Goodbye Santa. Today is the last Christmas for the big man who has towered over Aucklanders each festive season for the best part of 60 years.

In that time, he was the world's largest fibreglass Santa when built in 1960, changed hands for $1, lost his wink and moving finger, and crowned the world's creepiest Christmas ornament.

But after being saved from retirement in 2014, the central city's business association Heart of the City announced last month this would be his last festive season atop the Farmers building in Queen St.

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"We know Santa is well-loved by many Aucklanders," Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said, "but sadly, for a combination of reasons, it feels the time is right to retire this model."

The reasons include the need for a fresh paint of the weary Father Christmas, his 18-metre, five-tonne frame costs $200,000 to store, maintain and assemble, and he needs a new home to rest up.

In 2014, SkyCity and family-owned property development company Mansons TCLM committed three years of funding support.

Beck said Mansons had gone way beyond what they agreed to do, but with no confirmation beyond this year, Heart of the City made the call to retire Santa.

"For us to continue with Santa on our own is unsustainable," she said.

He was the world’s largest fibreglass Santa when he was built in 1960. In January of next year, Queen St's giant Santa will be retired. Video / HeartOfTheCity

Will there be another Santa?

"I can't answer that now because we need to think about how we do celebrate Christmas. 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 will hang up his red coat for good on January 10.




Five-tonne, 18m Santa is built by Farmers for its flagship store in Hobson St.

1991-1996: Store sold and Santa is relocated to Manukau Shopping Centre.

1998: Santa sold for $1 to special events executive Stephen Hanford and returned to the Whitcoulls building in Queen St after a $40,000 make-over.

2003: Santa gifted to Whitcoulls.

2008: Whitcoulls gift Santa to the city.

2009: Santa restored, minus his wink and moving finger, at a cost of $100,000.

2011: Santa crowned the world's creepiest Christmas ornament.

2014: Property development company Mansons and SkyCity pledge storage and other costs to keep Santa.

January 10, 2020: Santa retires.