Kaitaia's Christmas Parade will feature the jolly man wearing a traditional red-and-white Santa outfit.

The event on December 15 will be in contrast to some other parades this year, where Santa had a less traditional portrayal.

In Kawakawa on Saturday, there were no complaints when Santa was played by a woman. This followed controversy in Auckland when the long-standing Santa said he would not cast a woman as Santa.

In Nelson on Sunday, Santa wore a red korowai and had a taiaha. The portrayal, which also did not have a Santa hat or beard, had children questioning "where's Santa?"
But tradition will be upheld in Kaitaia this year.


Sadly, the man who normally played Santa, Norm Bryan, had passed away, said an organiser, Kirsty Saxon. She felt it was not appropriate to comment on the appearance of Santa this year, other than to say there would be a traditional Santa suit.

The Christmas Parade successfully returned to Kaitaia last year after a hiatus for several years. It now forms part of a day-long festival.

The event was all about the children, said Shirley Williams from the Far North Avocado Festival Trust, which was passing the event on to He Whanau Marama Trust and Shine on Kaitaia.

"I remember my family when the Kaitaia Christmas Carnival came around, we would dress up and Dad would hand out icecreams. It's pleasing to see, after years of service as a trustee, that there's an organisation keen to get involved with youth of our area to keep this annual event going for the community."

The event on Saturday, December 15, includes a mini Christmas festival with food stalls, Santa photos and a three-on-three basketball tournament, all held at the old Pak'nSave carpark.

After the parade at 2pm, the activities will return to the car park where there will be a free Christmas concert, including carols by the Kaitaia Community Choir, performances by some of the Far North's Got Talent participants and guest acts. Community and business groups were still invited to enter floats.