Tauranga's fireworks display, an annual family favourite marking the opening of speedway season, has been cancelled for fear it could startle oil-affected wildlife recovering next to the venue.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby and Baypark Speedway general manager Erwin McSweeney decided to pull the plug on the Saturday night event after discussions with Maritime New Zealand and experts at the wildlife centre, only a few hundred metres from the Mt Maunganui speedway.
Promoters tried to find a compromise by reducing the noise of the fireworks or moving them. But Mr Crosby said risking the efforts of wildlife experts would be "worse than foolish".
"Especially since we know how fragile the current environment is for the 60 rescued dotterels and the 340 penguins who've been saved so far."
Mr Crosby said the display made the weekend the best of the season, with a lot of local economic benefit.
But a new fireworks event would be developed - perhaps to celebrate when the wildlife was set free.
The mayor said his city was battling a misconception that Tauranga and Mt Maunganui were "closed" because of the disaster.
"The city's well prepared for the summer influx and we'll work around whatever Rena throws at us to keep... open for business."By Jamie Morton @Jamienzherald Email Jamie