Matariki fireworks all-go for tonight with no sightings of Wellington's whale

With no further sightings of the southern right back whale in Wellington Harbour, the council has decided to proceed with the Matariki Fireworks display this weekend. 

Weather and whale permitting, the display will go ahead tonight at 6:30pm and will last 10 minutes.

The huge marine mammal has been in the harbour for a few days, and today it was especially active. Source: 1 NEWS

The sky show was previously delayed as there were concerns for the whale, which had been seen frolicking in Wellington's harbour for about two weeks.

While Department of Conservation (DOC) were confident that the fireworks themselves wouldn't harm the whale, safety concerns were raised around the proximity of fireworks-watching boats to the visitor in the harbour. 

“Our latest information is that the southern right whale has been outside the harbour, on the south coast near Lyall Bay for the past three days, moving slowly west," said DOC.

If the whale returns, although it's believed unlikely, DOC have advised the Wellington City Council to consider postponing the fireworks again. 

The rare sighting came a little too close for comfort when the whale breached and landed near the researchers’ boat. Source: 1 NEWS

“If the whale does return, and the fireworks go ahead, DOC supports extending exclusion zones in the inner harbour to mitigate the risks to boats and to the whale should vessels get too close.”

The whale recieved national attention and even got social, starting a Facebook page called "Matariki the Wellington Whale." 

The Facebook page received over 11 thousand followers, who posted pictures and videos of the whale daily. 

But on Wednesday, Mataraki bid farewell to his admiriers and left the harbour.

"Wellington, you sure have been and amazing place to be. But for now, I must say goodbye. Thank you for having me!"

An image of the Wellington southern right whale, captured off the southern coast at 8am on July 11.
An image of the Wellington southern right whale, captured off the southern coast at 8am on July 11. Source: Victor Huang -