City's Santa is special
The central city is already covered in Christmas decorations and this year organisers are pulling out all the stops. Reporter Jess Lee finds out what goes on behind the scenes to make Auckland look festive each year.
Forget the Bahamas.
When our favourite Santa finishes the festive season he holidays in West Auckland.
The Whitcoulls Santa has taken up his usual spot on the corner of Queen and Victoria streets but when he's not there he joins his reindeer and the rest of the city's public decorations in an industrial warehouse in Kelston.
It takes a team of more than 50 people a couple of days to get the 25 metre-tall old fella from the storehouse to his elevated Christmas home.
Santa has occupied some less than glamorous residences since 1960 when he was first put up on the outside of the Farmers building in Albert St.
A field in South Auckland ranks among the strangest of them.
Damage and general wear and tear means he needs regular maintenance.
This year the jolly fellow was treated to some new boots.
He was once famous for his winking eye and beckoning finger until reconstructive surgery spruced him up in time for Christmas 2009.
The makeover took about 4000 hours and $100,000 to help him lose the moniker of the world's creepiest Christmas ornament.
Heart of the City's Erin Stewart reckons that's all part of his charm.
"Aucklanders love the fact that their Santa is a little bit creepy," she says.
The central city business association took charge of the Whitcoulls Santa four years ago and has decided to step up Auckland's game in the Christmas decoration stakes.
"Historically Christmas in the city has always been done on a very small scale.
"We're looking to deliver a Christmas that Auckland can be proud of."
Auckland City Harbour News