Christmas decorations like no other have been put up at Waikanae Baptist Church for all to enjoy this Christmas.

Featuring a forest of trees made from anything and everything, the church building has been transformed into a grotto by the church in collaboration with many groups from the community.

The creation is Lights on Te Moana, a free indoor Christmas Tree Wonderland and Cafe for all ages.

Christmas trees made out of knitted squares, golf clubs, driftwood, surfboards, masks, glass angels, nativity sets, fairy lights, stars, tyres will all feature along with your more normal Christmas tree decorations.

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A glow in the dark section can be found by entering through a walk-in tree. Photo / Rosalie Willis
A glow in the dark section can be found by entering through a walk-in tree. Photo / Rosalie Willis

"We want to bring the message of Christmas to our community," organiser Gloria Hakkens said.

"We want to bring the real meaning of Christmas.

"We're not happy with 'happy holidays' — we want to bring Christmas.

"We are thrilled with how inter-denominational it has come with many other churches doing trees.

"It's not just the church too.

Many groups in the community contributed trees and decorations.
Many groups in the community contributed trees and decorations.

"We have trees from lots of places — sports clubs, retirement homes, craft groups, schools, Menzshed Kāpiti, the fire brigade, Spectrum Collision Repairs are planning on making a snowman made from tyres and even dance schools like DAPA are making a tree."

Starting the event last year with around 50 trees, an explosion of activity this year has resulted in it being more than double the size.

There's a summer beach section featuring a Christmas tree made out of an old surf board, a beach bach and boardwalk, a winter wonderland section with white trees and fake snow, along with a nativity scene set at night with stars and lights.

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Christmas isn't complete without the nativity scene.
Christmas isn't complete without the nativity scene.

"This year we have six rooms full of Christmas trees and decorations."

The idea came from the Waikanae Baptist Church, with the craft group that comes in on a Thursday morning spearheading the start of the project.

"Without them we wouldn't have been able to do it.

"When we tried to describe to the church what it would be, it was hard as we didn't exactly know either.

"It's hard to capture a creative vision when it's not your own, but now it's coming together."

A knitted Christmas tree.
A knitted Christmas tree.

Getting trees from the dump throughout the year, members of the church have spent the last month creating the vision and last week came together for a solid week of manpower to finish off the job.

With everyone contributing, including key sponsors Countdown and Menzshed, some people, like Linda Fordyce, took time off work to help.

Working at Pataka in Porirua coordinating projects and installation displays for her day job, Linda has played a crucial role in creating the vision.

"Linda does all the nativity section and works out the floor plan and where everything will fit.

"She does it beautifully."

Taking the week off work, it is no holiday for Linda.

"This is probably the busiest week of the year for me," Linda said.

With so many people involved there are many stories behind the trees.

"There are a lot of special stories from the trees and groups that have made them, but the knitted tree is extra special," Gloria said.

Created by the Thursday morning craft group, the group has worked all year on creating knitted squares for the tree.

After Christmas the squares will be put together in quilts for the homeless.

Lights on Te Moana featuring the Christmas Tree Wonderland and Cafe, is open from 8pm-10pm at Waikanae Baptist Church, 286 Te Moana Rd, until Christmas Eve, free for everyone, with refreshments and treats for children.