Meatstock festival organisers apologise to Waikato horse breeders, cancel fireworks

The Australian organisers of the Meatstock extravaganza have apologised to Waikato farmers and horse breeders and cancelled a major fireworks display planned for Saturday night.

The festival of 'all things meat' has been shifted to Mystery Creek Events Centre, which is surrounded by New Zealand's top thoroughbred studs.

Normally held in Sydney, Toowoomba, Bendigo and previously Auckland, the two-day event is popular with live fire cooking enthusiasts.

On Thursday night, farmers and thoroughbred breeders learned via social media that Meatstock organisers were planning a large pyrotechnics display.

"There's a lot of livestock, a lot of bloodstock worth millions of dollars around here - more than anything our priority is animal welfare," said Carlaw Park Stud owner Nick Fairweather.

"Something as simple as a firework with sounds and lights can upset them and before you know it, you have vets on hand and more often than not it can turn terminal."

He said over a decade ago during the last big public fireworks display, "horses went through fences and cows went off their milk production for more than two weeks they were so stressed".

Around 600 thoroughbreds and multiple dairy farms reside in the Mystery Creek area, on both sides of the river.

But organisers have now cancelled the Saturday night fireworks, acknowledging their communication with the rural community "could've been better".

"Residents weren't keen so 100 percent we pulled the pin. And yes we are always apologetic because when you run festivals you don't want to run a festival to upset people," said Meatstock festival director Simon Luke.

A decision Fairweather said brings "a great sense of relief".

"Full credit to the Meatstock owners and Mystery Creek Events Centre in acknowledging the concerns of the rural community."

A community that will likely join the 15,000 visitors expected at the Meatstock event, where beards, moustaches and mullets are almost a pre-requisite.

"I've got quite a few chins under here so it catches them, and the mullet to match front and back!" one Taranaki visitor told Newshub.

And with endless meat to try, it'd be rude not to catch every last bite.