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Auckland's giant Santa retiring after six decades of service - share your memories with us

News story
Saturday 9 Nov 2019

He's towered over Aucklanders each festive season for the best part of six decades. But now the city's giant Santa is retiring after one final Christmas and a fitting public send-off.

The 19-metre Santa Claus, whose most recent home each festive season has been the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in Auckland's city centre, will appear one last time from Sunday 10 November before hanging up his red coat for good on Friday 10 January.

We know Santa is well-loved by many Aucklanders but sadly, for a combination of reasons, it is time to retire this model. We love Santa too so it wasn’t an easy decision but to store, maintain and assemble Santa costs over two hundred thousand dollars a year and, with another refresh due imminently, now is a fitting time for Santa to take a well-earned rest.

From 1960 where Santa was installed on the Farmers building on Hobson Street to the current day where he is accompanied by two giant reindeer and presents on Queen Street, Santa has been a joyous part of Auckland’s Christmas tradition. We want to give him a fitting public send-off and give Aucklanders the opportunity to say goodbye.

We're inviting people to share their fond memories of Santa - from stories about coming in to the city centre to see him to old photos of Santa through the years.

This invitation extends to the city centre's businesses, workers and residents - so dig out those old albums and share your special memories with us so we can celebrate Santa with an online tribute.

Memories and photos can be uploaded to,  emailed to or shared on Instagram and Facebook using #FarewellSanta.

In addition to giving Santa a fitting farewell, we remain committed to celebrating the festive season in the city centre with vibrancy and colour. 

From larger-than-life baubles and decorations to Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Smith & Caughey’s, there is plenty to experience this year. We will be holding our Late-Night Christmas event on 19 December, which will be a late-night festive experience with over 90 street performances and over 125 stores open late.

The future of Christmas is also very important to us - it is a significant time of the year to support retail as well as an opportunity to generate a special sense of community in the city centre. We’re already underway in thinking about how Christmas could be celebrated here in the future, and in the new year we will involve you in exploring what Christmas 2020 and beyond could look like.