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The Christmas tree stands taller than ever - between 7-8 metres. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Christmas tree ‘makes crochet cool again’


The crocheted Christmas tree that takes pride of place along Ngātea’s main street is even “bigger and brighter” this year.
The tree – made up of more than 2000 crochet squares – has been erected at the Hugh Hayward Domain, and Ngātea Lions member Bruce Foster said the colourful icon continued to gain attention.
“When we were putting it together, people would stop on the side of the road, and they’d look, and they’d come over. One woman was with her children and said they loved the playground, but they also loved the tree, and each time they came through they stopped to have a look at it.”
The tree now stands between 7-8 metres tall – two metres taller than last year thanks to a funding donation by the Hauraki District Council.
There are also new crocheted squares, made by more than 40 creative people throughout the community, and this made the tree bigger and brighter than ever before, Bruce said.
The crocheted angel on top of the tree is named Mercy.
“In 2019, when this started, the Hauraki Plains Lionesses were the instigators, and Kathy Karl got the idea from something she saw on the internet – a tree like this one in Italy,” Bruce said.
“She said to the Lionesses: ‘We can do that’.”
The frame was made up of an old rocket ship from a playground, and while council’s parks and reserves manager found the best site for the tree, Alex Quinn from Quinn Engineering crafted the support frame and mounting system, which is permanently embedded in the ground.
Four years on, the tree’s construction has become a much-anticipated holiday tradition, and this year, more than 20 hands were on deck to help set it up on December 5.
“It is just so neat when you walk up the domain and see people stopping, and kids and families having a look at it,” Bruce said.
“We just want a huge thank you to go out to all of those who have helped out in some way.
“We couldn’t have done it without the public helping us.”
Hauraki District Council provided the Ngātea Lions with funding via an application to the Creative Communities Scheme, with $575 used to raise the height of the existing structure, and $1380 used to purchase 400 balls of wool which were distributed to the 40-plus crocheters.
This year, it also funded the installation of a “cool burning LED uplight” inside the tree which will provide a visual night-time experience.
“This sort of community-led project that creates interest in our parks and provides an opportunity to collaborate is exactly the type of project we love,” Mayor Toby Adams said.
“Not to mention this unique Christmas tree is making crochet cool again and that’s a real win for highlighting talents that are in danger of becoming a lost art.”
Mayor Adams said there would now be stiff competition between the tree, the Paeroa L&P Bottle, and the Waihi Pumphouse for the best place in the district to take a photo to say: “I was here” this summer.