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First of all, how are you?
I’m well, thank you very much. I appreciate it. It’s been a rough year for a lot of us but we’re doing very well at the North Pole.
Have you had any Covid-19 scares at the North Pole?
We’ve had a few scares — the elves always get pretty bad colds every year but this year no, everybody was tested. We’re fine. We’ve all been vaccinated.
Do you have to take any Covid-19 precautions when you’re dropping off presents to people?
Well the whole idea of what I do every year is to quietly get into the house and drop off presents and leave before anybody notices us. So, other than wearing my mask, which I always have, I will be washing my hands more often. Unfortunately I can’t drink the glasses of beer or glasses of milk this year — we’re trying to be very careful with that.
What types of treats do people usually leave out for you on Christmas Eve, and what should they do differently this year?
Well that’s a hard question because down here in New Zealand people leave out beer and pies, and I love that — as a matter of fact I put on a few kilograms because of that, ho, ho, ho. In the rest of the world it would be biscuits and milk or biscuits and tea. Actually, there’s parts of Asia where they leave out yak milk, which is very interesting. If you leave out carrots for the reindeer, I will of course give them to the reindeer. They can eat the carrots, of course, Covid isn’t passed on to reindeer.
Have people in the South been naughty or nice this year?
Oh we’ve all been very good this year. I like to think that the team of five million made a great impact on the world and we’ve taken care of ourselves very well.
There was no Santa Parade in Dunedin this year. Did you miss it?
I really did. It is one of my favourite places to come. The people in Dunedin are so warm and welcoming and loving. It’s always wonderful to have the parade there. This year we’re just being a little more careful. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to get back to it. I will miss the children — their faces always brighten up my day.
Finally, is there anything you want to say to children in Dunedin before Christmas Day?
Only a few more sleeps until Christmas. Be good, mind your parents, take care of yourselves and take care of each other. Kia kaha. And, of course, Meri Kirihimete.