Creepy Santa is back in the city
Auckland’s giant ‘‘creepy’’ Santa is back and keeping an eye over Queen St.
His black boots were the first to go up on Friday. Construction continued through the night and over the weekend as his body, presents and reindeer were brought to life.
His slowly winking eye and slightly creepy beckoning finger have been part of Auckland’s seasonal folklore celebrations since 1960.
But in 2014 he almost didn’t stand again after the $180,000 price tag of installation and storage was deemed too high.
After public backlash, construction company Mansons TCLM and SkyCity joined forces to keep the statue alive.
This wasn’t the first time the cost of Santa had been a burden.
In December 2008 Whitcoulls announced it could no longer afford the annual price of $55,000 and gifted him to the city.
Auckland’s downtown business association Heart of the City closed off the roads as workers installed the presents and the reindeer.
Heart of the City chief executive, Viv Beck says his installation stirs the Christmas spirit.
‘‘He’s a very popular, very large and quite prominent figure on Queen St and you see him go up progressively.’’
‘‘Once Santa is up, then you see all the other Christmas decorations going up around the city.’’
Beck says the support by Mansons TCLM and SkyCity enables Heart of the City to continue installing the much loved icon every year.
The festive figure underwent $100,000 worth of reconstructive work to remove his beckoning finger and droopy winking eye in 2009.
But that didn’t stop him scooping the most ‘‘unintentionally creepy Christmas ornament’’ by American website cracked.com in 2011.
The website describes him as ‘‘66 frightening feet tall’’. The beckoning finger used to move at a rate of 27 beckons per minute.
‘‘Unsurprisingly, residents of Auckland were uncomfortable with being beckoned to by something that looks like it wants your attention so it can ask if you’re comfortable with being followed home...’’ the website states.
Nonetheless, ‘‘creepy Santa’’ has returned to stand on the corner of Victoria and Queen St for another year.