The festive mood has turned sour for some Onerahi residents as their annual Christmas parade has been cancelled this year.
Because of issues with traffic congestion in previous years, parade organisers Onerahi Community Association have backed out of the event and decided to hold a Christmas carnival instead.
Onerahi man Jeff Pipe, winner of last year's float competition, is disappointed by the decision:
"It's Onerahi's one and only social occasion where the whole community gets together. It's an absolutely fantastic day, and it's just not fair."
Pipe, who volunteers for the local fire brigade, built his first-ever float last year and themed it around fire safety at home.
"I spent a lot of time making the float and built it to be reused year after year with different safety messages.
"This time, I was planning to have a Santa with a safety belt," Pipe said.
According to the organisers, people had been complaining about the traffic congestion that builds up while the parade is being held.
The OCA usually blocks off a section of Onerahi Rd for 15-30 minutes while the parade is taking place.
OCA chairperson, Nicholas Connop, says he was upset by the parade cancellation, too, but the association was trying to make the best out of the situation.
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"There was no easy way around this. It's unfortunate, but we're trying to do what we can to organise a great event this year," Connop said.
The carnival will be held at Sherwood Park and Community Centre on December 14 with a bouncy castle, food and craft stalls, activities for children, and the traditional fire engine.
There will also be a prize giving for the best decorated bikes and mobility scooters.
Pipe doesn't believe that the gala would attract the same amount of people without the popular parade.
"I have difficulty to see the success of the event. And it's not only me; I know a number of people are upset," he said.
Pipe says instead of cancelling the parade he would for organisers to find alternative routes for parade like Beach Rd, the airport or Raumati Cres.
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While the parade cancellation is causing upset in Onerahi, Kamo locals can be relieved as their Christmas parade got the green light after fears insufficient funding would stop the 40-year community tradition.
In July, parade organisers Kamo Community Inc announced that the event was at the verge of being cancelled as they couldn't cover the increasing costs anymore – especially expenditures for traffic management had caused headaches for the organisers.
Since then, the community association has received grants from the Whangarei District Council and the Grassroots Trust to afford the $9000 cost for the parade.
Kamo Community Inc chairman Colin Twyman says everyone was relieved that the parade is going ahead on November 30.
"We went through various scenarios, including moving the parade into town. It was a battle," Twyman said.
Kamo business Kia Tupato Security and Traffic offered support with the traffic management which will see the Kamo Rd intersection completely closed off from 9am.
Twyman said the festivity planning was still in the early stages, but there will be market stalls, entertainment from buskers, the annual motorbike parade, a display of classic cars and, of course, Santa will be awaiting the children.
The word on the street
We asked Onerahi locals what they thought about the parade being cancelled due to traffic congestion.
"Everyone here enjoys the parade and I'm sure they'll miss it. It's a real shame. I don't know why people are going on about the traffic."
"They only do two circuits around the block. I can't see why people can't enjoy it. It's a damn shame."
"It's about the community and the kids. It only takes half an hour and it's not worth a big drama. Everybody is too much in a hurry all the time."
"It really sucks. Kids are always looking forward to the parade."