Nick Lanigan speaks about organising this year's Light Up Nelson. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Vic Brewbar Banter with Nick Lanigan


Every few weeks we sit down with someone interesting doing something interesting and have a burger and a yarn. This time we chat with Nick Lanigan who is helping organise the ‘Light Up Nelson’ Christmas lights event and competition this year.

How did you end up helping to organise the event?

In prior years there had been sponsors, but last year they didn’t participate but didn’t really tell anyone. It got to the end of the November but all the home owners were scratching their heads.

Kelly Holmes set up a Facebook group to help organise it and it got amazing reaction. Then Mitre10 said they would put in some prizes, but it was all last minute.

So, this year we all decided to get this organised up front with help from the owners.

Is anything going to be different?

We don’t know how many people are going to be involved yet but there is definitely interest. Some are really keen on the competition and then there are those who just want to have their lights.

Some people don’t want to be voted on so we will have both, that way you can be on the map without being part of the competition.

We are keen to get as many people involved as we can. It’s cool if people have more houses on the night.

How did you get into doing light decorations?

It’s my hobby, really. I’m an active relaxer, so I’m told. So this is just my way of relaxing.

I’ve always put light strings on the house for years. But then, two years ago, we started to get a bit more serious, and I started looking to America to see what they were doing. It really is on another level there and they have had access to much better equipment.

But with everything coming out of China these days it has become a lot easier to source different materials. Last year, I think we built half the show I had in my head. This year I think we have the whole show, which is very exciting.

Most people in Nelson decorate and you can walk around their homes, but there is a few of us who are into computerisation and set it to music. It’s a bit more of a show to experience. I’m an electrical engineer but I work in IT, so this is the perfect blend.

You need to know how to put it together but increasingly it is all computerised.

Why do you think it’s so popular?

It’s very festive and tied to the Christmas theme and you only see it once a year. It’s a great night out for all the family. We are trying to make it so there are lots of different homes only a short while away.

Because of the daylight we can’t get going until after 9pm which makes it a little bit tougher but it will definitely be worth it.

When do you start getting ready?

It’s a year-long process. A lot of us build things during winter in preparation for this time of year. This time we have built a 20 foot electrical mega tree of lights. That’s new for us.

Where can people sign up or find the map?

The map will come out this week and some of the houses will be up and running by the weekend and run until around New Year’s Eve.

You can check it out or sign up at and there will be voting through the Nelson App.