Tom Smythe and Claire McLean are organising this year’s Nelson Santa Parade. Photo: Kate Russell.

Fresh start for Nelson city Santa Parade


The new organisers of the Nelson Santa Parade may be keeping many of the details under-wraps but promise there will be “no bad surprises”.

Tom Smythe and Claire McLean, from events management company EBTAC Ltd, have taken over the reins to organise the parade on 1 December – and all signs are pointing towards the big man in red making a comeback.

The Nelson Santa Parade Trust, which delivered the event for 20 years, resigned earlier this year after facing a backlash for their decision to feature Hana Kōkō rather than the traditional Santa, in the 2018 parade.

Trust chair Roger Wilson also said they have seen volunteer membership declining over time, making the delivery of the event “difficult”.

“When the previous parade director moved to Christchurch earlier this year, the trust felt it was time to hand over the organisation of the parade to new management.”

Tom and Claire say they already have lots of float entries, new businesses and community groups taking part.

“Preschools, primary schools and kindergartens can enter our float competition to be in with a chance to win $1000. There will be loads of giveaways and world-class performances,” says Tom.

There will be a prizegiving at the top of Trafalgar St and many of the nearby business will be offering food specials. Children can also write a letter to Santa and these will be collected along the parade route.

“We’re also touching on some of the parade history as a tribute this year. It’s a thank you to all the years of volunteer work. There’re a lot of people who have made it happen,” says Tom.

“It’s been a lot about meeting people – it doesn’t happen without the community. It’s a privilege.”

This year’s parade will start at the bottom of Trafalgar St at 3pm, then go down Hardy St. Registrations for parade entries close 28 October and can be found at https://forms. gle/5JR6rp1A2Qm6SjYZ8

To find out more details, head over to the ‘Nelson Santa Parade’ Facebook page.