Creepy Santa is back in the city

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - CA­TRIN OWEN

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 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.

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