This Christmas, Taihape woman Davina Witika has taken over the annual community dinner.

With her team of Christmas helpers, Ms Witika is already under way preparing the menu, decorations, tree and urging guests to bring a $3 to $5 secret Santa present.

Christmas morning will start for the special team at 6am.

"There is no fuss, no bother, because so many of us involved in every bit of preparation."


Ms Witika promises the dinner will be "spectacular".

For local people it was very special to surround yourself with other people from the community, she said.

Dinner will be served in the cafe/hub at Taihape Area School.

The cafeteria will be set up with tables, tinsel, a Christmas tree, streamers, lolly trees and a pile of gifts from the churches in the area.

"I'm happy. I said yes because I love cooking Christmas dinner and I have lovely volunteers helping me."

On Christmas Eve, the volunteer team go in to decorate the large cafeteria. Tables are covered with festive cloths and napkins and centrepieces, and Christmas music will be played.

Arrival time for guests is 11am, and on every table will be a bottle of sparkling grape juice with other soft drinks available.

At 12.30pm, dinner is served.

"It's absolutely everything you'd expect - ham, chicken, roast vegetables, gravy, salads, pavlovas, trifle and Christmas cake. Local businesses donate all the food. It is a wonderful atmosphere.

"Everyone is welcome. The spirit of Christmas is strong in Taihape," she said.

This Christmas, the Taihape Community Development Trust is helping and Rangitikei District mayor Andy Watson and his wife will be special guests.