Kaylb Enoka-Blackmore’s mum Lisa is hoping his chance to sit next to Santa on Saturday will bring a great end to a tough year for the 10-year-old.
He was selected to sit in the sought-after spot after Lisa heard there was an opportunity for someone deserving to be Santa’s right-hand man.
Kaylb has Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
“Kaylb’s dad and I separated in December last year, so coming up to a year, so that was a massive adjustment for this little man,” says Lisa.
“Change for him is huge and [having] routine is huge.”
Lisa saw a Facebook post about the local tradition of a deserving person being chosen to sit alongside Santa at the annual Seeka Te Puke Christmas Float Parade that takes place on Saturday.
“He loves Christmas and so when I saw it I thought ‘oh my God, that would just make his year’.”
Lisa didn’t tell Kaylb she had put his name forward and thought about keeping the fact that he had been chosen to herself, so it would be a surprise.
“I was going to keep it a secret, but I’m glad I did tell him to give him time to get used to the idea. He didn’t believe me when I told him.”
Kaylb says he is excited about everything that is going to happen on the day.
“I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but after that, I was fine about it and really excited,” he says.
The family has been in Te Puke for four years and watched the parade every time it has been on in that time.
Kaylb will head to the assembly point behind Te Puke Memorial Hall and meet up with Santa — possibly taking his Christmas present list with him.
“He said to me, ‘I’m going to have to wave all the time’,” says Lisa. “Then he said ‘what am I going to wear?’.”
He has since picked out a red T-shirt and Christmas hat.
Kaylb has been at Rangiuru School for two years.
“They’ve been in on the whole process the whole time and really keep an eye on him and I can’t thank the principal and teachers out there enough,” says Lisa.
“School was the one thing we could keep normal. Five days a week nothing changes, so they’ve really stepped up and done that and it does help because he absolutely loves school and that’s made a massive difference.”
Last week Kaylb was awarded a certificate for being kind and caring towards others.
Lisa says she believes he deserves a special seat in the parade.
“He’s such a cool kid. Kids like Kaylb, they deserve so much more than they are given. So many people think they are just naughty and that is so far from the truth it’s not funny.”
Saturday’s parade starts at 11am and this year features some well-known local faces, including MasterChef NZ 2014 winners Karena and Kasey Bird from Maketū, former All Black Nathan Harris, Ms Woman of the Universe NZ Jerrie-Lee Ngareta Hill and Miss Teen Rotorua Amaleigh Manktelowe.
Also, recently confirmed, are Belle Lyal and Riley Tasker who were part of the cast of Tauranga Musical Theatre’s production of Matilda The Musical at Baycourt Theatre.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor James Denyer will ride in an eye-catching Model-T.
Sally Benning from Epic Te Puke, which organises the parade, says there will be other interesting vehicles, lots of fun, creative floats and food vendors in town.
The parade starts outside Te Puke Memorial Hall and will make two laps of the town centre.