Nelson was blessed with a fine evening for the Christmas Eve Carols by Candlelight after predictions of the heavens opening up failed to eventuate.
About 2000 people were welcomed to the Church Steps by the Bishop of Nelson Richard Ellena and Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese.
Ms Reese thanked the crowd for coming to celebrate her "favourite end of year event", saying it was appropriate the community was this year celebrating the 100th anniversary of the granite Church Steps, which continued to be Nelson's favourite meeting place.
Nelson City Brass Band provided the music, bringing tears to some when it played to a silent audience the South African National Anthem as a tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.
The Civic and Destiny Church choirs combined to sing at the annual event using a sound system donated by Nelson Sound Systems.
Nelson MP Nick Smith, who was celebrating his birthday, wished everyone a merry Christmas and asked people to think of others in the community who weren't so fortunate. He made special mention of the local Filipino community who were raising money to help family in the Philippines who were recovering in the aftermath of super typhoon, Haiyan.
The bishop closed the two-hour long event with a message to enjoy a "Christmas of amazing peace".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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