Santa not only one to work on Christmas Day

"My sister said to me ‘Happy Christmas' and I said ‘Happy Wednesday'."

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 26/12/2013
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Lee-Ann Betts says Christmas Day is just like any other.

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Lee-Ann Betts says Christmas Day is just like any other.

She has worked at the New Plymouth dog pound for 10 years and yesterday she worked her third Christmas Day. Like many hundreds of other people around the region, the day was not one of rest and time with family.

"My sister said to me ‘Happy Christmas' and I said ‘Happy Wednesday'."

Miss Betts was looking after 12 dogs yesterday, from 8am to 6pm.

She remained on call until 7 o'clock this morning.

Each dog at the pound received a Schmacko and a pork bone for Christmas Day breakfast.

It had not been a busy day for Miss Betts and the dogs appeared to be in high Christmas spirits.

Eight-year-old Puppy Girl, a staffy cross, even got an extra Schmacko and a run around in the pohutukawa trees.

"She's only been here since the 20th," said Miss Betts, who hoped she would find a good home soon.

"She has a lovely personality, she just needs some TLC."

At the New Plymouth Fire Station, eight on-duty firemen and women had a hearty Christmas dinner of roast chicken, glazed ham on the bone, new potatoes and trifle with blue meringue.

"Luckily, we can bring our partners and children in for Christmas dinner," officer in charge Dave Utumatu said as the group watched the movie Hook in the dining room at lunch time.

In the past he said the Christmas Day group - with kids and partners added - had filled two extra tables.

Today's smaller group of eight, plus one wife, meant they had spare meringues to share with journalists, who also worked on Christmas Day.

Mr Utumatu said there had been a couple of callouts on Christmas morning, both false alarms after hangi smoke had been spotted by neighbours.

He said it was quiet compared with Christmas Eve, when traffic was backed up and it was hard to get fire trucks out.

Down the road at New Plymouth's new police station, Senior Sergeant Allan Whaley said there were "about a dozen" staff on in the New Plymouth area on Christmas Day.

"It's relatively quiet at the moment," he said at midday.

He said police had not added anything festive to their uniforms for the silly season.

"Santa hats don't really go with our uniforms.

"We have to maintain a bit of professionalism."

For dairy farmers Rosemary and Michael Kuriger of Urenui, Christmas Day meant a 4.30am start, as usual.

"After the milking we rushed home and had breakfast at 8.30," said Mrs Kuriger, who has a full house, with three kids, their partners and five grandchildren.

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"My husband loves working Christmas Day," she said.

After a big breakfast and lunch, rather than feeling bloated and having a lie down, she said Mr Kuriger liked to go back to work so that by the time dinner came around he was hungry again.

"It's nice to work up an appetite."

Other people working on Christmas Day included lifeguards, medical professionals, taxi drivers, petrol station and dairy staff and oil rig workers.

- Taranaki Daily News

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