Santa Claus is sitting tight
Palmerston North's iconic Santa and sleigh are here to stay after being sold for $1250 on Trade Me to the Downtown Shopping Centre.
The 3.96-metre-tall, 2.35m-wide fibreglass Santa was bought by Downtown manager Greg Key, who plans to return it to its glory as a feature in Palmerston North.
The figure had for many years been a feature in The Square and the Palmerston North Christmas Parade, but the event's move to non-motorisation saw it phased out.
The previous owner, the Palmerston North Heartlands Lions Club, put Santa on Trade Me in an effort to raise money for charity.
Mr Key saw an article about the Santa auction in the Manawatu Standard, and feared it would be sold outside Palmerston North.
"It is an iconic part of Palmy history and I know lots of families and children who like to have their photos taken on it."
Mr Key was unable to confirm whether the giant Santa would return to The Square.
"We haven't spoken to the city council yet but would like to hear where the public would like to see him."
The non-motorised Palmerston North parade no longer featured the Santa but Mr Key said it would be at the Feilding Christmas Parade on Sunday.
"Unfortunately the organisers of the Palmy parade decided to do something different that didn't fit in with what the Heartland Lions did with the Santa float," said Mr Key.
One of the factors behind its removal from The Square was that NZ Post had taken over replying to letters posted by children in the Santa's mailbox.
Heartland Lions Club secretary Yvonne McEwen said the money made by the auction would go into the club's charity account, with the first withdrawal being $300 towards a body roller for a young man with autism.
Mr Key said the float would be tidied up over winter to be ready for Christmas next year.