Santa Claus will have his work cut out in the Far North this week with eight events packed into just three days.
Santa — or Hana Kōkō as he's better known in these parts — will make his first Far North appearance at Kaikohe's Pioneer Village this Thursday, where Christmas in the Village will be held from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.
Around the same time, at 5.30pm, Santa and his many body doubles are expected to take part in a fundraising Santa Run around Kerikeri Domain.
From 5.30pm on Friday Santa will join Paihia's Christmas parade, which is known for its creativity and intense competition among float builders.
The parade will follow the usual route from Kings Rd along the waterfront to Bayview Rd and Selwyn Rd, ending at Williams Rd where the winners will be announced. This year's event has a Dr Seuss theme with entrants encouraged to avoid balloons, tinsel, glitter and plastic to be kinder to the environment.
• Whangārei starts festive season with Northland's largest Christmas parade and festival
• Northland news in brief: Santa run and North ideal for 'vanlife'
• Santa's booked for Saturday in Kaitaia
• Santa Claus is on his way
Santa will then need to rev up the reindeer to get to Rawene in time for Christmas in the Park, which will be held in the school grounds from 6pm to 9pm.
The event will feature live music, kids' rides, a hāngī, stalls and a professional pyrotechnics show with $4000 of fireworks going up in smoke in eight minutes. Hana Kōkō will arrive on a sled pulled by a quad bike.
Kerikeri's Christmas parade will start at noon on Saturday with floats making their way through town and around the one-way loop followed by entertainment at the Domain, including the Ronald McDonald Show at 1pm. Prizes will be awarded for best floats and best-decorated bicycles.
Santa will also put in an appearance at the same time in Whangaroa — we told you he was going to be busy! — for the Kaeo Christmas parade culminating in a festival and free concert in the college grounds.
Around 11am State Highway 1 through Kawakawa will be closed to make way for a great train robbery at 11.30am followed by the parade proper at noon.
Afterwards parade-goers will be invited to nearby Johnson Park to take part in the inaugural Te Ohowhakarere Māori Language Festival where people will be encouraged to give te reo a go at a range of kai and craft stalls.
Also on Saturday, Shine Kaitaia will hold a Santa parade down the main street from 1pm followed by a Christmas concert and Santa's grotto at Jaycee Park (on South Rd, next to the playground) until 7pm. Other entertainment will be staged next to the old Pak 'n Save carpark from 11am-12.30pm.
The following Friday, December 13, Santa will head back to the Bay of Islands where community group Our Kerikeri is organising Kirihimete ki Kororipo/Christmas in the Park from 6.30pm near the Stone Store. The new event will feature carol singing and local performers.
On Saturday, December 14, Hana Kōkō will make his way to Simson Park for Moerewa's Christmas in the Park where he will have gift for every child.
The 10am to 2pm festival will also feature kai stalls, entertainment, face painting and wheelbarrow races, a Moerewa tradition dating back to the 1960s which organisers are keen to bring back to life.
Also on December 14, Okaihau will hold its annual Christmas parade down Settlers Way from 10am; while Russell reisdents will wrap up Santa's busy schedule with a parade from 3pm on Sunday, December 22.
Santa's Far North schedule
■ Christmas in the Village, Pioneer Village, Kaikohe, 4.30pm
■ Santa Run, Kerikeri Domain, 5.30pm
■ Paihia Christmas parade, 5.30pm
■ Christmas in the Park, Rawene School grounds, 6pm
■ Kerikeri Christmas parade, noon
■ Kaeo Christmas parade, noon
■ Kawakawa Christmas parade, noon
■ Kaitaia Christmas parade, 1pm
■ Christmas in the Park, Kerikeri Basin, 6.30pm
■ Christmas in the Park, Simson Park, Moerewa, 10am
■ Ōkaihau Christmas parade, 10am
■ Russell Christmas parade, 3pm