The first week of December is always a busy time in Mangere Bridge as people prepare for the annual Christmas Santa Parade. Local organisations are flat-out, decorating floats, arranging vehicles, and adding final touches to their festive costumes. The extravaganza attracts hundreds each year, with visitors lining the length of two blocks to secure the perfect spot for a view of the jolly man-in-red.
Characters and colours filled the road, greeted with loud cheers. Superheroes and cartoon figures drew exclamations of excitement from youngsters, while music from the brass band, bagpipes and Hare Krishna float. They were all given a run for their money by the Chinese group with their spirited red dragon.
Playcentre and Playgroup and a vibrant truck of pupils from Mangere Bridge School represented the diversity of the community. A convoy of hotrods, stock cars, and classic cars, roared through the procession. The Mangere Fire Brigade, Scouts, and Coastguard joined in - a perfect opportunity for all to show appreciation for their services. Congratulations were in order for White Heron Learning Centre and Ambury Farm, who took home titles for best floats this year.
After all the anticipation, Santa and Mrs Claus ended the show, rolling through on their white sled. Snow fell and covered the crowd, and small arms extended high to catch falling snowflakes.
Mangere Bridge Village Manager Kate Adams was pleased with the parade’s success, noting that the numbers of attendees and participants are growing each year. “The effort these groups are putting in is absolutely fantastic. Without all the floats and local groups that participate in the event, it would not be what it is today”