parade may have sparked a social media storm but things are fortunately very different in the North.

In fact, if the Santa Claus — or Hana Kōkō in te reo — that arrives by waka in Waitangi next week isn't Māori, there won't be nationwide controversy but there might be a few quizzical looks and raised eyebrows.

Since 2015 Hana Kōkō has been ditching his sleigh before he arrives in the Bay of Islands and bringing his sack of presents by waka ama instead.

This year the big guy in red is expected to paddle ashore around noon on Thursday, December 20, on Tii Beach, near the Waitangi roundabout.


To celebrate the occasion members of the Waitangi Kaihoe Waka Ama Club and Blue Light, the police youth organisation, will be holding a fun day on the beach from 11am to 2pm.

Attractions will include beach games, a free sausage sizzle, music, paddle boards and waka, and supervised swimming.

Youth Constable Rob Cameron said everyone was welcome and Hana Kōkō would bring gifts for all children who were there to meet him.

The aim of the day was to put a distinctly Waitangi spin on Christmas.

''We're all about whanaungatanga, families, being together, enjoying each other's company and celebrating Christmas,'' he said.