The nativity at Rotorua Hospital chapel has its most important member back - baby Jesus.

Last December hospital chaplain Reverend Ray Bloomfield was taking a service and looked over at the manger and noticed it was empty - someone had taken baby Jesus.

The nativity, complete with baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men and some sheep, is made out of calico and was gifted to the hospital several years ago.

While Mary, Joseph and the wise men each stand about 1.2m high, baby Jesus is about 30cm long.


Rotorua Hospital Chaplaincy Trust administrator Alison Lamberton said that after Christmas last year Rotorua woman Heather Horton came to the rescue and contacted them saying she would make a new baby Jesus.

So with the help of her 4-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte Coleman, they set to work making a replacement. The new baby Jesus was presented to Rev Bloomfield this week.

"This just makes the nativity all complete. The message is about Jesus. Without the prime star you don't have a message," Mrs Lamberton said.

"It's like having a birthday party and not having the person [whose birthday it is] attend."

She said they had three new wise men who had been acquired from a ward decorating competition and which Mrs Horton had helped make.

"What were the three wise men have been demoted to shepherds."

However, there were only two shepherds so they needed one more for the nativity and Mrs Horton would make a third.

Mrs Horton said she couldn't believe it when she heard baby Jesus had been taken.

She has worked at the hospital for nearly 30 years and knew she had to help.

Mrs Horton got Charlotte to help sew up the new baby Jesus.

"She wanted to help with everything. She is a typical 4-year-old. She loves to learn. She will be a better sewer than her mum.

"It was just lovely to have [the nativity] all together again."