'It's not a good look': One man's mission to bring down Hamilton Pak 'n Save's Coca-Cola Christmas display
One man is on a mission to take back Santa from the corporate clutches of Coca-Cola for the sake of future generations.
And he's starting with the giant Christmas display at the Clarence Street Pak 'n Save in Hamilton – which is hard to miss.
Peer a little closer and you will notice the display is made entirely from Coca-Cola drink packaging.
The entrance has transformed into a Santa meet and greet, with a giant snowman on the wall made from Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Fanta, and regular Coke built around the area.
While many stop to admire the artwork, Peter Taratoa wants to see it taken down.
"Are they advertising for Father Christmas, or Coca-Cola?" Taratoa asked.
"That's a bit weird, we're trying to get our kids off this kind of stuff, full of sugar and all."
But when Taratoa vented his frustrations, someone pointed out there was Coke Zero, too.
"I thought, wow, you're missing the point. It's disappointing."
Taratoa, a father, grandfather and soon to be great-grandfather, said it was important for children not to tie Christmas and Coca-Cola together.
"It's about time they looked at other options to associate Christmas with.
"We really push for no Coca-Cola at ours. Does there even need to be a drink or any drink for that matter. Can't we just have water?"
But Santa has featured in Coca-Cola's advertising since the 1920s, shaping the image of Santa.
A Coke New Zealand spokeswoman said there has been a long association with Coke and Santa.
"We're a global brand and have been using Santa in our advertising for a very long time."
She said she wasn't aware of Pak 'n Save Clarence Street's display so couldn't comment.
Duty manager at Pak 'n Save Sasi Baddam said it was only for decoration, and people could not purchase the display, only the products instore.
"It was especially built for the promotional display. It's not for the customers."
He said they have received no complaints about the display, but lots of people were taking pictures.
"It's not a good look, Pak 'n Save. There's other ways you could have a display while kids have pics with Santa," Taratoa said.
Hamilton paediatric dentist Katie Ayers said she understands Taratoa's frustrations.
"We certainly know that children are drinking a lot of sugary drinks throughout the year, so it's not just a Christmas issue.
"Tooth decay is a long process so you wouldn't see the changes show up in the short term. But over time, yes."
She finds it's annoying at the low cost of fizzy drinks compared to water.
"I remember seeing 1.5-litre fizzy drinks for just a dollar, and that's frustrating – seeing them right when you walk through the doors."
And while the knowledge of the impact of sugar on our teeth has increased, she hasn't seen much change over the last 20 years