Festive centrepiece

Photos by James Beech.
Photos by James Beech.
The first large Christmas tree to brighten Queenstown in more than 17 years drew smiles of approval from Wakatipu residents yesterday.

Queenstown Lakes District Council arts and events facilitator Jan Maxwell stands beside the new $25,000 Christmas tree on the Village Green.

The decorated artificial tree came in response to years of gripes from residents and visitors that the council failed to enter into the Christmas spirit as much as it should.

A dozen staff from the council, tree supplier Celebrations Group, of Auckland, and Central Scaffolding installed the 7.4m tree yesterday.

Mrs Maxwell said the tree was intended to be the centrepiece of Queenstown's festive celebrations, with a carol service to be held around it on a date yet to be confirmed.

Arrowtown would have wreaths installed this week and a tree with gold decorations placed on the town's village green next week.

Wanaka flags would be installed soon and extra lighting of the community tree was included in this year's budget, the council said.