The 19-metre-tall ornament was first installed in 1960.
Everyone has a Giant Santa story
The behemoth 19-metre-tall ornament has been bringing festive cheer to the city for the best part of six decades — despite its creepy come hither finger and winking stage. But now the city's Giant Santa and accompanying giant reindeer and gifts are taking a one-way trip back to the North Pole (or garbage dump) after one final Christmas.
The Santa was first installed on the Farmers building on Hobson Street in 1960, crowned as the largest fibreglass Santa in the world. It then enjoyed a stint in Manukau, before losing the trademark finger and wink in a $100,000 makeover for its most recent home on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in Auckland CBD. Every festive season, the whole five-tonne frame stops traffic as it's erected above Farmers.
Heart of the City says there are a combination of reasons why Giant Santa is retiring. "We love Santa too so it wasn't an easy decision but to store, maintain and assemble Santa costs over two hundred thousand dollars a year and with another refresh due imminently, now is a fitting time for Santa to take a well-earned rest."
The organisation says it is already underway in thinking about how Christmas could be celebrated here in the future. "In the new year we will involve the city centre community in exploring what Christmas 2020 and beyond could look like."
There's still plenty of festive cheer to experience in the CBD, from larger-than-life decorations to Santa's Enchanted Forest at Smith & Caughey's and the Late Night Christmas event on 19 December featuring over 90 street performances.
Giant Santa will appear one last time from Sunday 10 November before hanging up his red coat for good on Friday 10 January. If you would like to say goodbye to Santa and share your special memories you can upload them via Heart of the City or share them using the hashtag #FarewellSanta.
Image: THOUSANDS WATCH THE 1983 FARMERS SANTA PARADE PASS THE 79 FOOT GIANT SANTA OUTSIDE THE HOBSON STREET STORE / form concreteplayground.com