Christmas in the city

Published: Thu 20 Nov 2008 04:56 PM
20 November 2008
Christmas in the city
It’s a dilemma as old as Santa…. How do you celebrate a winter festival in the middle of summer?
Well, Auckland City knows how. And it involves taking the best of both hemispheres and mixing them in to a new and exciting Christmas theme for the Heart of the City.
In the 2008 festive season, Auckland’s CBD is unveiling a bunch of new decorations that reflect an appropriate sense of Kiwi with a wise old nod towards the traditional.
Gone is tatty old tinsel. Sprayed on snow has been left to wilder climes. Reindeer have little relevance in a modern, vibrant city. This year we are in the second year of a 5 year plan to fill the city with Christmas.
“We’ve taken the approach that it’s simply not satisfactory to slap up a few Donners and Blitzens and a ratty-looking wreath around the place. People know we’ve got a huge variety of retail shops, excellent bars and top-class restaurants – we want to complement those by making the cityscape interesting and relevant for everyone who visits,” says CEO of Heart of the City Alex Swney.
The tired decorations of yesteryear have been retired. In their place are new, modern pieces that reflect Auckland’s Pacific heritage and create a sense of Kiwi, summer-time and Christmas.
“In years gone by we knew it was the festive season because we would receive complaints from far and wide about a lack of Christmas feeling. This Christmas we think Aucklanders will be really proud of their CBD,” says Mr Swney.
Swney says much planning goes into making Christmas fun in the city and downtown is looking tip-top now that the Queen Street alterations have been completed.
2008 yuletide decorations include new lighting on Queen Street’s Nikau palms, generous new wreaths and colourful banners across the main street, giant baubles, Christmas lights, angels and giant red spirals. Plus Santa’s post box in QEll Square has been installed to give those with the urge a direct line to the big guy in the red suit.
“There’s more to Christmas than just shopping. For us it’s also about creating a festive experience and we’re doing this by combining the new with the old. We’ve got a 50 metre Christmas tree on KZ1, it doesn’t get more Auckland than that, and at the other end of the spectrum is the 20 metre tall, 60 year old Santa on Whitcoulls and lots in between.
“The upgrade is done and dusted… come back to the city for a city Christmas experience.”

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