Deputy mayor Paul Matheson gets in the Christmas Spirit after the council voted to spend $100,000 on a Christmas tree and decorations for the city. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Christmas spirit returns to CBD


It may only be June, but Christmas is already high on the agenda for Nelson City Council.

After a lack of decorations last year, council have listened and last week approved $100,000 in its annual plan towards improving the city’s Christmas display.

It is a big increase in spending for the council, who last year forked out just $21,600 on Christmas decorations. This included $12,000 for the installation and lighting of the tree on Trafalgar St, decorating the Norfolk Pine in Tahunanui, and putting up new Christmas flag banners throughout the central city and Stoke.

The allocated $100,000 will go towards decorations and a new tree for the Church Steps, which the public is being asked to design.

Along with Nelson Arts Council, the council is asking people to send in their tree designs with council spokesperson Paul Shattock saying they are keen to see a design that “really reflects Nelson’s unique identity” and wasn’t an “off-the-shelf copy” of what every other town has.

“We approached the Arts Council, which saw an opportunity for the artistic community to demonstrate its creativity and to submit designs,” he says.

“It isn’t a competition in the sense that prizes will be awarded – it’s more of a call for submissions, and if a design best matches council’s set of criteria, it could be selected to be produced and installed.”

He also says that the design of the Christmas tree will have an impact on the sort of decorations that will be displayed, and one of the criteria of the competition is that everything has to be reusable.

“The use of recyclable material is also encouraged,” he says.

Paul says the project will be carried out over several years to lift the quality of the Christmas display, so further improvements can be expected in time.

Submissions are due by Thursday, July 13 at 3pm. To find out more visit: