The Raetihi community is gearing up for a cracker of a Christmas carnival and parade this year.

Organiser Alison Hope said the parade keeps growing and there will be new attractions for locals and visitors this year.

"No one can remember how long Raetihi has been having a Christmas Parade, but locals agree it's been a fixture on the town's calendar for many years," she says.

Alison has been the main co-ordinator since 2009, and every year she strives to add something new to the line-up.


"I feel it's important to have new and different things, to keep people interested and give them something else to experience".

Alison says the 2016 event, on December 10, has a new heritage Christmas cake competition, where people can bust out their favourite recipes and show that "grandma knew a thing or two".

The cakes are required to be "bread and butter plate size" and they will be judged on the day of the parade with cash prizes on offer.

"Also new for this year is the opportunity to meet Santa before the parade starts at noon.
"He will be in his cave from 10am until 11am for photo opportunities with the kids."

The decorated bike contest has expanded to include new categories for trikes, scooters and prams.

Also new to the carnival this year is "the drench" where contestants can throw a ball at a bucket of water with the intention of saturating a willing victim perched on a chair.

Alison said those willing to test their nerves on the chair should bring some dry clothes, or a rain poncho.

Parade committee members will be wandering the closed off section of Seddon Street to hand out spot prizes to people who come in fancy dress with Christmas colours.

"I've got a great committee this year" says Alison.

"It's wonderful to have new people and new ideas, and the more helpers the better".

There will be live music and entertainment from local bands and stalls will be open from 9am before the float parade starts at noon.

The 2015 carnival was marred by a power outage, which meant that local cafes and shops missed out on business.

Alison said that although the parade went ahead and was one of the best ever, it was a real blow to local business and she hopes there will be no setbacks to what promises to be a perfect day this year.

Anyone wishing to participate or learn more about the carnival can call Alison Hope on 06 385 4108 or email