A Kiwi take on Christmas trees

Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
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PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

WAY WITH WOOD: Mike Small and his driftwood Christmas tree at his Peka Peka home.

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ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax Nz
PLASTIC FANTASTIC: Alex Karantze, left, and Kim Mitchell with a Christmas tree made from plastic bottles at Wellington Zoo.

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Forget traditions inherited from the northern hemisphere such as snow, mistletoe and open fires – two Wellingtonians have constructed Christmas trees that better reflect their takes on the holiday.

Mike Small and his wife Liz have built a Christmas tree out of driftwood outside their Peka Peka home.

Mr Small says Liz was inspired by friends who'd created a "similar sort of concept" in the Coromandel Peninsula. "She convinced me, and the two of us had a lot of fun putting it together."

The couple collected driftwood of varying shapes and sizes on their walks along the beach.

The actual frame of the tree was made from galvanised piping and welded on to a base that Mr Small then buried in the ground. It is fully lit up at night.

"The neighbours and the kids in the area think it's marvellous."

Mr Small, who has lived at Peka Peka for four years, says the tree reflects his and his wife's celebration of Christmas better than the traditional pine.

"It's a bit crazy how traditionally New Zealanders have had the roast lamb on Christmas Day, but now I think the culture is changing to reflect our summer.

"Liz is very keen to do things that are beachy and reflect the location we live in – and it does the job in that respect."

Mr Small says he intends to dismantle it in mid-January, though he would store the wood for next year.

Meanwhile, a Christmas tree made of green plastic bottles and a "little bit of hot glue" has become a talking point for visitors to Wellington Zoo.

Spokeswoman Libby Callander says the tree was a collaborative effort between several staff members. "They'd seen a recycled Christmas tree online and were inspired to see if we could do something similar here."

The green plastic bottles were left over from the thousands used to make a fence for the Green Zoo, Green You exhibit that opened in September.

"There's been heaps of comments about it and lots of photos taken by it, just because it's such a neat idea to build something rather than chopping down a tree."

And, she says, it has the added benefit of being low-allergy and low-mess.

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- The Dominion Post

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