In the heart of Auckland, at the intersection of Queen Street and Albert Street, a huge Santa Claus statue is erected every year before Christmas on one of the old buildings that now houses Whitcoulls Bookstore. It’s the sort of symbol without which it’s hard to imagine pre-Christmas Auckland.
Auckland’s Santa Claus has quite the biography. There was a time when this fairytale character was almost removed from the streets of the city. And all because the first installed in 1960 Santa weathered, his moving eyelids constantly stuck, and in general, according to many people, he looked not very decent. Not very decent in the sense that when his fingers moved, when viewed from certain angles it could appear as if Santa was making a well-known obscene gesture.
Santa Claus on Queen Street in Auckland In democratic New Zealand, most controversial issues are decided by a vote. This is what happened in the case of Santa. In 2008 in Auckland held a vote and it turned out that, despite the unrespectable appearance, the fairy-tale grandfather is still very much loved by the residents of the city. 25-meter figure of Santa for Aucklanders has become a real symbol, part of the historical image of the city. The vast majority of Aucklanders voted in favor of keeping Santa. Interestingly, by the way, the question was quite openly phrased along the lines of whether Aucklanders would agree to the restoration being done at their tax dollars.
After the decision on Santa’s fate was made, he underwent “plastic surgery” that cost the city about 100 thousand dollars. As a result of the “plastic surgery,” Santa’s appearance was greatly improved. In addition, two reindeer were added to keep him company.
Given the amount that was spent on the restoration of Santa, we can assume that he will stay in Oakland for a long time. And indeed, without him, the city would be empty in no time.