As Guy Fawkes night approaches, debate has again flared up over the use of fireworks around pets and livestock.

Maraekakaho resident, Duncan Kinnear, is frustrated he has no recourse to prevent a private fireworks display going ahead on a neighbouring property, amid fears about the impact on his horses.

However, the organiser, Sam Deller, said the event was a private one, being held for family and involved commercial fireworks, for which a stringent set of rules had to be complied with.

"It's very comprehensive and all the boxes have been ticked."


Mr Kinnear owns four retired racehorses, and there were other horses within 300m of the site where a private function, involving commercial fireworks, would be held on November 5.

"I acknowledge that the person holding this display has done all the right things in preparing for the event in terms of what the authorities require.

"We are now tossing up whether it's more stressful on the horses to find somewhere unfamiliar to move them to, or to leave them here in the surroundings.

"The cost of trucking them away on the Sunday and bringing them back on Monday could be over $300."

He said he had approached the Hastings District Council who said they had no jurisdiction over the activities because it was a private event, and the rural fire service had said their involvement only took into account any potential fire issues.

"What we are really concerned about is that no authority seems to be taking responsibility for the effect these fireworks have on the livestock in these situations.

"Ultimately keeping horses is a valid rural activity, commercial fireworks displays are not."

Mr Deller said the gathering was being held on Guy Fawkes night to coincide with other such activities that would be happening, and which people were prepared for.

As a courtesy he had informed his neighbours the event would be happening.

A Hastings District Council spokesperson confirmed the council had no jurisdiction over private firework displays, that it was the fire service that handled applications for letting off fireworks.

The Fire and Emergency NZ website had rules around firework displays in rural areas, including permits being required when commercial fireworks were being used, but no regulations in regards to animals, other than for people to take care.

The issue was not a new one for Leg-Up Trust founder Ros Rowe who was opposed to fireworks, having seen animals with "dreadful" injuries.

She said the organisation had more than 20 therapy horses and every year at Guy Fawkes she was up all night sitting with them.

"It's dangerous to go in a paddock if they start running around, but I stay there in case of trouble and they take some comfort from my being there.

"It's a very thorny problem. Some people love to have fireworks but there's a lot of people with other domestic pets who find it an issue.

"It's important that those letting off fireworks do it responsibly."

The Napier branch of Riding for the Disabled was situated not far away from Meeanee Speedway where a fireworks display was held for Guy Fawkes.

RDA manager Dionne Best said a good arrangement had been reached with the organisers, who helped finance the cost of moving the organisation's 11 horses away from the vicinity for the night.

"It can be disastrous - horses can be spooked and go through fences and be injured, to the point where the horse's life has to be ended."

This year a petition to ban fireworks in rural areas had attracted hundreds of signatures in Hawke's Bay and thousands nationwide.

Nationally the SPCA and the NZ Veterinary Association supported a ban on the private use of fireworks, and reiterated that call this week.

NZ Veterinary Association chief veterinary officer Helen Beattie said a ban would improve the welfare of animals.

"While we understand that many people enjoy fireworks displays, it is the role of veterinarians to advocate for what is right and good for animals in New Zealand. Animal welfare must always come first, and in this instance, despite human enjoyment, fireworks do not bring a welfare benefit to animals."

Dr Beattie said that every year veterinary clinics saw injured and traumatised animals as a result of fireworks, and the issue was not just limited to Guy Fawkes night because people bought and stored fireworks for use at other times.

The association encouraged people to consider the impact that purchasing fireworks for private use could have on pets and stock near their properties and choose to view a public fireworks display instead.