The world's largest fibreglass Santa has been an iconic part of Christmas in Auckland for the last nearly 60 years.
But many people on Queen St are happy to see him retire next year, saying he is too creepy.
The Herald revealed yesterday that the Auckland CBD's larger-than-life symbol of the festive season, installed every year on the front of the Farmers building at the intersection with Victoria St, was set for a final showing in 2019.
The reasons for Santa's retirement include a new paint job, and the $200,000 cost to store, maintain and assemble his 18m, five-tonne frame.
The central city's business association Heart of the City is looking at options to replace the iconic Santa.
Opinion was divided on the streets of the CBD yesterday on his demise.
Sandra, from Dunedin, said the Santa statue was ugly and needed to go.
"We've seen it on TV for years and years; and just cannot believe they keep putting it up," she said.
Sarah, 17 from Auckland, said it was Santa's eyes that were the problem.
"One eye is kinda misty and it gives you a creepy, eerie vibe," she said.
"The idea is nice, how it announces Christmas to the city – but I think it is time to retire Santa."
Aleisha, a Wellingtonian visiting Auckland for a concert, said the statue was a local icon, despite being creepy.
"I think he is creepy in an endearing kind of way," she said. "He is part of the furniture."
However, Santa still has fans who see him as an important part of the Christmas tradition.
One woman told the Herald on Sunday she had some reservations about his hazy eyes but was still sad to see him go.
"I think it is lovely because it is a regular occurrence, it's traditional," she said. "He does need a bit of work though; his eyes look like they have cataracts."
Tiva, another Auckland woman, described herself as a dedicated Santa fan.
She has attended the annual Santa Parade with her grandchildren ever since she moved to Auckland eight years ago.
"Every Christmas, I come down with my mokopuna to see Santa and we are always so excited about it."
Tiva strongly disagreed that Santa was creepy and said he was an important part of the Christmas season.
"What's so creepy about him? He is all dressed up and has a lovely face. He just represents the happy season and people should see it as a happy representation, not a creepy one," she said.
"Why would we take him out? Christmas is constant; year to year it doesn't change."
Ten years ago, Santa's moving finger, beckoning children to come and see him, and his winking eye were replaced with static ones.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck told the Herald on Sunday the Santa was well-loved by many Aucklanders, but in the face of an expensive upgrade it was the right time for his retirement.
Beck was unable to confirm if there would be a replacement Santa in the future.
"It's important we don't lose all the traditions of Santa but how we represent that from next year onwards we haven't confirmed yet. It may or may not have another Santa," Beck said.
Santa was earlier saved from retirement in 2014 after SkyCity and family-owned property development company Mansons TCLM committed three years of funding.