Kim Dotcom wanted for Kaikohe Santa

By Peter de Graaf

If this year's Santa has no need for a pillow under his suit and says ''ho ho ho'' with a German accent, you'll know Kim Dotcom has accepted his invitation to take part in Kaikohe's Christmas parade.

When Mike Shaw, one of the organisers of Kaikohe's Shine Festival, was looking for a Santa for Saturday's parade, it occurred to him that the German internet mogul would be ideal.

Mr Shaw made contact and sent an invitation which, unfortunately, Mr Dotcom has yet to respond to - possibly because he is preoccupied with his court battle to avoid extradition to the USA. Mr Shaw has not entirely given up hope, however.

''He's a high-profile celebrity with an imposing figure and a little bit of infamy. He fits the physical attributes. You wouldn't be able to miss him.''

Mr Dotcom's offer of free broadband for all New Zealanders also seemed a very Santa-like offer, Mr Shaw said.

Although the internet entrepreneur was accused of breach of copyright in the US, many Kiwis sympathised with him.

''As New Zealanders, we like to back the underdog. We like to see someone have his day in court and come up smelling like roses.''

Mr Shaw, a pastor at Heart of the North Celebration Centre, added that no one would mess with a Santa of Mr Dotcom's stature - a possible reference to the infamous 1991 incident when Santa was mugged following Kaikohe's Christmas parade.

The parade will start at the RSA at 1pm and is themed ''animal and bird world''. Stand-ins for Mr Dotcom have been auditioning at Santa's grotto on Broadway. 

A plethora of Christmas parades is planned around the North this weekend. Moerewa has a festival at Simson Park on Friday afternoon while Kerikeri's parade kicks off at 6pm. On Saturday Santa heads to Rawene (10am), Dargaville (noon), Kaeo (parade at noon, festival at Whangaroa College until 4pm) and Kaikohe (1pm, world record guitar-playing attempt 4-7pm).

Among the parades coming up the following weekend is one which caused outrage among concerned citizenry last year. Moral indignation swept Paihia after it was rumoured that one float would involve nudity and whipping. Unfortunately the rumour was untrue, but there were a lot of muscular men in body paint and loincloths. 

- Northern Advocate

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