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Christmas in Auckland's city centre set to delight

Press release
Thursday 12 Nov 2020

Christmas celebrations are underway in Auckland’s city centre, with visitors to the heart of the city in for a treat with a packed event schedule and the streets adorned with new festive decorations from this week.

Heart of the City on Monday unveiled new illuminated decorations by Angus Muir Design along Queen Street and lighting on the Farmers building, which will be lit from 8pm each day, along with decorations and new banner flags.

To complement the city centre’s festive look and feel is a jam-packed schedule of events and displays that will enhance the Christmas magic.

Commercial Bay features a contemporary Christmas installation, and Smith & Caughey’s have a new pop up Christmas shop; there will be new Christmas markets while the Farmers Santa Parade and Handell’s Messiah at the Town Hall will both add to the Christmas spirit. Mid-December also marks the start of the America’s Cup celebrations in the city centre.

“The heart of the city is alive with festive atmosphere, and there’s plenty more to look forward to in the lead up to Christmas,” says Viv Beck, Heart of the City Chief Executive. “From larger-than-life baubles and decorations to Smith and Caughey’s stunning Christmas Windows, there is something to delight everyone.”

The city centre is the ideal location for Christmas shopping, with distinct shopping precincts, including Queen Street, Commercial Bay, the High Street District and Britomart, and gifting options to suit every budget, gifter, and recipient.

“Shopping in the city centre is better than ever, with plenty of new shops to explore and gifts to suit all styles and budgets,” says Ms. Beck.

Amongst the merry atmosphere, one notable Christmas stalwart will be missing from the city centre streets this year, after Heart of the City last year announced the city’s iconic giant Santa would be retired after nearly six decades of service.

“Last Christmas we made the difficult decision to retire Auckland’s iconic giant Santa, who has been a big part of festivities in the city over the years,” says Viv Beck. “While we’ll certainly miss Santa during Christmas 2020, we have some happy news to announce very soon about his future.”

“What we can reveal now is that we’ve found the perfect new retirement home for Santa, and he’ll be making the journey there from the 18th November – so keep your eyes peeled and you might just spot him on the move!”

Heart of the City also has plans underway to unveil something new for Christmas next year. 

“We’re also planning an extra special reveal for Christmas 2021, which we had hoped would be ready sooner, but unfortunately COVID-19 interrupted delivery for this year.”

“Despite this, Christmas in the city centre is looking festive and we look forward to welcoming visitors for Christmas 2020,” concludes Ms Beck. 

Events scheduled over the festive season include:

  • The Abba Show, 16 November – 16 December (Aotea Centre, KTK Theatre)
  • APO for Kids: Christmas with Suzy Cato, 28 November (Town Hall)
  • Santa Parade, 29 November (Aotea Square and Queen St)
  • The Sleeping Beauty, 3-6 December, Royal NZ Ballet, (Aotea Centre, KTK Theatre)
  • AIX in the city – Summer Party, at Le Chef, 4 December
  • Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery, 5 Dec -9 May 2020
  • The Christmas Cup, 17 – 20 December

New attractions Aucklanders and visitors can look forward to include:

  • All Blacks Experience opening 2 December
  • Weta Workshop Unleashed, opening 15 December
  • Spark 5G Race Zone
  • AC36 Race Village