Tomorrow night's Matariki celebration in the capital has been postponed because of a whale that's frolicking in Wellington Harbour.

The city council was set to stage a fireworks display from the harbour but fearing for the health and safety of the mammal has meant that locals will have to wait for another date to enjoy the fireworks.

According to Morrie Love of Te Ātiawa, the southern right whale used to be a common sight in Wellington Harbour.

“From Māori times whales in this harbour were much more common, but of course were hunted from the mid-nineteenth century right through in fact until the 1960's.”

According to Love, the elders of the area agree that it makes sense to wait until the southern right whale to leave.

“In many ways, our people think to postpone it, allow the whale to do what it wants to do in our takiwā and then move on.”

Love also says perhaps the southern right whale is a good omen.

“Having a southern right whale in the harbour at Matariki Puanga, I think is a little tohu to us that maybe things are looking up.”

The fireworks display is now scheduled to take place next weekend.