Britain wanted to blow up their government?! We're totally not down with that.”

While other said “It’s kind of an old tradition. Matariki is probably a bit more appropriate for New Zealand.”

A man from England who is here visiting asked: “Why are you celebrating someone’s unsuccessful attempt to modify Parliament when you've got something like the Maori New year to celebrate?”

The people that we interviewed on Lampton Quay seemed all for moving the fireworks display to Matariki and so does Ex-Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle and Wellington City Council.

Ex-Deputy Mayor of Wellington Paul Eagle says “What they mayor has done is said hey let’s have a conversation about Matariki and Guy Fawkes and so people have jumped very quickly to the fireworks aspect of it, is it going to be on November the 5th of will it be when Matariki is, they could be at both events. But the key part of this conversation isn't really about fireworks its more hey, let’s celebrate something indigenous to New Zealand.”

Earlier this year, the council committed $500,000 in its annual plan budget to making Wellington New Zealand's capital of culture, with half of that money going to the city's Matariki celebrations in 2018.

Eagle says “We are the capital of culture and part of that money is to make sure that we support and we promote more of our indigenous events like Matariki.”

Guy Fawkes will go ahead this year as usual but will be moved to Matariki next year.