The little Rangitīkei town of Bulls pulled together a Christmas parade on Saturday to rival any bigger centre, community development manager Jan Harris says.
State highways were closed and traffic diverted on the morning of December 1, to allow the 48 wheeled and walking floats in the parade to circulate the town twice. The streets were packed, as was the town hall where Santa gave out presents and talked to children.
There was face painting, stalls, lolly scrambles and 400 helium balloons were given away.
"Lots of fun was had by all. It's a huge community pulling together to provide resources. For a small town like Bulls we pack a big punch," Harris said.
The annual parade is always on the first weekend in December. The floats this year included mini stockcars, Jesus being towed behind a tractor, gigantic agricultural machinery, people dressed as animals and bees - and, of course, Santa, with reindeer and a sleigh.
The three best floats received certificates.
After the parade, Santa went into a spectacular "cave" inside the town hall. For a gold coin children could talk to him and be given a present.
"He was amazing to the kids. I heard him say 'How long is your list? You know Santa can't afford to give everybody everything they want'," Harris said.
The day is an important one for local fundraising, too.
"The biggest focus of the day is about community supporting community. I must have spent about $80 on raffle tickets to support everybody."
A group of volunteers helped Harris organise the day. The fire brigade was "often the grunt behind all sorts of things" in Bulls, she said. Its volunteers blew up the helium balloons.
She had special thanks for three people who helped all week: Kevin and Marilyn Ellery and James O'Regan.