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Iconic fireworks display cancelled

Slashed council funding blows Lions budget

The Lions Club fireworks display at Solway Showgrounds is a community icon. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Masterton’s traditional fireworks display has been killed off this year because Masterton District Council slashed its funding to the Lions Club who run the event.

This is the first time in 20 years there will be no public fireworks display.

The cancellation was a direct result of the grant cut, according to Masterton Host Waipoua Lions Club president Gary Pickering.

“We cannot run this event at a loss and would’ve had to fundraise separately to cover costs,” he said. “We didn’t have time. If the weather is bad, we lose money at the gate. It was too risky.”

Long-time Lions Club event manager Derrick Field confirmed that the funding had been going up, so it was a shock to have it nearly halved.

“We applied for $5000 and were granted $3000 so the show cannot go ahead,” Field said.

“We are a service club, running at a loss is not possible.”

The club deliberated and chose not to raise the gate fee.

“We are all disappointed, it is a huge family day and a safe way to celebrate a traditional event and enjoy fireworks.”

The event has had live bands, sideshows and stalls, with the fireworks display sparking up once it turned dark.

The Lions usually charge $5 for adults, $2 for children, and under 5s are free.

It was formerly at Henley Lake but had been at Solway Showgrounds for the past 14 years.

“We are very grateful for the free advertising received, to truckies, and other providers for their support over the years.” Field said. “We will look at next year to see where else we can get a grant.”

The display had originally been put on by the Masterton Borough Council with the Lions Club taking over 20 years ago.

District archivist, Gareth Winter said back in the 1960s, boroughs had their own displays.

Lansdowne Progressive Association ran a display at Burling Park in the 1960s. There was also a display at Queen Elizabeth Park.

Masterton District Council staff were unavailable to comment.




  1. Absolute rubbish. Ban fireworks, go to public displays, come on council, given this covers the entire wairarapa shouldn’t other councils contribute to. Sick of mdc, let get rid if anything for families,they would rather put their focus on bringing more people to masterton but what for

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