Concern after Napier Christmas event fireworks show sends birds scrambling onto busy road

Napier City Council (NCC) is working with the organisers of a Christmas event held over the weekend after video emerged of birds running into traffic after being spooked by a fireworks show.

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Bird rescue charity founder Liv Flynn says the event at Anderson Park did not take the resident birds into account. Source: Supplied

Hawke's Bay Bird and Wildlife Rescue founder Liv Flynn attended Christmas at the Park at Anderson Park on Saturday, and said once the fireworks started going off about 9.35pm, the parks' resident birds began to panic.

Anderson Park features two large ponds and is described by NCC as being a "sanctuary" to ducks, geese, swans, shags and occasionally other migratory birds.

Despite the wildlife there, a spokesperson for NCC said a pyrotechnic plan for the fireworks display had been received and signed off this year, as it has been for many years previously.

Ms Flynn posted video online of groups of birds walking onto a busy road while fireworks can be heard exploding in the background.

Several of the birds were narrowly missed by vehicles and Ms Flynn said ducks and ducklings were trying to take cover beneath moving vehicles.

"When all the music and all that was going on and people were having a lovely time, I didn't see massive panic," Ms Flynn said.

"It was just when those fireworks went off, it all went down - the sonic booms, the sound wave, is enough to actually rupture their ear drums - it's like a warzone for them.

"The more the bangs went off - they were just everywhere, there was just so much fright and panic in these birds - it was just sheer terror.

"They were running away from it and next minute they were all over the roads."

Ms Flynn said she had raised concerns with the organisers and suggested alternative attractions like laser light shows, or locations like nearby Park Island, could be considered in future.

"We don't want to ruin it for the public," Ms Flynn said, "but people just don't realise".

A NCC spokesperson confirmed the council is now talking with the organiser about how the animals at Anderson Park can be better taken into account in future event planning.

"It is never nice to see animals in distress or being hurt or killed in this way, so NCC will be working with the event manager to try to ensure this doesn't occur again," the spokesperson said.

The event was organised by the Kaisen Trust, and spokesperson David Trim said fireworks had been a part of the event for 20 years, and this was the first time any concerns had been raised.

"No complaints or issues have ever been raised before, either by council, public, SPCA or wildlife organisations," Mr Trim said.

"This is a new concern that we are hearing for the first time and we will work with the wildlife team to find a solution," Mr Trim said.

Mr Trim said the trust, along with event sponsors Cox Partners, had this year created a pet owner database which could be used to notify people about upcoming firework events, which was based on "feedback we received from past events".

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