In a year we won't forget, this year's community Christmas tree will be one to remember.
In place from December 1, the 2020 Rotorua Christmas Tree located in Te Manawa offers a uniquely Kiwi twist on traditional festive decorations.
Titled Ngā Manu o Aotearoa, the design celebrates New Zealand's native birds, showcasing piwakawaka (fantail), miromiro (tomtit), tui, takahē, kiwi, pūkeko, kereru (wood pigeon), kea and kārearea (New Zealand Falcon).
Accompanying the flock will be a soundscape playing individual bird songs and a combined dawn chorus.
The Department of Conservation provided the recordings and local business, Light It Up AV, have created a beautiful soundscape.
Visitors are invited to share in this interactive experience by finding all 10 birds and then matching the songs to them.
Artists Imogen Zino and Zoe McBride created the vision, which sees bird silhouettes, drawn by local artist Matangireia Yates-Francis, fly around the tree.
Made from incandescent fabric, the surface of the birds responds to light and rain transforming the look from day to night.
"Birds of Aotearoa is a concept Zoe and I were very excited to be able to bring to life," Zino said.
"It celebrates native birds and in particular one of Aotearoa's most spectacular birds, the kārearea.
"At night-time we invite you to shine a light on the tree, revealing the soft glow of the birds."
The concept was unanimously chosen by a panel of six judges following a call to artists in July 2020.
Artists were asked to submit proposals to 'create a fresh new look for the city Christmas tree, with a truly New Zealand/Kiwiana theme'.
Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust committee member Jo-Anne LaGrouw was one of the local judges who selected Ngā Manu o Aotearoa.
"Native bird silhouettes will spiral around the tree and sit in various poses," she said.
"The silver sailcloth depicting the birds will not only shimmer in the sunlight but also reflect lights at night.
"This year's Christmas tree will have a very different look while still incorporating the candy canes of last year. It will be a very New Zealand Christmas tree."
The Rotorua community was welcome to attend a talk given by the artists explaining their process and the unique design material they had chosen to use.
This talk would take place at the Rotorua Library on Tuesday, December 1, at 4.30pm.
Local primary and intermediate schools were also invited to be part of the tree design this year.
Eleven candy canes from previous years were distributed to schools so they could decorate 'in a way that represents what a Kiwi Christmas means to them'.
These colourful candy canes were made by the following schools: Aorangi School, Bethlehem College Chapman, Kingslea School, Lynmore Primary School, Malfroy School (Montessori Unit), Ngongotahā School, Ōtonga Road Primary School, St Mary's Primary School, Sunset Primary School, Upper Atiamuri School and Westbrook School.
This year's community tree received generous funding from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust.
Head down to Te Manawa from December 1 until January 11 2021 to view the Rotorua Christmas tree.