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Retail fireworks: who is responsible?
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Retail fireworks: who is responsible?

25 October 2016 - Bulletin

Fireworks are managed under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO Act). The Hazardous Substances (Fireworks) Regulations 2001 set down specific controls  for fireworks, including for the display and sale of fireworks.

The HSNO Act places responsibility on different agencies to enforce depending on their jurisdiction


In a workplace

WorkSafe is responsible for administering the regulations for retail fireworks in a workplace selling or storing fireworks. If you have a question about a retail store or other workplace, then contact WorkSafe.


Selling fireworks

  • Fireworks can only be sold or displayed for the period beginning 2 November and ending at the close of 5 November.
  • Fireworks can only be sold to people  aged 18 years and over.
  • Sparklers cannot be sold individually. If the package contains sparklers it must contain at least three other different types of fireworks and contain no more than 50 sparklers.
  • Retail fireworks and packages of retail fireworks can only be sold to the public if they have been certified by a test certifier.
  • Retail fireworks can only be displayed or stored in a place, where members of the public have access, if the fireworks are contained in fire resistant packaging or covered in a  manner that protects them from a source of  ignition such as in a display cabinet.
  • Fire crackers (bangers) and skyrockets are banned as retail fireworks as they do not fit the definition of a ‘firework’.


Storing fireworks

  • If you have more than 500 kg (gross weight) you must have an approved handler.
  • You can have up to 1,000 kg (gross weight) of retail fireworks inside a shop, over this amount and a hazardous substance location must be established.
  • At 10,000 kg (gross weight) a location test certificate is required from a test certifier.


Further information

More guidance on storing and selling retail fireworks can be found in:

Your Guide to Selling Retail Fireworks Environmental  Protection Authority (EPA).

Approved Code of Practice for Retail Fireworks: Design, Performance, Testing, Storage, Transport, Sale and Use, Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996.


On the road

If fireworks are being transported on the road for hire or reward then the business needs to comply with the Land Transport Rule 1: Dangerous Goods 2005, Rule 45001/1.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is responsible for enforcing the Land Transport Rule. Contact details can be found at:


Everywhere else

Territorial authorities are responsible for enforcing the HSNO Act in any other place within their district. If you’re concerned about firework use in your area, get in touch with your local council.

Council maps, websites and contact details can be found at:


Personal use

If you are lighting fireworks have a look at these tips to keep yourself safe:

NZ Fire Service



Published: October 2016. Current until review in 2018.

Last updated 7 November 2017