INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ's Largest Fireworks Display holds Challenge

Published: Wed 15 Dec 1999 06:00 PM
From Amex Cup Village
NZ's Largest Fireworks Display holds plenty of Challenge
On New Years Eve, Dr Martin Van Tiel is responsible for turning ten tonnes of explosives into the largest fireworks show that NZ has ever seen. The Hamilton doctor of chemistry will bring together nine months of planing to create the Fire in the Sky 2000 show over Auckland city.
The massive pyrotechnic display is part of the millennium celebrations hosted by the AMEX Cup Village, Sky City, Auckland City and North Shore City.
The hard work and planning are certain to create a spectacular display, but Dr van Tiel has also dedicated much time to the various safety issues associated with a show of this size. Van Tiel's expert team are in charge of over 5000 explosive shells, the largest of which weighs close to 70 kg.
While there is obviously a danger element involved with such an operation, Van Tiel says that the comprehensive planning, and the experience of his crew make the risk-factor manageable. "With all the preparation that has taken place, the project is actually safer than driving your car" Van Tiel says.
The Van Tiel team will face other logistical challenges, as some of the firing sites are far from easy to access. Fireworks will be launched from the harbour bridge, the Sky Tower, and other tall buildings in the city. They will also be fired from three barges in the harbour, including from behind Rangitoto Island.
The production team have been working closely with different authorities such as the fire service, police, and the Labour Department to ensure that all the firing sites meet safety requirements.
Safety zones have been established around each firing site, which will be patrolled by the police, - and the public are asked to respect these areas. The harbour bridge will be closed to traffic between 11.55pm and 12.15am.

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