Fireworks, crackers and poppers

Fireworks, Christmas crackers and party poppers all contain hazardous substances. We have advice to keep you safe while having fun.

If someone is seriously injured while using fireworks call 111 immediately.

Buying fireworks

In New Zealand fireworks are only for sale during the four day period between 2 and 5 November. They can only be bought by people aged 18 years and over. Sparklers can only be bought with other fireworks in retail fireworks packages.

Fireworks safety tips

The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to leave it to the professionals. Most towns and cities hold public fireworks displays for Guy Fawkes and other events. There are a number of rules in place to make sure these events are safe for the public so you can go to one of these to enjoy fireworks safely.

If you decide to have fireworks at home, you can protect yourself and others by following some simple tips. We suggest:

  • reading and following the instructions on the fireworks' packaging. Remember to read the instructions with a torch – not a lighter or other flame.
  • waiting until a calm evening – lighting fireworks in the wind can be dangerous.
  • lighting fireworks in an open area away from people, pets, buildings, trees and livestock.
  • keeping a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher handy.
  • only having adults light fireworks one at a time. Keep unlit fireworks in the bag or box they were bought in until you are ready to light them, and keep them well away from where they are being lit.
  • leaving dud fireworks alone – trying to relight them can be dangerous.
  • staying sober. Fireworks and alcohol or drugs are a dangerous mix.
  • keeping pets inside.
  • being considerate of your neighbours.

Your local council may also have rules specific to your area, such as whether you can let fireworks off in a public place. Contact them for more information.

First aid

If someone is burnt treat the burn in cold water for 20 minutes. If the burn is serious, dial 111 for an ambulance.

Storing fireworks

The best way to store fireworks? Don’t.

Fireworks are explosives so need to be stored carefully. It’s hard to know if stored fireworks will still be safe to use at a later date. If you do choose to store fireworks we suggest keeping them:   

  • locked away where kids or pets can’t access them.
  • in their original packaging. Fireworks must be sold in fire resistant packaging.
  • away from flammable substances like petrol, oil, or turpentine.
  • well away from flames or heat sources.
  • somewhere very dry.

Christmas crackers and party poppers

Christmas crackers and party poppers are a lot of fun but are, in fact, hazardous substances. The "bang" you hear is actually an explosion.

We make sure every shipment of crackers and poppers that comes into New Zealand follows the rules and is therefore safe to use. Those that don't follow the rules can't be brought in.

If you are thinking about buying Christmas crackers and party poppers in New Zealand, either from a shop or over the internet, make sure that the instructions are in English. If you are buying Christmas crackers and party poppers from overseas over the internet, you will be considered to be importing them and will have to apply for a certificate.

Always use them as directed – they may not seem as dangerous as fireworks, but they still could backfire!