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Business owner and advocate Janella Munns is Positive Paeroa’s new chair. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

New chair sparked by Santa Parade

The new chair of Positive Paeroa has had just six weeks to prepare and plan the town’s popular Santa Parade.
And while it has been overwhelming, Janella Munns said she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It didn’t phase me because I wanted the Christmas Parade to go ahead – the community doesn’t need to miss out,” she told The Profile. “That’s one of the main reasons why I put my hat in the ring to be chairperson.”
Last year, Paeroa’s Santa Parade was cancelled due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, with the society saying at the time it “agonised” over the decision.
But the town promoters needed a fresh committee to commit to putting on a parade this year, and one was established – with Janella as its chair – on October 26.
With the parade set for December 2, that’s given her just over a month to get it established – a task made easier thanks to her former Positive Paeroa chairs, including Jo Tilsley who was the society’s town promoter from August, 2012 to June, 2021.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel because the past promoters have left everything there for us to pick up and run with,” Janella said.
“We’ve been very lucky that Jo has documented everything and she is always only a phone call away. She’s given us deadlines, she’s given us contacts, and that’s the sort of community we live in. Everyone wants this Christmas Parade as much as we do.”
At the 2020 parade, Janella could be seen representing her business, Splinta’s Firewood, wearing her wedding dress while walking the route as a fairy.
With a second business now under her belt – TreeShapes – as well as five children of her own, Janella said her new voluntary role was easy to juggle because of her passion for Paeroa.
“I want to be able to show my family that it is okay to put your hand up and help in the community; it is okay to be seen as being positive.
“My mum was in the Santa parades – she was in the pipe band – and we were so proud on the sidelines knowing that it was our mum leading the parade,” she said.
“I’m not doing it for Splintas, I’m not doing it for TreeShapes, I’m doing it for the community and hope my kids will look up to me.”
The new Positive Paeroa committee is also made up of Matt Bowie, Barbara Berry, Donna Jamieson, new Paeroa Four Square owner Tim Watts, and Grant Bowen – who is deputy chair.
Looking ahead, Janella has a goal to not only brighten up the town’s main street, but she also hopes to have the L&P bottle in Ohinemuri Park repainted in time for Christmas.
“Like everybody, we’ve made it through Covid, we’ve got a smile on our face, and now we want to promote Paeroa in the most positive way,” she said.
“We have got plans in the pipeline for next year – we can only go forwards.”
DETAILS: The Paeroa Santa Parade will be held on Friday, December 2, 6pm start from beside One3One (cnr Arney and Princes Sts), and will continue up SH2 before heading into the Paeroa Domain. If you have a float, walking group, or vehicle group that wants to be part of the parade, you can register by email to