Fireworks, Christmas crackers and party poppers are explosives. Keep safe while you are having fun.
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In New Zealand you can buy fireworks between 2 and 5 November and only if you are 18 years old or over. Sparklers can only be bought if they are packaged up with other fireworks.
The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to leave it to the professionals. Most places around New Zealand hold public fireworks displays for Guy Fawkes and other events such as Matariki, Diwali or New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Take care when using fireworks
Protect yourself and others when you have fireworks at home.
- Read the label.
- Read the instructions with a torch – not with a lighter or other flame.
- Wait for a calm evening – lighting fireworks in the wind can be dangerous.
- Light fireworks in an open area away from people, pets, buildings, trees and livestock.
- Keep a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher handy.
- Only have adults light fireworks, and light fireworks one at a time.
- Keep fireworks in the bag or box they came in, and keep well away from where they are being lit.
- Leave dud fireworks alone – trying to relight them can be dangerous. Be careful when throwing them away.
- Stay sober. Fireworks and alcohol or drugs don’t mix.
- Keep pets inside.
- Be considerate of your neighbours.
Your local council may also have rules for fireworks, such as whether you can let fireworks off in a public place. Contact them for more information.
It’s best not to store fireworks
It’s hard to know if they will be safe to use at a later date.
If you do choose to keep fireworks, store them carefully. They are explosives.
- Store high up in a locked cupboard or cabinet and somewhere very dry.
- Keep them in their original packaging. The packaging is fire-resistant and has safety information on the label.
- Keep away from flammable substances like petrol, oil, or turpentine.
- Keep well away from flames or heat sources.
Getting rid of fireworks
Make sure all fireworks are disposed of safely, including any fireworks that are old, have been used and any that didn’t go off.
- Put fireworks in a large bucket of water overnight and make sure they are soaked right through before you remove them.
- Wrap up securely and put into your household rubbish, or take it to your local landfill.
- Never put fireworks into the sea, rivers or streams.
Christmas crackers and party poppers
Christmas crackers and party poppers are a lot of fun but use them with care. They are explosives. Always follow the instructions – they may not seem as dangerous as fireworks, but can still backfire.
Buying and selling Christmas crackers and party poppers
Christmas crackers and party poppers imported into New Zealand should follow the rules that we, the EPA, set.
If you are buying Christmas crackers or party poppers directly from overseas and want to sell them, you may need to get a fireworks certificate from an approved fireworks certifier. You don’t need a fireworks certificate if they are for personal use.