When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Ōhaeawai does not hide its light under a bushel. The residents spare no effort to create a colourful yuletide oasis with a letterbox-decorating challenge, a tradition that sees usually functional letterboxes transformed into reindeer, pot-bellied Santas and snowmen, or just buried under tinsel and baubles.

This year's winner was Jo Rameka, on SH1, just up from the hotel. Another standout was a snowman made from tyres by the Davis-Tane whānau, 7-year-old Legacy Davis saying they had painted the tyres white then added a real scarf, bottle caps for buttons and yoghurt pot lids for eyes.

The competition, along with a town Christmas party at Te Corner, is organised by Ōhaeawai-Taiamai Residents Association chairwoman Tracey Albert. This year's party featured a visit from Santa (who ditched his sleigh in favour of a forklift), a lolly scramble, bouncy castle and singing.