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Going to town over Christmas

Going to town over Christmas

Aucklanders are encouraged to visit the Christmas spectacle in the city centre this festive season as new decorations and entertainment bring it to life.

The ‘Christmas in the City’ initiative is a joint project by Auckland City Council and the Heart of the City, a business association for retailers in the central business district (CBD).

Chairperson of the council’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, Councillor Greg Moyle, says “We’re celebrating the magic of Christmas with a mix of the traditional and modern to brighten up the city. Places like Sydney and Melbourne really get into the spirit of Christmas and go to town with their decorations.

“Auckland’s CBD has been lagging behind its international counterparts on the Christmas experience front and progressively over the next three years we’re changing that.

“I invite people to visit the central city this Christmas. Come and see the decorations and entertainment for yourself, take a look at the newly upgraded Queen Street and get your Christmas shopping done while you’re at it.”

The decorations include giant baubles, bright Christmas lights, angels and lamppost spirals. The giant baubles have a uniquely Auckland theme and will be on show at key spots in the CBD, with the biggest bauble (six-metres in diameter) on display in Queen Elizabeth Square.

Visitors are invited to follow a Christmas trail. Start with the largest bauble in Queen Elizabeth Square and post your letter to Santa in the nearby letterbox. Follow the lamppost spirals up Queen Street until you spy a silver three-metre diameter bauble on the corner of Vulcan Lane.

Head to Freyberg Square, admiring the lights along High Street and Chancery Lane along the way. Soon you will spot another three-metre diameter bauble decorated with a spiral design.

The new decorations are part of a three-year plan to make the CBD one of the top destinations for Aucklanders to experience Christmas. Each year an additional element will be added to the Christmas line up.

Alex Swney, Heart of the City’s chief executive, says retailers and members of the public know what they want for the CBD.

“People have told us they want energy, excitement and activity. The Christmas decorations, lights and entertainers are all part of our plan to make the city come alive.

“They say in retail we have thirteen trading months, and two of them are in December. Recognising this we have made a commitment to Christmas like never before and are looking to build on this celebration not just with decorations but with events and activities that will have the effect of putting the heart back into our city,” says Mr Swney.

On the three weekends leading up to Christmas, shoppers in the CBD can enjoy roving entertainers including carol singers, bell ringers, a Samoan choir and a range of street entertainers.

Shoppers can enjoy a $5 all-day parking rate at Auckland City Council's Downtown and Victoria Street carparks for the three weekends leading up to Christmas

Other events unique to the CBD leading up to Christmas include:

  • Farmers Santa Parade, Sunday 25 November

  • Smith and Caughey’s magical Christmas windows from 16 November, and Santa’s grotto from 3 December

  • Santa’s post-box, Queen Elizabeth Square

For a full list of Christmas activities in the CBD go to www.christmasinthecity.co.nz
Visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nzfor more information on community Christmas events.

ENDS

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