Disappointed people have vented their frustration after the fireworks display they were expecting on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour turned out to be more of a flame show with giant sparklers.

Viaduct Harbour Holdings' chief executive Angela Bull said there would be a "fireworks and lighting display" to celebrate Team New Zealand's win in the America's Cup, and an Auckland Council events page mentioned a "public fireworks display".

But those who expected skyrockets were disappointed. The show was mostly flames - the sort seen at Eden Park during a rugby match - and ended in an explosion of ticker tape.

The event was put on by Viaduct Harbour Holdings as a goodwill gesture.

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A Viaduct Harbour spokeswoman said there was a "large crowd of Team NZ supporters in attendance tonight, celebrating winning the America's Cup with a lighting and special effects display designed by Angus Muir".

"Viaduct Harbour is very proud to celebrate the team's success on the day we won the America's Cup."

She said they had had "great feedback" from the crowd that had gathered to celebrate at the Viaduct.

To put on a full-on fireworks display the company would have to get council consent and stage the show on a boat hundreds of metres offshore.

Jenn McKenzie said: "Where are the fireworks? Freezing and nothing. What a disappointment."

Pauline Spence said she felt bad for the children who were expecting a spectacular display.

"As adults we were disappointed. I can't imagine how those families with rugged-up kids felt.

"To quote a young boy who passed us 'This is officially the worst day of my life'."

Yasar Saeed was looking forward to watching his first fireworks display in Aucklad after recently moving to the city.

"When it turned out like this - I told my wife and kids, this most probably was [the] first and last fireworks in Auckland for us. Not going to waste three hours of my life again."

Catherine Woodley said the display was an "absolute shocker".

"[I] was there tonight with hundreds of other people. As one guy yelled in the crowd in frustration 'We've got four more years get it right'.

She said it was "embarrassing for the city".

Ashton Ewing went to the Michael Joseph Savage memorial park to watch the display.

"Gutted is an understatement.

"Massive hype for nothing and four very freezing cold [and] upset kids."

Melody Chacon-Colbran said her daughter was excited to see the fireworks but was now feeling let down.

"She's only 4 and even she said 'those aren't fireworks'."

Donna Fuller said the fireworks were a "massive failure".

"There were many people with kids right on dinner time and nothing."

Hundreds of people, including children, had lined up at Stanley Pt on the North Shore in the hopes of catching the action. They were left thinking something had gone wrong after no fireworks were visible across the harbour.