People marvelling at Whangārei’s dazzling Christmas tree may not realise they are looking at a ghost of Christmas past.
Whangārei District Council’s (WDC) previous tree had come to the end of its 10 year lifespan - any hopes of a few extra years dashed by last summer’s weather and vandalism.
However, it lives on via its colourful replacement at Pūtahi Park, in the Town Basin, as it was made using leftovers from the original.
The creative thinking was courtesy of WDC’s venues and events team plus contractor Kyle Telfer from Echo AV.
Venue and events manager Bea Mossop said many of the original tree’s glass baubles had filled with rainwater and crashed to the ground.
" ... other bits were worn out and then a bit of vandalism finished things off. We realised it was a goner and without budget for a new one we started looking for some in-house options.”
Mossop said Telfer went through the leftovers from the old, unusable tree then redesigned it and installed 13,750 mappable outdoor LEDs and a new programming system.
He turned it into a LED lighting show to stand out at night.
“Its display can change colours, turn into a candy cane, have Santa run around the edge; it sparkles and as we add more programming to it, we will be able to add more features and effects to the display,” Mossop said.
“It is a real symbol of Christmas, community, and whānau.”
Mossop said the tree will be the backdrop to a range of performances by community groups from today until Christmas between 4pm and 6pm.