Christmas in the Park Tūrangi 2019 is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever.

Tangonui Kingi, spokesman for Safe Tūrangi, says the event has grown from humble beginnings.

"Each year, as a committee we give ourselves the challenge to grow the event," he says.

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Crowds enjoying the live entertainment at the 2018 Turangi Christmas Parade.
Crowds enjoying the live entertainment at the 2018 Turangi Christmas Parade.

Tangonui says Christmas in the Park Tūrangi gives the community something to look forward to and celebrate.

"It can be a stressful time of year for families. We want to give them a break and make it a free event."

Celebrations begin with a Santa Parade, starting from Tongariro School sports field. Registrations for floats are open and they are hoping for more. There are cash prizes to be won, plus there is the fun of taking part in the parade.

The Tu Meke talent show kicks off after the Santa Parade. Tu meke translates as 'primo talent' and Tangonui says he can't wait to see the finalists perform on stage on Saturday.

There will be plenty of family entertainment on offer.

"Come along, enjoy yourself. Bring your friends and family. There are a tonne of amusements for the kids of all ages."

Songstress Aaradhna headlines the live music at this years Tūrangi Christmas in the Park. Photo / Norrie Montgomery.
Songstress Aaradhna headlines the live music at this years Tūrangi Christmas in the Park. Photo / Norrie Montgomery.

Tangonui says the committee puts a big effort into identifying entertainers that are relevant to the Tūrangi community.

"We got Stan Walker last year. Auckland Christmas in the Park missed out!

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"In our approach to him we made it human. We said, 'Stan we need your help, some of our kids are screaming out'.

This year the committee is pleased to have scored award-winning hip hop, soul artist Aaradhna as headline act. Of Indian and Samoan descent, Aaradhna's latest album Brown Girl addresses topics like race relations, judgment, broken hearts and politics.

Tangonui said there was a high demand for The Harmonic Resonators from older residents.

"They are a Tauranga-based band, singing country music and folk songs in te reo Māori,"

The band formed two years ago after meeting at the Morrinsville Country Music Club and says they love sharing much-loved waiata with new audiences. Learning te reo is a challenge they have set themselves, with band members at varying stages of fluency.

Of Kai Tahu and Tūwharetoa descent, Sianne Dougherty is a young singer who grew up believing she had no talent and credits her singing talent to her family's broken car stereo. Tangonui says he hopes Sianne's singing talent will appeal to Tūrangi youth.

The grand finale for the evening is a fireworks show.

Tangonui thanked principal sponsor Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and sponsor Safe Tūrangi.

*Christmas in the Park Tūrangi kicks off at 3pm with the parade through town and then continues on the Tongariro School sportsfields.