Santa’s big helper

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

THERE’S one man in Auck­land who has spent 35 years get­ting ready for Auck­land’s big­gest Santa pa­rade.

Float builder Peter Tay­lor spends his days in a cen­tral Auck­land ware­house where rein­deer, carousels, teapots, dragons and a haunted house keep him com­pany.

As a vet­eran of float cre­ation he works on de­signs for the an­nual Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade, which lights up Auck­land’s main street and the faces of thou­sands of chil­dren ev­ery year.

Mr Tay­lor has been plac­ing the fin­ish­ing touches on about 28 colour­ful floats that will be on dis­play this Sun­day for the 76th year of the pa­rade.

“It’s quite stress­ful,” he says of the long-awaited event.

“There is the pride of mak­ing them look nice. But it’s amaz­ing, peo­ple turn up year in, year out.”

The 60-year-old is glad to be back on track af­ter he was struck down by ill­ness in Au­gust that caused him to be off work for six weeks.

As the main float builder at the New­ton ware­house, Mr Tay­lor has a cou­ple of part-time work­ers to help him out but is largely the sole mas­ter­mind.

He says some floats can take two months to build with one per­son work­ing on it.

“It de­pends how in­tri­cate they are. We cre­ate a scale model of each. Then they come to life with peo­ple on them.”

Floats were ini­tially made from pa­pier mache but are now crafted out of fi­bre­glass and are wa­ter re­sis­tant.

He re­calls a large Buzz Lightyear fig­ure on the back of a float one year that ac­ci­den­tally had the arm ripped off af­ter be­ing caught on a sharp turn.

“We also lost the chim­ney off the Three Lit­tle Pigs float,” he laughs.

Pa­rade gen­eral man­ager Pam Glaser ex­pects just un­der 200 dis­plays on the day – from the floats, to ve­hi­cles, to march­ing bands and per­form­ers.

“It’s a huge amount of work, it’s like a puz­zle. But it’s very cool when it all comes to­gether.

“Ev­ery year I’m blown away by the sup­port,” she says of the com­mu­nity-minded event.

The Leukaemia and Blood Foun­da­tion is the of­fi­cial char­ity of the pa­rade, which starts at 2pm on Sun­day at the cor­ner of May­oral Drive and Vin­cent St.

It runs down Queen St and along Cus­toms St be­fore head­ing back up Al­bert St to the Welles­ley St in­ter­sec­tion, tak­ing around 50 min­utes to pass each spot.

An af­ter party will then be held on the cor­ner of Rut­land St and Lorne St and will fea­ture rides, give­aways, mu­sic and per­for­mances from acts like Yo Gabba Gabba, The Flam­ing Phoenix, BlingLing Bros and Bob the Builder.

Af­ter the big day the floats are put back into stor­age and in Fe­bru­ary, brain­storm­ing be­gins again for the next pa­rade.

In the event that the pa­rade is can­celled be­cause of rain, it will be held on De­cem­ber 6.


At the reins: Float builder Peter Tay­lor plays a large role in the lead-up to each year’s Farm­ers Santa Pa­rade.

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