MP Shane Jones has celebrated his 60th birthday with a cacophonous fireworks display – but for some living near his Far North home, the Saturday night stunt was no party.
The colourful NZ First MP hosted about 130 guests – among them former MPs Clayton Cosgrove and Dover Samuels, former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, and transport company boss Stan Semenoff - at his birthday bash in rural Waimate North Rd, near Kerikeri.
Later in the night, residents in the area reported hearing a series of loud booms from an explosive fireworks display which Jones joked had parallels to his colourful political career.
One told the Herald he'd just put his children to bed when the commotion began.
"I was playing a computer game at the time and it was hard to distinguish between the bombardment on the screen and what was happening outside," he said.
"Dogs set off howling around the neighbourhood. It would have shaken those living close by – even where we are, over a kilometre away, you could feel the blast. They were very solid, explosive bangs. These weren't your normal shop-bought fireworks."
Others took to a local community board on Facebook to find out where the racket had come from – one likening the din to that of petrol bombs going off.
Another said: "Apparently when you are a politician you don't need such things as common [courtesy] to let your neighbours and community know you are letting off fireworks."
The resident, who has horses, cows and a dog, said she'd be addressing her complaint in person.
When approached by the Herald today, Jones was light-hearted about the episode – if not characteristically lyrical.
"Late in the evening on my 60th birthday, thunder crashed and lightning flashed," the Regional Economic Development Minister said.
"It was a great party, with copious quantities of seafood, heaps of grog, a great band… and the pyrotechnic variant of my political career – a fireworks display."
His closest neighbours – who were offered a "handsome bounty" of fish – dashed out on to the deck to watch the spectacle, he said, and as far he knew no one had come forward to report a complaint.
Jones confirmed the display - which happened to come as many council leaders have been calling for a ban on private fireworks sales - was professionally organised.
"It was some bloke who does it for a living. My wife wouldn't trust me to light them myself. It had colour and noise, which is generally what you would think of with Matua Shane Jones."
He was also unaware of any local horses or livestock being disturbed.
"I grew up on a farm, and every year, my father would put on an impressive fireworks hui for the whanau – the cows, the dogs, the cats and the working horses never disappeared," he said.
"I've lived here for several years, and the only thing I've ever seen coming on to my lawn is rabbits and vermin."