It was a tough year for workers at Moerewa's Affco freezing works embroiled in a long and bitter industrial dispute - but all that was forgotten on Friday when 600 employees and family members got together to celebrate Christmas on a stunning summer's evening.
All 270 Affco staff, plus vets, inspectors and family members were invited to the party in a field next to the plant. As well as a barbecue - no need to scrimp on meat at this party - staff competed in sack races, gumboot throwing, a three-legged race and a dance-off, while the kids were treated to bouncy castles, hot rods and a visit by Hana Koko (Santa Claus), who arrived on a Kawakawa Fire Brigade truck with a sack of presents big enough to hold something for every child at the party.
Plant manager Christian "Chick" Prime said an annual Christmas party was already a tradition at some Affco plants, but this was the first in Moerewa.
The aim was to bring the community together, he said.
"It's all about getting the families to come in, have a feed, and have a good time."