The Rotorua Hospital chapel is spreading festive cheer with the area decorated to remember the deeper meaning of Christmas.

The chapel team of 12 volunteers, organised and participated in a competition among the hospital's 13 wards to decorate their sections based on the theme, 'Road to Bethlehem.'

The Elderly Services department took out top honours but many people commented on the efforts made in the sanctuary area of the hospital.

Alison Lamberton, chapel administrator, said their volunteers spent a month from planning to set up their interactive display. Visitors can walk down a path and take in the different sections such as the fuel stops for mules, thirst busters - water from the well and an ATM - tax collection. People could also sign the 'Roman Census' using a quills made from falcons' feathers which were donated by Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre.


The path led towards the nativity scene, which was the main focus of the display, Mrs Lamberton said. "It's been amazing seeing the people coming in and watching the awe on their faces," she said. "We're just wanting to give people some sort of joy and that Christmas isn't always about receiving and Santa Claus."

Mrs Lamberton said patients and their families often visit the chapel as it provided a place of solitude and quiet often during a stressful time. A church service is also held every Sunday with different denominations throughout Rotorua volunteering to go around the wards, invite and collecting patients to take part.

The chapel team also organised a Christmas carols service last night.

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