They say you should never work with animals or children - but to fill this Santa's boots you will need to do both.

A leading recruitment agency needs a few new Santas to join their team of jolly happy men spreading joy with a special pet-project for Christmas.

The Recruitment Network is advertising for "jolly and cheery" mature men. Successful Santas must be good with kids and pets - with no allergies to cats or dogs or any other furry critters.

The temporary role is for special after-hours sessions throughout New Zealand - where children can have their photos taken with their pets.

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Holly Baxter from TRN said there were around 20 shopping malls nationwide that had special after hour evenings where animal-lovers could bring the family pet for a photo with Santa.

"We are looking for people who are good with children and animals and who get the magic of Christmas," Baxter said.

Because of the nature of the job a full police check and drug test was a requirement.

The successful Santas would be provided with a magical Santa suit - all they need to provide was their own shiny black boots.

Santas would need also need a sack full of patience and humour - and be able to hold lively conversations with children about their Christmas wishes.

Baxter said there had already been a flood of applications but finding the perfect pet-friendly Santa was a tricky task.

"I have been at TRN for 10 years so have a good group of Santa's who love doing this and have been doing it for years.

"One of our Santas, Max Lucas, is in his 70s and grows his beard especially for Christmas," Baxter said.

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"He is really popular and great with kids and people notice if he is not at the mall - they always want to have their photo with him."

Each Santa would be assigned two elves to help wrangle visitors and take photos - magical iPads provided.