Kaiteriteri's mystery fireworks back

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2013

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The donor who has spent about $100,000 on fireworks displays over Kaiteriteri Beach on New Year's Eve for the past three years has pledged to carry on - but will remain anonymous.

Speculation is mounting over the identity of the mystery donor at the seaside town, fuelling false rumours that Canadian singer Shania Twain is the dollars behind the display.

The fireworks presentation is fired from a barge in the harbour and lasts for about 12 minutes. It can be seen from the Riwaka Hotel and heard as far away as Motueka, and the final big bang is echoed with cheers from thousands of onlookers gathered on the beachfront.

The company that puts it on, Firework Professionals, would not disclose the cost of the presentation because of client confidentiality.

The Guy Fawkes Fireworks Spectacular in Christchurch, funded by the city council, runs for a similar time and costs about $40,000 each year, a council spokesman said.

Three years of similar-sized events at Kaiteriteri could cost more than $100,000.

Little is known of the benefactor other than that they own a property in Little Kaiteri. Only a few members of the beach community know the donor's identity.

Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp manager Paul Lovell is not one of those in the know but he said many holidaymakers would like to thank the mystery philanthropist.

"Everyone is really appreciative of the person who puts the money towards it, but no-one knows who that is," he said.

"It is an awesome display and there has been a bit of talk and speculation about who it may be."

Most of the 2500 Kaiteriteri campers had gone to the beach for the show over the past three years, and they were joined by those in baches and many Motueka residents, Lovell said.

Anthony Jones, the owner of Kaiteri Lodge and The Beached Whale Restaurant and Bar, knows the benefactor's identity.

"They don't want the accolade and they wish to remain anonymous, and anonymous they will stay," he said.

Jones confirmed the donor was not Twain and said many rumours had circulated about her association with Kaiteriteri after she stayed at the beach a few years ago.

Firework Professionals client liaison manager Heather Foote said the benefactor wanted "to do something for the community without any recognition".

Most firework displays were funded by councils, corporates or community groups and it was "unusual and quite special" for an individual to fund such a large display each year, she said.

The donor last week sent an email to the company expressing their gratitude for the presentation and wrote that "the whole community was out there watching and people were clapping and cheering".

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The donor indicated they wanted to continue funding the display this year, Foote said.

- The Press

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