Waving farewell to Santa

Santa no longer coming to town

Publish Date : 05 Dec 2019
Waving farewell to Santa
Santa at Hobson St Farmers building in 1970s. Auckland Libraries Collection, 9-1

This is the final year for a familiar face on Auckland’s Queen Street.

The giant Santa Claus has been a fixture of Christmas in the central city since 1960 when he first graced the side of the Farmers department store on Hobson Street.

Santa, weighing in at five tons (4535 kg) and some 59 feet (18 metres) tall, brought joy to generations of Auckland children, with his beckoning finger and jolly winking eye. He spent almost 30 Christmases on the Farmers Hobson Street building until it was sold in 1990.

Waving farewell to Santa (1)
Santa watches over the 1983 Farmers Santa Parade. Gary Danvers collection - flickr.com/photos/gcdnz/29791140947/ CC BY-SA 2.0

After a holiday at the Manukau City Shopping Centre and some serious TLC, he returned to the central city in 1998, and was installed on the side of another building, then the Whitcoulls building, on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets.

Ten years later his appearance sparked concern and he was sent away for a makeover. His creakily beckoning finger and winking eye were sorted out and in 2009 he was restored back to the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, which was now Farmers.

Waving farewell to Santa (2)
A different view of Santa, shortly after his makeover in 2009. Su Yin Khoo - flickr.com/photos/ksuyin/4159041407/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sadly, the expense of storing Santa during the year and the upkeep of the ageing structure means that this year will be his last outing. Your final chance for a photo opportunity will be 10 January 2020.

Santa’s annual visits to Auckland have been well documented – you can watch a time-lapse video of him being installed here.

And, if you have your own fond memories of Santa, you can share them to the Heart of the City’s ‘farewell Santa’ page.

Waving farewell to Santa (3)
Santa interrupted, Marguerite Hill
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