Rotorua is aglow with the Christmas spirit as the city welcomes its first Light Rotorua campaign.
The campaign was launched in the City Focus last night with dozens of locals turning out to enjoy a series of Christmas carols and admire the lights that adorn the trees, as well as the recently added Christmas tree that towers over the area, standing about 8m tall.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick addressed the crowd before the big switch-on, which saw trees and parts of the city light up to add to the festive spirit.
Mrs Chadwick said the campaign was all about bringing joy and the Christmas spirit to the Rotorua community.
"This also marks the countdown to Christmas," she said. "Very soon every tree in the central city will be lit up and glowing."
Throughout the campaign there will be competitions and businesses will open until late on Thursdays to take advantage of daylight savings and the Night Market.
Local Jade Rogers took her two sons, 6 and 3, to see the city light up.
"I think it's a great idea, especially for the kids, they love seeing all the trees lit up, and with the Night Market just a short walk away, it couldn't be better," she said.
Ms Rogers was impressed by the effort made by the people organising Light Rotorua and those who are trying to revamp the inner city.
The Light Rotorua campaign has been in the works for six months, after a group of locals got together to share their vision of lighting up Rotorua for Christmas to make 2014 the biggest, brightest Christmas ever.
Several businesses stepped in, along with the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, to get the campaign on track.
Rotorua businesses are encouraged to dress up their shops for the festive season, to take part in the campaign and show their support.
A competition would be held to find the best-lit retail business in the city and the Rudolph the Red Stag Reindeer Hunt will see 20 small reindeer hidden in shops around the city for people to find.
* For more information visit Facebook/lightrotorua or www.lightrotorua.co.nz.