The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the Heart of the Far North.
Kaikohe's Christmas parade had great weather and great crowds. And despite rumours that there wouldn't be enough floats to pull off a parade, organisers did not disappoint those who crowded onto the town's main street.
About 2000 people lined Broadway to welcome Santa, and the message of Joy to the World on flags up and down the street resonated with the throng of families.
It's the first time the town has been decorated like this, district councillor Sally Macauley says - and it's having a great effect on the spirit of the Kaikohe community.
"It's absolutely amazing . . . with the decorations being erected people have felt there is a good spirit in the town," Ms Macauley says.
"When you have an image - such as decorations - people become happy, they forget about the negative side, possibly, of their lives and look toward something better."
The money for the decorations came from Oxford Charitable Trust and Pub Charities.
Saturday was one of the key days of Shine Kaikohe, a seven-week celebration of the holidays. Shine Kaikohe is organised by a committee of the Kaikohe Projects Promotions Charitable Trust and is open to other groups to add their events to.
10 Guitars was played by a crowd in the park to celebrate the guitarist culture in the area.
The Kaikohe Community Arts Council's Santa's Grotto was filled with children writing last-minute wish lists to Santa on Saturday and playing among the decorated trees.
The Angel's Tree, a collection point for presents donated for children of prison inmates, had its visitors too.
But music filled the street. And so did people.
Ms Macauley called the atmosphere "very good for all the businesses".
All the businesses were open, and would remain so on Saturdays for the duration of the holidays.
Northland's Paralympian Fiona Southorn added shine to an Olympiad-themed Christmas parade last Wednesday in Kawakawa.
The appearance of bronze medallist Southorn caused a real stir and proved a great crowd-pleaser of the parade.
Winner of the best float for the schools category was Kawakawa Primary, with its spectacular and entirely gold "Live Golden boy" torch.
The winner of the business, organisation and individual category was Ngati Hine with a creative "rowers" entry, complete with real LP records and Grecian rowers.
The other crowd pleaser was Kawakawa's own star, Puffing Gabrielle, which carried Santa.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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