The Collinson and Cunninghame Monkey Band are still playing in Santa's Cave in Manawatū every Christmas, 100 years after they started.

Programme developer Tony Rasmussen said, however, there were repairs needed to the puppets that made up the monkey band in Santa's Cave at Te Manawa.

"They require careful conservation treatment by museum professionals."

The cave was now on to its third train set, which had the tech workings of the 21st century which could slow the engine to go up a rise or return it to move along the tracks at speed.


Santa has settled in again on his throne where he hears everything from hopeful children, and in return makes them smile or terrifies them.

Santa has been working in the cave for 20 years and was formerly Farmers' Santa.

"I asked for Santa to be drawn into my contract."

Collinson and Cunninghame's department store was established in 1904 by Leo Collinson and John Cunninghame in Palmerston North.

Santa's Cave was created in 1918 when New Zealand was reeling from the combined effects of the end of World War I and the influenza pandemic.

It was opened in the shop basement with Santa and puppets, and 5000 Palmerston North children each received a present that year.

It stayed within the Collinson and Cunninghame families until sold in 1983 to Farmers Trading.

Made with funding from