Keep­ing it real for Christ­mas

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - HAMISH MA­CLEAN hamish.ma­[email protected]

OA­MARU’S Christ­mas tree has been put up in Thames St.

Like last year’s, it is a nat­u­ral, rather than ar­ti­fi­cial, tree.

Un­like last year, there was no de­bate on Christ­mas trees in the Waitaki coun­cil cham­bers.

In 2017, coun­cil­lors re­jected a staff rec­om­men­da­tion to re­place nat­u­ral Christ­mas trees with an ar­ti­fi­cial one.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said at the time, by the end of the fes­tive sea­son nat­u­ral trees be­gan ‘‘look­ing very faded’’, and they took a lot of time and ef­fort to put up.

The ar­ti­fi­cial tree was not his pref­er­ence but it of­fered value for money, he said.

How­ever, a pho­to­graph of an ar­ti­fi­cial tree in last year’s re­port to the coun­cil was de­rided by Cr Craig Daw­son, of Omarama, as look­ing like Marge Simp­son’s blue bee­hive, and a nat­u­ral tree found favour.

‘‘We had prom­ises of a great one this year, but the ac­tual one they couldn’t get to, just be­cause of how wet the area was — but they man­aged to find an­other one that was rea­son­ably good.’’

This year, there would be ‘‘a lot more dec­o­ra­tions’’.

PHOTO: HAMISH MA­CLEAN

‘‘How lovely are thy branches’’ . . . Oa­maru’s Christ­mas tree — a wild­ing pine from the Waitaki Val­ley — has been put up in Thames St. Last year, Waitaki dis­trict coun­cil­lors ve­toed a staff rec­om­men­da­tion for an ar­ti­fi­cial tree.

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