Santa arrives safely in Christchurch

Christchurch launched its festive season in style on Sunday, with the popular Christmas Show Parade which was held at a new location for the first time.

Blue skies and warm temperatures helped attract more than 35,000 people who filled the streets at the Canterbury Agricultural Park to enjoy the colourful spectacle.

Parade director Jason Reekers said it was great to finally get the annual show up and running, following a four-year break due to Covid-19 and last year's rain cancellation.

"We have all of the old traditional Santa Parade floats that date back 75 years. We've restored them all, fixed all the motors, and we've got some new ones. We've got 66 entries in the parade, all singing, all dancing and they're looking beautiful".

Santa took time out from his busy schedule to star at the Christmas Show Parade on Sunday. PHOTO:...
Santa took time out from his busy schedule to star at the Christmas Show Parade on Sunday. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

There were Christmas floats for all tastes, featuring everything from a giant Mother Goose through to Disney Princesses and traditional character favourites like the Mad Hatter.

Reekers said logistics meant rethinking the event, and combining the parade with a festival.

"We couldn't get the parade in the city. Christchurch has been designed in a way that it can't really host a parade. So we've had everything here at the park, but we couldn't just bring people here to the park just for a parade. So we've had to supply entertainment".

The event is run by the Christchurch Children's Christmas Parade Trust, who want to re-establish it as the city's premier Christmas celebration.

Headline act Santa Claus arrived on time to an appreciative audience. 

The big man had to pull his appearance in Auckland on Saturday, following an incident during the Avondale Santa Parade which saw a BurgerFuel-branded car roll into two members of a brass band group.

But Santa assured everyone he would still be checking off their present lists ahead of Christmas Day.

- By Geoff Sloan
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air