The Northland Age

Santa Plans grand entrance in Kaikohe

- Peter de Graaf

When Santa comes to Kaikohe this year he won’t be riding anything as ordinary as a sleigh — instead he’s told townsfolk to expect him on nothing less than a horse-drawn chariot.

Santa’s grand entrance is part of plans for a revitalise­d Christmas celebratio­n in the Mid North town where parades have faltered and gone through a number of different organisers in recent years.

This year, however, health provider Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi, in conjunctio­n with Kaikohe Business Associatio­n, is taking over the reins and promising the town’s biggest parade in decades.

Co-ordinator Jay Hepi said the

organisati­on decided to get involved because it was now one of the biggest employers and service providers in Kaikohe.

“It’s the first time Te Hau Ora o Ngā puhi has been involved in leading it out. Christmas just doesn’t feel right without a parade so we want to go out there and have a huge, creative, cultural event,” he said.

The December 2 parade, which will be followed by an evening of carols and entertainm­ent, has received “amazing support” from local businesses.

Hepi said he was keen to get all ethnic groups in the Mid North involved — including Indians, Chinese and Koreans — while giving the overall event a bit of “Ngāpuhi flair”.

As of this week, 24 schools, preschools, businesses, gyms and health providers had pledged to enter a parade float.

Prizes would be awarded for best float, best kids’ costume and best adult costume.

All Te Hau Ora o Ngā puhi’s 120-odd staff would dress up, Hepi said.

The parade theme was whakawhāna­ungatanga or “families coming together”.

Newly elected Far North Mayor moko Tepania, a Kaikohe resident, will be on stage along with inspiratio­nal speaker Nick Trask.

Kaikohe-raised Trask establishe­d Trask Performanc­e, a top producer of Harley Davidson turbo kits in the US.

His daughter, Shanieka Trask of

Auckland’s Mai FM, will be the event MC.

The parade will start at the top end of town and make its way down Broadway before reconvenin­g at The Green (the former Kaikohe Hotel site) for Carols on Broadway.

The free, whānau event will run until 9pm and feature live music by Max Cochrane and his band, carols performed by a collective church choir, food and plenty of prizes.

Santa will arrive in style on a horsedrawn chariot during Carols on Broadway.

Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi has also organised a Christmas lights contest to brighten up the town and get people involved.

Light Your Lights Up is open to anyone living in Kaikohe and surrounds with an $800 first prize for the best-decorated house.

Organising this year’s Christmas festivitie­s tied in with the health provider’s goal of working for the good of the community, Hepi said.

“This Christmas we want to put on a positive event for Kaikohe and uplift the community. ”

● The parade starts at 5pm on Friday, December 2, at the top of Broadway. Email for more informatio­n about entering a float. Carols on Broadway will run from 6-9pm. Email by November 21 to register your address for the Light Up Your Lights contest. Winners will be announced during the parade.

 ?? Photo / Debbie Beadle ?? Santa and Mrs Claus drove a sideby-side in Kaikohe’s 2017 parade but this year they plan a far grander entrance.
Photo / Debbie Beadle Santa and Mrs Claus drove a sideby-side in Kaikohe’s 2017 parade but this year they plan a far grander entrance.

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