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The 2020 Waihī Christmas Parade. Photo: VICKI BEVERIDGE/WAIHI LIONS

Park Christmas replaces Waihī parade

One of the organisers of Waihī’s Christmas events says it’d be cheaper to give every retailer along the main street money, than to have to pay for traffic management costs for a parade.
It’s this reason that this year there will not be a Santa Parade in Waihī, but a Christmas in the Park event in its place.
“We’re disappointed; we would’ve liked to have a parade… but we really think that we can have a Christmas in the Park that will give everyone something even better,” Go Waihī chairman Max McLean told The Profile.
The parade would have required traffic management to be in place, and it could have cost the town promoters at least $4600.
Mr McLean said running a Christmas in the Park event would likely give organisers more bang for their buck.
It is set for December 3 and will be held at the Gilmour Lake Reserve, with eight performers – from singers to stilt walkers to balloonists – already scheduled to appear.  We knew we had to get a traffic management plan, but it used to cost around $1000 or $1500, but with the increases we know we won’t be able to afford it,” he said. “We thought it’d probably be a waste of money compared to what we could get down at the park.”  Go Waihī has hosted Christmas Parades for a number of years, Mr McLean said, but that was when the town promoters used to get a substantial amount of funding from Hauraki District Council.

“Four years ago we were getting about $100,000 a year and we could employ a full-time coordinator, and their job was to run these events,” he said.
“The funding dropped down to $70,000… and now it’s around $12,000 a year.”
Mr McLean said that was just enough to pay the bills, and didn’t cover the cost of putting on events over the Christmas period.
In 2021, Hauraki District Council decided to set aside $411,000 for town promotion, visitor information services, and a new district events coordinator role within council.
According to an October 2020 report, the need for a new district events coordinator role was identified to fulfil some of the tasks the town promotion organisations were currently responsible for, but with a “whole of district” approach.
Mr McLean said organisers were hoping to establish a committee for Christmas in the Park, and would enlist the assistance of the council’s district events coordinator.
“We do hope it’s going to cost less for Christmas in the Park; different businesses in town do help us with sponsorship,” he said. “We’ll certainly know after this Christmas in the Park if we’ll want to do it again.”
DETAILS: Waihī’s Christmas in the Park, December 3, 4pm-8pm, at the Gilmour Lake Reserve. If you’re interested in helping out or taking part, contact Go Waihī at or visit