The origin of Guy Fawkes dates back to 1605 when a group of 12 men tried to blow up Britain’s House of Parliament. Guy Fawkes Night is an old English event celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and family gatherings.

When is Guy Fawkes in New Zealand?

Guy Fawkes in New Zealand is celebrated each year on 5 November.

Guy Fawkes Night is an old English event and traditionally held with bonfires, fireworks and family or community gatherings.

History Facts – Where did Guy Fawkes come from?

Fireworks in New Zealand-Guy Fawkes

The origin of Guy Fawkes dates back to 1605 when a group of 12 men tried to blow up Britain’s House of Parliament.

This event became known as the Gunpowder Plot, and included Mr. Guy Fawkes, who established his reputation as one of Britain’s most notorious traitors.

Under the rule of James 1st, English Catholics had been persecuted for many years. The 12 Gunpowder Plot conspirators believed that violent action was warranted to end this persecution. By blowing up the Houses of Parliament it was intended that they would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics.

To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder, and stored them in a cellar just under the House of Lords.

But as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts. One of the group members even sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament on November 5th.

The warning letter reached the King, and the King’s forces made plans to stop the conspirators. Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught and sent to trial. To show the public that treason would not be tolerated, the judge sentenced Fawkes to the most horrendous form of execution available: that of being hung, drawn and quartered.

To ensure that this message to the public was reinforced, it became the tradition for a sermon to be delivered in Parliament every year on the anniversary of this date.

This became known as the “Gunpowder Plot Sermon.” In addition, a poem or nursery rhyme was created to make sure that each new generation would remember the Gunpowder plot, and the nasty end that awaits traitors. This poem is sometimes called the “Please to Remember the Fifth of November” poem, or simply “Remember Remember the Fifth of November”.

Remember, remember the fifth of November

The gunpowder treason and plot

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes Guy, ’twas his intent

To blow up king and parliament

Three score barrels were laid below

To prove old England’s overthrow.

By God’s mercy he was catched

With a dark lantern and lighted match.

Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring

Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King.

How is Guy Fawkes Celebrated in New Zealand?

New Zealanders celebrate the annual festival in the same way as the English do, with bonfires and fireworks lit on the official November 5 night (the only difference being that it’s a lot warmer in New Zealand at this time of year!)

For kiwis, Guy Fawkes has become an occasion signalling the coming of summer and a chance for family and friends to get together and take in the excitement of spectacular fireworks. Unlike other festivals celebrated in New Zealand, Guy Fawkes does not include any special foods nor are gifts exchanged.

Guy Fawkes may be celebrated at home or at large public fireworks displays at schools, parks and stadiums. These public events enable people to see much more spectacular displays of fireworks, and also have a much higher level of safety than home-based celebrations.

Why are Fireworks and Bonfires Part of the Festival?

On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King.

Since then, the night has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and by burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

The effigies are made out of old clothes stuffed with scrunched-up paper to make them look like a man (i.e. Guy Fawkes). These “Guys” are then put on the fire and burned.

Important aspects of Guy Fawkes

The letting off of fireworks is becoming an increasingly controversial subject with many people calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks.

Each year that the night is celebrated the fire service is stretched to its limits dealing with fireworks related call-outs. In addition, Hospital Accident and Emergency departments have the dreadful task of treating burns, eye injuries and sometimes deaths caused by the misuse of fireworks and bonfires.

1. Safety Issues

The following are guidelines for the safe use of fireworks:

  • Choose a safe place to let off your fireworks. Check that there is plenty of open space well away from anything which could catch fire.
  • Make sure there is a good supply of water available.
  • Store and carry your fireworks carefully and safely. Keep them out of reach of young children. Keep them in a closed box or bag away from heat and flames and do not carry fireworks in your pockets.
  • Ensure that fireworks are lit by adults and not children.
  • Read the instructions carefully on your fireworks, preferably before Guy Fawkes night and read each one again before you light it (remember to use a torch for this purpose).
  • Stand your fireworks in dirt, sand or on a firm flat surface. Please remember that throwing fireworks can injure people and animals and damage property.
  • Light your fireworks at arm’s length and then stand well back. Keep well clear of fireworks which have been lit but have not gone off.
  • Keep animals away from fireworks.
  • Look after young children at all times.
  • Ensure that you are conversant with first aid for the treatment of burns and eye injuries.
  • Make sure you have access to a telephone for use in the event of an emergency.

2. Animal Welfare

The Royal New Zealand SPCA has issued a call for special care to be taken of animals on and around Guy Fawkes Night. The Society has also released a checklist aimed at reducing the harm and fright that animals suffer as a result of fireworks.

At the top of the SPCA’s list is a reminder that fire works should never be let-off close to or around animals.

The Society also recommends that at least one family member should stay home on Guy Fawkes Night to keep pets company and to comfort and reassure them.

Other recommendations for helping pets through Guy Fawkes Night are to drown out the noise of the fireworks with the sound of radios, televisions and stereo systems and to let animals hiding under chairs or in cupboards stay there. Attempts to coax them out will probably upset them further.

Other SPCA recommendations include advising neighbours in advance of a firework display by putting leaflets in letter boxes and, in the case of larger displays, notices in shop windows and local newspapers.

When can you buy fireworks?

Fireworks in New Zealand-Display events

So you’re planning your fireworks party: where and when can you buy your fireworks?

Fireworks go on sale to the public on November 2 and can only be sold between that date and November 5, the official Guy Fawkes night. After this date, fireworks sales are illegal.

Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under 18 years of age. Retailers caught flaunting the restrictions may be liable to a fine up to $500,000 and spend up to three months in jail.

There are strict laws regarding the types of fireworks which can be sold in this country. Every firework coming into New Zealand must be approved by the Chief Inspector of Explosives and Dangerous Goods prior to going on sale.

Retail outlets have strict rules governing the sale of fireworks to the public and they must be sold in approved packaging or under glass. The well-known skyrockets and firecrackers are no longer available, but there is still plenty to choose from.

Popular these days are boxed sets of fireworks available through approved retail outlets. These give the family a good variety of fireworks in a range of prices. There’s something for everyone – big and small kids alike – eh dad!

Most importantly, remember, NEVER use or alter fireworks in any way other than that indicated on the label. Not only is this extremely dangerous, it is against the law.

Fireworks fun throughout the Year

While there is a definite time frame within which to purchase your fireworks (November 2 – November 5), you may let your fireworks off anytime throughout the year. So you may wish to purchase your fireworks on or just before November 5 (take advantage of any discounts) and store it away for New Year’s Eve celebrations or a special event.

Some storage tips:

  • Ensure fireworks are kept away from any sources of heat or ignition.
  • Ensure fireworks are kept dry.
  • Store fireworks in their original packaging.
  • Do not store fireworks with any other flammable materials including petrol, oil or paint.
  • Keep them stored in a lockable container or cabinet.

Remember, fireworks will not, if stored correctly, spontaneously combust. They do not contain any chemicals which would do this.

Keep safe, keep secure and have some fireworks fun safely throughout the year.

Will Guy Fawkes be banned in New Zealand


Fireworks in New Zealand-banned

For many years animal right’s groups, the New Zealand Fire Service, and many other groups have warned that New Zealanders are just not responsible with fireworks.

Every year there are reports of fires, animal abuse and general noise and nuisance in suburban areas. Many of these groups are calling for an outright ban on Guy Fawkes and firework sales.

There is a very large group of people that don’t want to see Guy Fawkes banned, but do want to see the sale of fireworks banned to individuals.

These are people that would rather go and see a fireworks display at their local school, or sporting ground, or similar venue. And these events have gained in popularity over the years. Often combined with music and foodtrucks, fireworks events have grown to be significant events put on by local Councils.

And finally, there is a growing group of people that believe we shouldn’t celebrate Guy Fawkes at all. That it’s a ‘British thing’ and nothing to do with New Zealand. This group believes we should scrap Guy Fawkes, and possibly replace it with a fireworks event in mid-winter to celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year. However, that idea has now been challenged by some Iwi who believe that the noise and light from fireworks desecrate the night sky, and is not at all what Matariki is about.

Safety Tips from the NZ Fire Service and Police

The best way to stay safe this Guy Fawkes Night is to attend a public display.

  • If you’re lighting your own fireworks, think about your safety
  • Read and follow the instructions on fireworks before using them
  • Read them with a torch
  • Light in a wide open area away from anything that could catch fire
  • Fireworks and alcohol/drugs are a dangerous combination
  • Always let an adult light the fireworks
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose handy
  • Keep all unlit fireworks in their box or bag until you light them
  • Leave dud fireworks alone – trying to relight them is unsafe
  • Burns need water for 20 minutes

During the Guy Fawkes period in 2005, there were over 700 fires, dozens of injuries and many thousands of dollars worth of property destroyed. We can’t have a repeat of 2005.

Think about others:

  • Put away the fireworks after 10.30pm
  • Keep your pets inside on Guy Fawkes Night
  • Point fireworks to the stars, not at your mates
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Guy fawks should be band many folks and kids go hungry and can get fireworks blow it up in smoke not good for pets.waste of money

Jarrod Rendle

Thanks for your comment. I think a lot of people have similar thoughts about Guy Fawkes now. — Kiwi Families

Peter Mansell

Guy Fawkes Day should not be “celebrated” in modern day New Zealand . It is a hang over from colonial days gone bye. The intention of the plots was to over throw the government of the day who were practicing religious persecution against Catholics . These practices continued into the 19th & 20th centuries , with the British under taking a form of genocide of the Catholic Irish during the Potato Famine years almost 200 years after Gay Fawkes failed plot . The Northern Irish “troubles ” are a direct result of English attempts to deny religious freedom in the… Read more »


Agree with you all that these things should be banned apart from a council public display once a year. At the moment I have a two year old that won’t sleep and a dog cringing in the corner. Guy Fawkes night was last night but it’s even louder now. What amazes me is that I live in a high unemployment area yet there always seems to be money for drinking, gambling and the inevitable fireworks which goes on for months. Get real Government, set some bloody rules to be fair to the taxpayers and ratepayers of this country. Prior to… Read more »

John Berry

Fireworks are tons of fun and used responsibly are safe. Go looking for fireworks related deaths in New Zealand, I couldn’t find one, at least of a human.
And animal deaths are hardly at a rate that would merit banning them.
There will always be old catholic nannies trying to remove the fun family tradition.

If you are of such a disposition you can’t enjoy a few bangs then your nerves are shot and you probably need therapy.


Ban all public sales of fireworks now. Please.

John Berry

You increased fireworks sales and storage with that comment.

Jeff Phillips

I miss all the many fire crackers and sky rockets! We had lots and lots of fun back in the old days when there wer’nt as many stupid people around like these days! Thanks for helping keep New Zealand pure everyone else! This could be the last one!


Who is Zane Ward? He appears to have a vested interest in this absolutely nonsensical display of stupidity. Does any one really give a flying F for Mr. Fawkes or what he did or did not do? The only winners in this idiotic waste of money & resources are the commercial sector. Spare a thought for the losers; the injured & those whose property is damaged & the parents forking out for momentary wants rather than needs. Not forgetting the sleep disturbance! If this is culture a la NZ, along with the abuse of alcohol; then it is little wonder… Read more »

Peter Nia Hira

We’d all love to have a country style life,& Guy Fawkes night makes living in the city, take on a rural theme. When neighbours see my lil’ bon fire in the back garden its a nice change, to the constriction of city dwelling.


if fireworks are used correctly and people take precautions with domestic pets there shouldn’t be a problem. There are always idiots that ruin the fun for everybody else and cause the restrictions and tight rules to be put in place, if everyone just used them considerately and sensibly it would be fine


I would like to see sale of fireworks banned. Domestic pets and rural livestock and animals all suffer terribly. The risks from people (including children) using these irresponsibly still exist. And for people who have children who don’t sleep well – it’s a nightmare trying to get them to sleep through fireworks; for our family it is worse than thunder storms. If it was only one night a year that would be fine, but we have some neighbours who seem to stock pile, and keep going for several months. When you see the size of the boxes for sale at… Read more »

John Berry

I would like to see you banned. Fireworks are very enjoyable and safe when used properly. If you want dangerous things banned try dogs, Alcohol, driving and hospitals, more people die of infections they catch in hospital than from all forms of accident combined!


No need to resort to personal attack John.
I agree there are many dangers in our world, and I fully support changes to legislation around alcohol licensing, dog control as well.
I have to say that I don’t believe your comment about the incidence of death from infections derived from hospitals (I’m assuming you mean bacterial?) is greater in number than all forms of accidental death combined…to make a bold claim like that you should really provide the evidence source, or a link to it.

John Berry

It was a joke, obviously, but it was meant to indicate I very much disagree. Many points, one is that there aren’t public displays in many places including my town. Additionally many people have pointed out that these scare pets more, and of course other pets are not that bothered. Having had cats and dogs none were crazy about them, but none really bothered either. Annoyance wise it is only a few days a year, so 360 days of peace and quiet from fireworks pretty much. And those who are grumpy have lost the wonder and beauty and have become… Read more »

John Berry

Looking into it further, according to Wikipedia some 99,000 people die each year (in the US) from infections caught in hospitals, and according to some other stats Automotive and fall deaths contributed about 58,800 deaths a year. The full count seemed to include things I wouldn’t think of as accidents including accidental poisoning.

By that count infections, and diseases, and most things that aren’t murder and suicide are accidents. So I am going to take the meaning to be death by unintentional physical trauma.

Nigel Gray

The annual iatrogenic deaths in New Zealand for 1998 was somewhere around 8000. So we can assume that it has not changed much and is still about 8000 per year. Road deaths are around 300 per year. There is more chance of dying at the hands of a doctor in New Zealand than being killed on the road. Moreover, it is about even with the two leading causes (heart disease and cancer). Yet we still hold doctors on a pedestal and have ACC stealing out of our back pockets as we do so.

Harry May

I would like to see more people with your narrow minded views banned from even breeding! How many times to you celebrate your birthday a year? Once? How many times do you celebrate Christmas(if you do of course) a year? Once? So why not celebrate Guy Fawkes just ONCE a year? On the 5th of November instead of every other night from the 2nd of November until your stock pile runs out in March? Everyone can deal with it for one night but not every other night for months just because you think it is harmless fun. Narrow minded oxygen… Read more »

John Berry

Narrow minded, oh you are accusing me of something you are doing. Banning something because you are too old and dead inside to not appreciate it is narrow minded. Additionally how have you decided that I am letting fireworks of constantly throughout the year? I have only one year saved them and when I did let them off I informed neighbors and multiple families with children came out to watch. Additionally everyone saying ban them should be aware of something, you increase the spending people who appreciate fireworks do when you talk about banning them when they are on sale,… Read more »


I myself personally love fireworks, but I can see how one night would make all the people with children and animal issues cope a lot better. Personally myself I always let my neighbours know any fireworks plans I may have, as the owner of a horse I always move my horse out to a very rural area to graze for the week.I think there is risk involved no matter what precautions you take, and to be honest my horse freaks also in thunder storms and lightening which happen more times in a year than fireworks.What I feel is that all… Read more »


As for the children, remember the vast majority of children LOVE fireworks. It is infants that are woken by all manner of noises including knocks at the door I am sure is the biggest issue.
But I too have often found public displays to be fraught.
And indeed too far away.

Vince in oz

Vince in oz,
To the people of Nz, enjoy your Guy Fawles night & be responsible with fireworks. They are banned in Australia like everything else thats fun, which realy sucks. Dont let a few idiots spoil it for you!! Preserve the tradition for your kids & grandkids to enjoy cos once its banned it gone forever.


I wish they would ban fireworks in NZ except for official organized events only, particulary for charity events. Animals really suffer and also the danger for young children. It seems to be a major money making event with pop up shops advertising weeks before the event, especially here in Pakuranga, Howick


Totally agree!

John Berry

Totally disagree!

John Berry

Official events disturb animals worse, if there were no private fireworks there would need to be more public displays everywhere. Public displays are fun, but it doesn’t have the same feel. Few pets are really effected much, and they are effected by lawn mowers and traffic, loud music, rubbish trucks and other noises all year round. Young children generally get a sense of wonder, well the ones with a soul do 🙂 And sometimes things go wrong at public displays and people get injured. And people eat extra crappy artery clogging food… Or maybe they get mugged, robbed, raped, someone… Read more »


wev’e got very dry grass in our paddocks
so we never have partys


fair works should have a time frame for letting them off and then maybe also allow on new years eve, its unfear that it can be when ever through the year now as people cant protect their animals, we went out the other night not knowing some idiot was going to let crackers off and our poor dog hates them our back door is a mess from her wanting to get in. if there is certian days for people it makes it easy for people with pets.


oops fire works


that helped me for my speech read it Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, Guy Fawkes Halloween, well you get it, all these occasions are so cool but there is one that I don’t understand the question is why was it made and what does it mean well these questions are all about GUY FAWKES. Guy Fawkes Night is an old English event celebrated each year on the evening of November 5th with bonfires, fireworks and family gatherings. New Zealanders celebrate the annual festival in the same way as the English do, with bonfires and fireworks lit on the… Read more »


We are totally over Guy Fawkes this year. Guy Fawkes started in our neighbourhood 3 days before the sales and is still continuing on as we speak. We have a park behind our home, and between 7.00pm and anytime up until 3am in the morning we are being woken up with LOUD BOOMS!! With twin 5 year olds that have just started school, this has been a nightmare for them and for us! It is time that stricker rules and regulations came into play, as these people just don’t care about anyone but themselves and need to be stopped. If… Read more »

Claire Lambert

Interesting info as I didn’t realise you are allowed to let fireworks off legally anytime of the year. Our area does seem to go for ages and it is a bit of a nuisance but now I know I can’t officially complain about it.


If fireworks were only let off one night of the year, November 5th, I’d be fine with it, but sadly they’re not, as for some years now there are those out there who seem to be inconsiderate and oblivious to those around them. For several days before, and then for weeks, sometimes months after November 5th, night after night we are subjected to the crackle and bang of fireworks late in to the evening, sometimes in to the early morning. I don’t think the celebration of Guy Fawkes should be stopped, but rather organised public displays provided and the sale… Read more »


Unfortunately, this article fails to recognise rural animals, horses and livestock. Each year there are deaths of livestock, particularly in lifestyle block areas where non-rural folk decide that they can let off fireworks without having the courtesy to tell the neighbours, and horses in particular (but other valuable stock also) run through fences or are injured (and die) in other ways. There is also a problem, since the new legislation with the increasing number of ‘approved handlers’. Pyrotechnics companies, approved handlers have access to fireworks all year around, give away their product for free all year around (and encourage their… Read more »


Following a high number of incidents involving fireworks that occurred
before 2006, the government introduced a number of new regulations,
including raising the minimum age for purchasing fireworks to 18 years
and restricting the sale period to four days from 2 November to 5

Rochelle Gribble

Thanks – we’ve updated that.


About “have some fun safely throughout the year”. My family lives in a beachside area. We are regularly subjected to the inconsiderate use of fireworks at any time. Like last night from about 10.30 to midnight. My family don’t like fireworks anymore.


Fireworks are not legally allowed to be let off between 11pm and 7am unless on new years.


Do we allow to play fireworks in the park or public area ????

Johannes Adams-mulders



Actually, not usually. There are public nuisance and other bylaws that cover fireworks in public places, and generally they are not allowed.

Sam Buchanan

Fireworks can now only be sold from November 2nd. It’s a bit of an exaggeration to say the fire service is ‘stretched to the limit every year’ – our local brigade didn’t get a single call out this year. You’d also have to go a long way back to find a fireworks-related death or serious injury.


lucky you, ours got several including house fires. We even had a small fire on our shed roof thanks to our moron neighbours. Your area obviously has a higher IQ than here.


Fireworks cannot be let off un fire ban areas. Its up to individuals to check this, especially over the NZ summer.


follow the rules and safety instructions you should have no problems


Please help me ban fireworks????!!!!!!!

james chode

no, fuck off, cunt


nathan you did it twice…


Thank you for the info it was useful


i agree: )


thaxd cv


Thank you for the info it was useful

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