Every year on November 25 Glenice Hall illuminates her Whangārei home with thousands of Christmas lights in memory of her grandson who she lost 16 years ago.
Her and husband Lloyd's house, on the corner of Hilltop Avenue and Tikorangi Place, is famous in Whangārei for its magical drive through Christmas display and wishing well.
Hall says she started with a small display about 24 years ago - a few lights hanging from the balcony and in the windows - when she was living at a house across the road.
That display grew bigger and bigger once she moved to her current house, and following the passing of her grandson.
"We had a grandson going through cancer, he was only 5 - he died at 7. He used to come over and help me - he used to love the lights. So I light up on the 25th of November because that's his day of passing, so I light up for him," she said.
Hall says it was a love of Christmas that led her to start decorating her home.
"I don't have Christmas inside but I have it outside for everybody to enjoy. And that's what I like about it. Christmas is sharing, to me, and caring. I just share it out there. It's a pleasure for everyone to go through there."
Three weeks before November 25, Hall starts decorating - and she does it all on her own.
"Most evenings you'll see me with a fishing rod throwing [the lights] over the bushes. It gives me the height to get up to the top of the trees. The grandkids come and put the roof (lights) up for me," she said.
Hall has a lot of solar lights so the display only adds about an extra $20 to the power bill.
She said for the last five years she's been saying it'll be her last year of lights, but the public have kept her going.
It's been particularly tough after her sister Dorothy passed away two years ago.
"Since she's been gone I've struggled to do it. But I felt obliged to for the public because they're so used to coming here every Christmas," she said.
The wishing well is a key feature of the display. The first couple of years the money went to families dealing with child cancer and it has since supported Hospice; Northland Rescue Helicopter; and this year it will go to the SPCA.
Hall said she is supportive of new displays and believes they deserve more attention.
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• Beach Rd, Onerahi (between Pah Rd and Johnston St)
• 318 One Tree Point Rd, Ruakākā
• State Highway One, Kaiwaka
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