Sonya Bateson

Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

'Joy Story' captures parade's supreme award

Winning the supreme award in the Rotorua Christmas Parade was a "Joy Story'' for the Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church float was the first place-getter in  the not-for-profit category at the parade and also took  the supreme parade award.

It was themed "Joy Story'', a take on the well known children's animated movie Toy Story, featuring a large paper mache version of the toy alien and its claw machine from the movie.

Lanea Strickland, who helped co-ordinate the decorating of the float with her husband, Dwayne, said it was the third time the church had entered the competition and the second time they had won a prize.

She said decorating the float and being part of the parade had brought the church closer together.

"We want to share Jesus with the community for the Christmas period. It took us a week to do the truck.

"Halfway through the week, the truck we were renting had an accident but we were able to get hold of another one.''

With no budget, Mrs Strickland said everything for the float had been made by people bringing stuff from home and

every person had organised their own costumes.

She said they came up with the theme for their float straight after  last year's parade.

"We try and get things everybody recognises then we change it just a little bit. We have so much fun together, it's maybe a different side of us that people can see, showing that even though we're Christians, we can still have fun.''

She said about 40 people of all ages from the church had been part of the parade, including the baby dressed as baby Jesus.

Parade organiser Aaron Gillions said he was impressed with the quality of this year's floats.

"I'm impressed with the weather and the quality of the floats was fantastic.''


He said there were thousands of people lining the streets of the central city to get a look at the parade.

"A lot of the feedback from businesses in town was that town was particularly busy and lots of people came into town to see it.''

Parade winners


First: Maranatha Rotorua (overall winner)

Second: Rotorua BMX

Third: RotoBillys Christmas


First: Fetu O Te Moana

Second: Elstree Kindergarten

Third: Treasure Rotorua


First: Kidz Central

Second: Skyline Jelly Belly

Third: Bunnings


- Rotorua Daily Post

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