Rotorua's Christmas tree set to return to city centre

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A contractor adds lights to the Christmas tree in the old City Focus last year.
A contractor adds lights to the Christmas tree in the old City Focus last year.

Rotorua's metal-framed Christmas tree is returning to the City Focus - this time with decorations.

Rotorua Lakes Council will set up the $26,000 Christmas tree in the former City Focus and will hold a special ceremony next Thursday, with its lights will be switched on from 7pm.

As part of it, people are encouraged to bring along a can to go towards the Rotorua Daily Post Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, which aims to re-stock the organisation's foodbank.

The public are also invited along to enjoy singing and music, featuring the Western Heights High School Choir led by Evelyn Falconer, and the Salvation Army Band.

The ceremony will coincide with the summer extension of the Rotorua Night Market and market-goers will be invited to gather around the tree for the lighting ceremony.

Meanwhile, a local weaver has contributed to the decorations for the tree.

Anna Hayes, from Maori Weaving Rotorua, has created 16m of harakeke rope and 30 muka ties, from which locally made wooden decorations will hang.

The metal-framed Christmas tree, which was put up for the first time last year, replaced its predecessor which was damaged beyond repair when it was blown over by wind in 2014.

This year it will be decked out in green tinsel to cover its frame with decorations including locally made wooden creations.

The council's project manager Mandy Godo said last year some of the decorations were found to be past their use-by date or were damaged and couldn't be re-used.

"This year we have had advice from a company which supplies decorations to many councils and commercial-sized decorations were ordered well in advance."

The tree will add to the lighting already established in the inner city through the Light Rotorua campaign which encouraged retailers to light up their verandas and windows.

Several alleyways in the central city are also lit, along with trees along Arawa St and more recently, the ginkgo tree in Kuirau Park, at the intersection of Arawa and Ranolf Sts.

This week one of Rotorua's former official public Christmas trees, the sequoia on the lake shore in line with the end of Fenton St, was lit to add some festive cheer at the lakefront.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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