Santa Claus has admitted being in a bit too much of a rush after being caught speeding on his way to an old folks' home.
"I've been a bit naughty - I ended up in too much of a hurry to deliver everything," said the rogue Santa who talked on condition of anonymity. He had a lot to fit in before Christmas Day, he said.
"But I think I've sent a message out there that Santa's not above the law and he deserved his ticket and he will not be doing it again - and hopefully it's a lesson for everyone else."
Police pulled over the portly, jolly man on Friday in Cornwall St in Masterton. When the officer stopped him, she asked, "Hello, Santa, what were you in a hurry for?"
"I said I was off to the North Pole. I told them, 'Merry Christmas' and they said 'Merry Christmas' and gave me a ticket."
On the way to the North Pole, Santa was visiting a dementia unit "to put some smiles on the dials".
He promised to keep under the speed limit from now on. "You only live once and you die forever, so keep your speed down ... police are only doing their job and Santa deserved a ticket."
Masterton police acting Sergeant Shayne Nolan said not even Father Christmas was exempt from the zero speed tolerance.
Santa was driving 19km/h over the limit, which earned him a $120 ticket and 20 demerit points.
Nolan also wanted to remind Santa and others about the lower alcohol limit for drivers. "We want people to be mindful of the fact that we don't want Santa to get into trouble this year."
Bex Gibson as Santa, swimming inside one of the tanks at Kelly Tarlton's
Meanwhile, Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium aquarist Bex Gibson delighted visiting kids, and kept the resident marine life happy too, when she dressed as Santa while feeding the aquarium's fish yesterday. Another staff member joined her dressed as an elf.
A spokeswoman said the dress-up was a Christmas tradition aimed at putting smiles on kids' faces. The fish weren't unhappy either.
"They're getting fed, that's all they care about. It doesn't matter how the people are dressed when there's food."