Horse owners in rural Waitoki northwest of Auckland have asked local vets to go on standby because of potential injuries from a private fireworks display planned for tomorrow night.

They say they will send the vets' bills to opinion writer Damien Grant, who plans the fireworks on his lifestyle property for his son's 5th birthday.

But Grant is unmoved by a social media storm over the party sparked by a Facebook post from the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Society, which delivered a wild horse to Waitoki horse owner Rebekah Liebezeit on Monday.

"At this point there isn't a person in the North Island who doesn't know that the fireworks is happening, so people have had adequate time to move their horses or their hedgehogs and pet rabbits or whoever else is going to be affected," he said.


The insolvency professional and newspaper columnist, known for his libertarian views, said he was disappointed that the fireworks, which he has staged every year for his son's birthday, had become a political issue for this year's 100 guests.

"It's almost as if coming to my party now is making a political statement," he said.

"I have no idea how many will come, but if there's only myself, my wife and my 5-year-old I'm still letting off the fireworks."

Damien Grant, principal of Waterstone Insolvency, is going ahead with a fireworks display for his son despite neighbours' fears. File photo
Damien Grant, principal of Waterstone Insolvency, is going ahead with a fireworks display for his son despite neighbours' fears. File photo

Neighbour Anna Paratene, who lives about 50m from Grant, said she had arranged to take her three horses to a farm 20km away for the night, but she was worried that one of them, a 35-year-old, would suffer in the journeys there and back.

"It's full of arthritis and last year I nearly lost it when I moved it because they are not stable on their feet when you go to move them," she said.

"I have to take the risk of him falling over, and I will charge Damien with all the vet bills."

She said it was not practical to move 200 cows off her property, although she will put them in a paddock furthest from the fireworks.

"Last year we had paddocks eradicated by the cows, we had cows break the fence and get out on the road," she said.

"One cow fell down a bank and broke its leg and had to be euthanised."

Liebezeit, who is 7km away from Grant's property, said she would have made other arrangements for her wild Kaimanawa horse Aiyana if she had known about the fireworks.

She accepted the horse under an agreement by Kaimanawa Heritage Horses to find safe places for wild horses that would otherwise be killed under a Conservation Department policy of keeping the wild population to 300 to protect the ecosystem in the Kaimanawa Ranges southeast of Taupō.

"I've had horses all my life and I've always had huge problems with November and Guy Fawkes and the fireworks season," she said.

"I've had multiple horses go through fences and injuries sustained from it - and they are domestic horses, so you can only imagine what a wild horse is going to do."

She has asked her vet at Dairy Flat to be on standby tomorrow night in case Aiyana is injured.

"She could go through a fence," she said. "She's in a cattle yard with a high fence, but in a state of panic, nothing will stop them."

An Auckland Council spokeswoman said public fireworks displays needed permits but fireworks on residential property were not controlled by the council.

"There may be provisions relating to noise under the Auckland Unitary Plan or the Resource Management Act, however this would be dependent on factors such as the level of noise, time and duration of the display," she said.

"If a person is concerned about the level of noise, they should phone the council on (09) 301 0101.

"We would advise anyone concerned about fireworks displays on nearby properties to speak to their neighbours in the first instance. We recommend finding out the time and duration of the fireworks, and keeping pets inside during this time."