Hundreds turn out for the 82nd Farmers Santa Parade

Santa made his way from the North Pole to Auckland for the annual Farmers Santa parade down Queen St.

As it happened

3.40pm:

The star of the show is at Aotea Square. Santa is so famous he has his own security guard to protect him from hoards of children.

Santa arrives at Aotea Square. Photo / Susan Strongman
Santa arrives at Aotea Square. Photo / Susan Strongman

3pm:

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And the fun continues at Aotea Square, where one of Santa's helpers is singing Jingle Bells with some minion back up singers.

The square is packed with families, including cousins Pasqueena Abba, (R) 9 and Mejock Yor, 7. Photo / Susan Strongman
The square is packed with families, including cousins Pasqueena Abba, (R) 9 and Mejock Yor, 7. Photo / Susan Strongman

2pm:

The crowd at the bottom of Queen St is loving the monster mash zombie float - selfie sticks galore.

The crowd at the bottom of Queen St. Photo / Susan Strongman
The crowd at the bottom of Queen St. Photo / Susan Strongman

1.55pm:

There are squeals of joy at the bottom of Queen St as the crowd gets squirted by water gun wielding houses.


1.50pm: Biggest cheers and applause goes out to the main man Santa as he rolls onto Mayoral Drive on his sleigh flanked by little kiwi birds against a backdrop of a pohutukawa tree.

"Frogs, frogs!" a girl yells out. Photo / Susan Strongman

1.45pm:

Chinese lion dancing is usually performed during Chinese New Year, but here in Auckland the Epacs Lion Dance troupe is happy to be part of the Christmas Parade.

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Chinese lion dancing. Photo / Lincoln Tan
Chinese lion dancing. Photo / Lincoln Tan

1.35pm:

Excited kids are thrilled that more floats are coming from Greys Ave. Fairy tales are coming alive with the Storytime Float featuring Peter Rabbit and Spot the Dog.


1.30pm: Buzzy Bee, the last float has just rolled out as crowds start to disperse from the start point.

Many will now head to Aotea Square to book the best spots for the after party.

Hundreds of excited children watch the parade. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Hundreds of excited children watch the parade. Photo / Jason Oxenham

1.20pm:

A floating Santa Elmo and giant Cookie monster turns Queen St to Sesame St, to the excitement of the little ones. Lucy Gardiner, 24, a single mom to 3 year old Todd she's brought him to the parade this year to prove "Santa's real".

1.10pm:

The Children of the World float, celebrating Auckland's diversity gets waves of approval from the crowd. Father of three, Mel Fernandez, 67, said his kids aged between 8 and 16 are here to see the Filipino group float.

The parade has started. Photo / Jason Oxenham
The parade has started. Photo / Jason Oxenham

1pm:

Festive cops will kick off Santa Parade 2015.

Applause and cheers erupt as Santa Parade begins. Cops on their festive bikes, red and gold fairies on roller blades and Farmer's Christmas elves float gets rolling to a background of the song Celebrations.

Cops on their festive bikes. Photo / Lincoln Tan
Cops on their festive bikes. Photo / Lincoln Tan

12.55pm:

Andy Leung, 22, says he is excited to be one of the carriers of the Farmer's inflated giant balloons that would lead the parade. "I have watched the parade as far back as I can remember and I am so excited to be part of it. It's a childhood dream come true."

Star Wars characters collecting for charity. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Star Wars characters collecting for charity. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Brothers Dylan,7, left, and Woody Percival-Carter arrive early to catch a glimpse of Santa. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Brothers Dylan,7, left, and Woody Percival-Carter arrive early to catch a glimpse of Santa. Photo / Jason Oxenham

12.50pm:

The countdown has begun to the start of the 82nd Farmers Santa Parade in less than 10 minutes. Hundreds have packed the start point at the corner of Albert St and Mayoral wanting to be the first to see the 150 plus floats for 2015.

And for cousins Foni Kalamafoni, 6, and Taani Tonga, 11, it means a chance to tell St Nick what they hope will appear under their Christmas tree on December 24.

This is Foni's first time at a parade - she's come into the CBD from Papatoetoe with her aunt, uncle and cousin, and is hoping Santa will bring her a scooter.

Taani, who lives in Manukau, is a Santa Parade veteran. This is his third time, here.

"I'd like a bike for Christmas," he says.

Taani Tonga and Foni Kalamafoni. Photo / Susan Strongman
Taani Tonga and Foni Kalamafoni. Photo / Susan Strongman

12.40pm:

There is no sign of rain and Santa is likely to sweat in the muggy conditions.

Entertainment before the parade. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Entertainment before the parade. Photo / Jason Oxenham
More entertainment. Photo / Jason Oxenham
More entertainment. Photo / Jason Oxenham

12.30pm:

People are making their way to the parade including the Hits crew.

Today will be a long day for Santa, who is making his way from the North Pole to Auckland for the annual parade down Queen St.

Join us as we cover the event live throughout the day.

What you need to know

Start time:

The parade begins at 1pm on Sunday afternoon and is preceded by an hour of giveaways, samples and pre-parade entertainment.

The parade will take about an hour to pass at any given point and is scheduled to finish at around 2.30pm, followed by Santa's Party from 2.30pm to 5.00pm in Aotea Square.

Route:

The parade leaves from the corner of Cook Street and Mayoral Drive and finishes at Albert and Wellesley Streets after heading down queen St and turning left up Albert.

People are advised to get into the city before 11.30am to avoid frustration with traffic and parking.

The parade route.
The parade route.

Car parking:

There will be parking restrictions in place with inner-city roads closed, however public parking is free at the Downtown and Victoria Street carparks for vehicles exiting between 1pm and 6pm.

Roads with parking restrictions: between 6am and 6pm: Wakefield Street, Mayoral Drive, Queen Street, Wellesley Street West, Albert Street, customs Street East, Tyler Street, Vincent Street, Cook Street, Wellesley Street, Rutland Street, Hobson Street, Commerce Street, Beaumont Street, Halsey STreet, Waterloo Quadrant, Hobson Street, Quay Street, Fanshawe Street, Princess Street, Alfred Street. Between 5am and 6pm: Randolph Street and upper Queen Street.

Road closures:

All inner city roads are closed between 11.30am and 4pm. Parade organisers have recommended arriving before this time to avoid parking issues.

Public transport:

Buses will operate to a Sunday timetable and normal fares/passes will apply. Due to road closures a number of city centre bus stops will be relocated and some route diversions will be in place. Auckland Transport Ambassadors will be on site to assist passengers.

Extra services will run before and after the parade on the following routes:
Howick and Eastern 500 and 550;
Birkenhead Transport 955, 973 and 974;
Go WEST 222 and 224;
Metrolink 249, 258, 267, 277, 305, 625 and 769;
Waka Pacific 328; Northstar 879
Northern Express.

Event trains will be operating approximately every 20-30 minutes on most lines into the city.

Balloons are not allowed on the trains or inside the stations due to the risk of them touching the overhead power lines.

Fullers will be operating additional ferry sailings for the parade between Downtown and Bayswater, Birkenhead/Northcote Point and Half Moon Bay, check Fullers' website for additional times. Normal fares/passes apply.

Fundraising:

Gold con donations for child cancer will be taken at the parade, so bring some change if you wish to contribute.