Christ­mas pa­rade in peril

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ROSE CAW­LEY

The fu­ture of Puke­ta­papa’s Santa Pa­rade is on thin ice.

A damn­ing re­port on the Santa Pa­rade and Car­ols By Can­dle­light events has prompted the lo­cal board to vote on the viability of hold­ing only one com­mu­nity event this fes­tive sea­son.

At­ten­dance for the pa­rade at the Mt Roskill shops was es­ti­mated at 600 peo­ple and only 42 per cent of those were sat­is­fied with the fes­tiv­i­ties.

But lo­cal board mem­ber Ella Ku­mar says it takes years to build strong, suc­cess­ful events and ax­ing the Santa pa­rade when its only in it’s fourth year is jump­ing the gun.

‘‘We strug­gle to en­gage our com­mu­nity as it is and now we are tak­ing away some­thing which uni­ver­sally ap­peals and brings peo­ple to­gether.’’

Board mem­ber Michael Wood says there has to be a bet­ter way to spend the money.

‘‘Ev­ery town cen­tre around us holds a pa­rade,’’ he says. ‘‘We can use this as a chance to make some­thing unique.’’

The Car­ols By Can­dle­light event fared slightly bet­ter in the re­port, with a much higher at­ten­dance and a 64 per cent sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing.

For­mer board mem­ber Peter Muys spoke dur­ing the public fo­rum at the meet­ing on May 28.

He says tra­di­tion­ally the event was a high­light in the com­mu­nity so­cial cal­en­dar and be­lieves with a few tweaks it can re­turn to promi­nence.

‘‘Lo­cal groups need to be em­pow­ered to take up the chal­lenge,’’ he says.

Pro­mo­tion of the event also needs to be com­mu­nity-based rather than left to Auck­land Coun­cil, he says.

Con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nity groups, schools and busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion will fo­cus on cre­at­ing a sin­gle event with car­ols at its heart but also in­clud­ing suc­cess­ful el­e­ments of the pa­rade.

Christ­mas pa­rade scenes like this could soon be a thing of the past for Puke­ta­papa.

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