Auckland Farmers Santa Parade

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets this afternoon for the 81st Auckland Farmers Santa Parade.

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The Parade was introduced in 1934 by Farmers founder Robert Laidlaw and has been running strong ever since.

Prior to the parade volunteers collected for the Child Cancer Foundation. There is a link on their website if you wish to donate.

The Parade started at 2.00pm, and travelled a 2.2km route starting at the corner of Cook Street and Mayoral Drive, before turning left and travelling down Queen Street, then turning left onto Customs Street West and up Albert Street, finishing at Albert and Wellesley Streets.

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade route map

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade route map

Helium balloons at the Santa Parade

Helium balloons at the Santa Parade

Christmas themed floats

Christmas themed floats

Santa Parade floats

Santa Parade floats

The Parade was followed by Santa’s Party in Aotea Square hosted by Stacey Morrison from The Hits. There were performances by the Kangoo Jumps, Popcorn the clown, Auckland City Theatre Academy, National Youth Theatre Company, West City Concert Band and pop boy band Titanium. And an appearance by Santa Claus himself of course!

Kangoo Jumps

Kangoo Jumps

Titanium

Titanium

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National Youth Theatre Company

Santa

Santa

 

 

Alberton

Alberton is a historic house located in the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert.

Alberton

Alberton

The historic house is located at 100 Mt Albert Road. Access is from Kerr-Taylor Avenue. It is open Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm. Adults are $10. Accompanied children are free.

If you plan on visiting Highwic and Ewelme Cottage as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

Allan Kerr Taylor was born in India in 1832. His father was Lieutenant Colonel William Taylor of the 39th Madras Native Infantry. Kerr Taylor was educated at Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland. At age 15 he followed his brothers and immigrated to New Zealand.

At age 16 he brought 270 acres at Mount Albert. He subsequently added two adjoining blocks of 232 acres and 120 acres. He named property after the nearby volcanic cone Mt Albert.

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In 1850 he went to California and 1860 went to England where he married Martha Meredith in 1862. Martha and Alan had two children, both unfortunately died in infancy. Martha herself died in 1864, aged 25.

The following year Allan married Sophia Louisa Davis. She had ten children with Allan, four boys and six girls, two of whom died as children.

The house at Alberton was built as a farmhouse 1863. On the ground floor there was the entrance hall, drawing room, kitchen, dining room, and a master bedroom. Upstairs there were five bedrooms.

In 1872 the house was extended and the verandahs, balconies and towers with their Indian inspired ogee roofs were added.

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After Alan’s death his second wife Sophia sold off some of the land to pay debts. At the time of her death in 1930, 128 acres remained. Three of Sophia’s daughters Winifred, Muriel and Mildred remained at Alberton and continued to subdivide the property over the years as a source of income. At the time of Muriel’s death in 1972 the property was only 2 acres.

Muriel bequeathed the property to New Zealand Historic Places Trust and Alberton opened as a house museum in 1973.

The ground floor of the house has the dining room, kitchen, pantry, study with a gun cupboard, drawing room and ballroom. Alberton was hosting a 50th birthday party in the ballroom on the date I visited. They hire out rooms and the gardens for weddings and other private functions.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Study

Study

Drawing room

Drawing room

Ballroom - set up for private function

Ballroom – set up for private function

Outside near the kitchen is a wash house with a well.

On the second floor visitors can explore the various bedrooms, dressing room, sewing room and library. Brave visitors can climb the steep stairs (a ladder almost) to the servants quarters. Just be careful climbing back down!

Main bedroom

Main bedroom

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

Library

Library

Sewing room

Sewing room

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Ewelme Cottage

Ewelme Cottage is a historic house in the Auckland suburb of Parnell.

Ewelme Cottage

Ewelme Cottage

This historic house museum located at 14 Ayr Street is only open on Sundays from 10.30am – 4.30pm. Adults are $8.50, accompanied children are free.

If you plan on visiting Alberton and Highwic as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

Also while visiting Ewelme, you may wish to visit Kinder House (open Wednesday to Sunday from Noon to 3pm, entry by donation), which is at no. 2 Ayr St. Although when I visited Ewelme, Kinder House was closed for a private function.

The kauri cottage was built between 1863-64 for Reverend Vicesimus Lush, his wife Blanche and their six children. Around 18 years later the house was extended. The house remained in the Lush family until 1968.

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Since 1969, Ewelme has been preserved as a house museum by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and it has been kept as it was when the last occupants left.

The Lush family were avid readers and there are over 900 books shelved around the house. There are some rare books dating from 1600s. When climbing the stairs to the second floor (an attic really) look at all the spaces that have been used to store books.

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Dining room

Study

Study

Attic bedroom

Attic bedroom

There is wheelchair access to the ground floor. The top floor is accessible by some very steep and narrow stairs with very low ceilings.

For film buffs the drawing room, veranda and garden were used in Jane Campion’s 1993 Oscar winning film The Piano.

 

 

Highwic

Highwic is a historic home in the Auckland suburb of Epsom / Newmarket.

Highwic

Highwic

The property is at 40 Gillies Avenue but the recommended entrance is off Mortimer Pass. Onsite parking is available. Alternatively take a train to Newmarket Train Station or a bus to 277 Broadway and walk up Mortimer Pass (first street on the right after the shopping mall, Westfield 277 Newmarket).

Entrance to Highwic off Mortimar Road

Entrance to Highwic off Mortimer Pass

Highwic is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Adults are $10, accompanied children are free. If you plan on visiting Alberton and Ewelme Cottage as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

In 1862, Alfred Buckland purchased 5 acres (2 hectares) of land. The house is built in Carpenter Gothic and was based on country homes on the East Coast of the United States.

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House is built in Carpenter Gothic style

Mr Buckland and his first wife Eliza immigrated to New Zealand from England in 1850. His older brother William had moved here in 1841. Together Alfred and Eliza had 10 children before Mrs Buckland’s passing of pneumonia in 1866. The following year Mr Buckland married Matilda Frodsham, who had been his wife’s companion and home help. Matilda and Alfred had 11 children together. In total Alfred Buckland had 21 children, fourteen daughters and seven sons.

Bucklands Beach in the eastern suburb of Howick is named after Alfred Buckland as he owned a large farm there.

During the 1870s and 1880s the house was enlarged as the family grew. Descendants on the Buckland family lived in the house until 1978 (that is 116 years the Buckland family occupied the property). The property was jointly purchased by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Auckland City Council. Highwic opened as a historic house museum in 1981.

The house has seven bedrooms, a ballroom, drawing room, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, scullery, outdoor courtyard with meat and dairy storerooms.

Dining room

Dining room

Drawing room

Drawing room

Maid and Cook's Bedroom

Maid and Cook’s Bedroom

The Boy's Barracks

The Boy’s Barracks

The guest bedroom on the side of the house has been converted into the sales and information desk. They sell a wide selection of memorabilia relating to Highwic and range of authentic reproduction children’s toys.

The picturesque grounds include a billiards house separate from the main house, stables, a fern house, a hedged circular garden and a croquet and tennis court lawn.

Most of Highwic is hidden above the bustling and busy shopping centre of Newmarket by tall trees and high hedges adding to it’s ‘hidden’ old world charm.

Billards House

Billiards House

Fernery

Fernery

Circular hedged garden

Circular hedged garden

Hedged garden

Hedged garden

Auckland Wintergardens

Visitors can enjoy bright and colourful flowers all year round at the Auckland Wintergardens located in the Auckland Domain.

Auckland Wintergardens

Auckland Wintergardens

The Wintergardens were constructed following the First World War with funds from the Industrial, Agricultural and Mining Exhibition of 1913 – 1914, which was a world’s fair held in the Auckland Domain.

Construction began on the gardens in 1916 and they officially opened on May 2, 1928.

There are two display glasshouses – one contains temperate plants that change with the season and the other is heated to an average temperature of 28°C and contains tropical plants and a giant lily pond.

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Temperate House

Temperate House

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Tropical House

Tropical House

There is a formal courtyard between the two Victorian style glasshouses with a sunken pond in the centre. There are also several neoclassical marble statues throughout the courtyard.

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Wintergardens courtyard

Off to the side of the courtyard visitors can enter and get up close with New Zealand’s native flora in the fernery, that has been developed in an old quarry site.

Fernery

Fernery

During the summer months (1 November – 31 March) the Wintergardens are open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5.30pm and Sunday 9am to 7.30pm. From 1 April – 31 October it is open Monday to Sunday 9am to 4.30pm.

Christmas on Queen Street

It is only mid November but Queen Street is already starting to get into the festive spirit.

Santa with his reindeer and presents on top of Whitcoulls Building cnr of Queen & Victoria Sts

Santa with his reindeer and presents on side of the Whitcoulls building, corner of Queen & Victoria Streets

This past weekend the infamous giant Santa, two of his reindeer and presents were erected on the side of the Whitcoulls building on the corner of Queen and Victoria Street.

In 1960 Farmers erected the giant Santa sculpture on the front of their building on the corner of Hobson and Wyndham Street.

The sculpture weighed over 5 tons (4535 kg) and was nearly 18 metres (59 ft) tall. It featured a winking eye and a beckoning finger to encourage customers into the store. Over the years many Aucklanders found the beckoning finger and winking eye to be ‘creepy’.

Santa was erected on Farmers’ Hobson St store every Christmas for almost 30 years. After the store was sold in 1990 the giant Santa was relocated to the Manukau Shopping Centre where he appeared at Christmas from 1991 to 1995. In 1996 the shopping centre decided not to put Santa up because of his tired and worn appearance.

In 1998, Stephen Hanford purchased Santa from Farmers for $1. A restoration project began and Santa found his new home on the side of the Whitcoulls building on Queen Street. When Mr Hanford left the country in 2003 he transferred ownership to Whitcoulls. In 2008 Whitcoulls announced they could no longer finance the giant Santa and gifted it to the City.

In 2009 Santa underwent a $100,000+ makeover, which included removing his ‘creepy’ beckoning finger.

In October this year it was announced that Santa and his reindeer would not be returning this Christmas because Auckland’s downtown business association Heart of the City could no longer justify the installation costs of $180,000.

It was a miracle on Queen Street! Auckland construction company Mansons TCLM offered to take responsibility for installing, storing and maintaining Santa. SkyCity also offered a $50,000 donation to the cause. Santa was saved.

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Santa's reindeer being erected Sunday 16 November

Santa’s reindeer being erected Sunday 16 November

On the twelfth day of Christmas, a gift was sent to me:

12 PIRATES CHEERIN’

11 swallows swoopin’, 10 sloops a-sailin’, 9 mermaids singin’, 8 dolphins swimmin’, 7 monkeys swingin’, 6 Jolly Rogers, 5 chests of gold, 4 cacklin’ hens, 3 black cats, 2 cutlasses, an’ a parrot in a palm tree.

Last Thursday evening, department store Smith & Caughey’s unveiled their annual Christmas window display.

Smith & Caughey's

Smith & Caughey’s

This year’s display is inspired by the children’s book A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas, written by Phillip Yates and illustrated by Sebastia Serrà.

Smith & Caughey's Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display is on at their Queen Street store (253 – 261 Queen Street) until January 4th. Also from 26th November Santa will be in store in their annual Santa’s Enchanted Forest.

Coming up on Sunday 30th November (rain date Sunday 7 December) is the Auckland Farmers Santa Parade, which will be traveling down Queen Street. This has been annual Christmas tradition for 80 years.

2013 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade

2013 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade