Santa's coming to town

BLAKE CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 08:45 07/08/2014
Christmas tree
FAIRFAX NZ
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Telecom has offered its Christmas trees - one of which used to stand in Waitangi Park - to councils.

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The Wellingtonian

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Deck the halls and skip the malls because Christmas is coming back to the golden mile.

Wellington City Council has committed to providing the decorations for a more festive build-up to Christmas this year, after last year's Grinch-like cost-cutting measures saw Wellington without a Christmas tree or any street decorations.

Deputy mayor Justin Lester said the council was still finalising its plans for the festive season, but street lights and decorations were set to return, along with a new Christmas tree.

"The tree will be returning to Midland Park," Lester said. "It will be like a traditional tree."

Lester said the council was thinking about turning Wellington buildings and attractions, such as the Cable Car, into Christmas presents.

"I've seen the concept ideas and they look very good," Lester said.

The extra festive spirit came about because feedback from Wellingtonians and the retail sector was clear - they wanted to see a return to a more festive, traditional celebration of Christmas in the city, Lester said.

"Wellingtonians have spoken and we have listened."

Lester said it was also likely there would be some fireworks on New Year's Eve and a concert was being planned.

Community, sport and recreation committee chairman Paul Eagle said there was no Christmas spirit in the city last year.

"What we got from Wellingtonians was utter rage," Eagle said.

"We are a capital city and it was nuts."

Eagle said there was a false perception in the city that the council had provided fireworks every year for New Year's Eve, which explained disappointment when none were planned last year.

"We had no tree, no decorations, and the weather cancelled the New Year's Day event too.

"It was the icing on the cake for Wellingtonians," Eagle said.

Eagle was pleased Wellington City Council was upping its game to try and keep residents in the city over the Christmas holiday period.

FREE TO A GOOD HOME

Remember the Telecom Tree at Waitangi Park?

After pulling the plug on its three futuristic trees, each made of 375,000 lights, Telecom has offered them to interested councils.

Telecom spokesman Conor Roberts said the cost of the trees meant they were no longer a viable tool for the company, but that did not mean it was the end of the line for them.

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"We've offered to donate them to local councils to incorporate into their region's festive plans, if the trees are important to their local communities."

Wellington councillor Paul Eagle said he understood the offer had not been taken up by other councils, meaning Wellington could have up to three of the trees around the city.

"Yes they will cost money, but it's something we need to investigate as part of our new Christmas celebrations," Eagle said. "The trees were even designed by an Island Bay local - Joe Bleakley."

- The Wellingtonian

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