New home for Newtown Carols
Carol singers will deck the halls of Government House in their annual fundraising event.
The Newtown Carols, usually held at Newtown Park, has relocated to Government House because the park is undergoing an upgrade.
Newtown Carols Trust chairman Ian Rogers says the singers are honoured to hold the annual event at the home of the governor-general, Sir Jerry Mateparae.
For the first time, a 50-piece Royal New Zealand Air Force Band will join the Pacific Island choir to perform Christmas favourites in front of the crowd of 5000.
Mr Rogers says the concert showcases the ''magnificent'' voices of the choir, giving traditional tunes a Pasifika feel.
Acclaimed international tenor Ben Makisi, who was born and raised in Newtown, will perform a mixture of opera and carols at the event.
In the last decade, Makisi has performed in concerts in New York, London, Tuscany, Barcelona and the Pacific Islands.
He had one of his early performances at the Newtown Carols while still at school.
''Newtown Carols is a magical night, and Santa's arrival is always a highlight.
''It will be a very special evening at Government House,'' Makisi says.
Supporting acts this year include 13-year-old soloist Moana Leota, a female barbershop quartet, a dance group made up of intermediate and high school pupils and a group of Grey Power members who exercise to music.
The highlight is expected to be the arrival of Santa - although his mode of transport is a tightly kept secret.
In previous years he has arrived by fire engine, three-wheeler motorbike, 1963 Corvette and Sprint Roadster, and Mr Rogers says this year's arrival is sure to delight.
''He's a singing Santa who somehow from his sled finds a cordless radio mic and picks the moment as the choir are in full harmony [to arrive]. How does he do it?'' he quips.
This year's event is a fundraiser for the Life Flight Trust emergency air service and Wellington-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter, as well as the new Ronald McDonald House.
The Newtown Carols, Friday, December 7, from 6.15pm. Tickets from outlets throughout Newtown for a gold coin donation. Details of the event at newtowncarols.org.nz.