Part of the opening party for the Rugby World Cup, the fireworks – all 3.5 tonnes of them – were made in a shed in Taupiri by pyrotechnics master Martin van Tiel and his team.
Dr van Tiel told Waikato Times reporter Matt Bowen it took four months of “hard slog” to assemble the fiery treats which are to last around 12 minutes and include shimmering kowhai flowers, nikau palms, giant kiwis and silver ferns – a “mix of traditional and contemporary New Zealand culture with a shot of international flavour.”
A few years ago Dr van Tiel told N8N’s Annette Taylor it took more than 30 people six months to prepare the 5000 fireworks to celebrate in the new millennium.
That event also lasted just 12 minutes, and was seen by millions. Some of those fireworks were the largest ever fired in New Zealand at the time, weighing in at 60 kilos, and 24 inches in diameter.
And Dr van Tiel didn’t get to see one single starburst – by the time he pressed the button, perched up high on Auckland’s ASB building, the cloud had descended around him and the rain was constant.
“Luckily there were TV crews covering the event, otherwise it would have been a bit sad…”
Let’s hope he gets a good view tomorrow.
It’s dirty work but someone’s got to do it…
Martin heads Van Tiel Pyrotechnics, and spends his weekends blowing things up and setting off fireworks. He has worked on film and TV sets, (Xena and Hercules), and makes things explode at rock concerts and similar events.
It’s not all glamour and fun he warned.
“For a start, it can be really, really seriously dirty making fireworks. Secondly, it can be very tiring lugging the heavy fireworks around; on and off barges, carrying them to the roofs of buildings, often up many flights of steps…”
Then of course, once they’ve been set off, there’s still more to be done.
Immediately following the Rugby World Cup every thing has to be dismantled and taken back to the shed in Taupiri.