Santa’s little elves have begun work extra early this year to ensure the return of the much-loved Telecom Tree to Auckland this Christmas, with opening night scheduled for the evening of Saturday 28 November.
However, as a result of planned construction in Victoria Park - the location of the Tree last year - this festive season the Telecom Tree will be situated in Western Park on Ponsonby Road.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing the Telecom Tree back for Aucklanders and visitors to the city to enjoy,” says Alan Gourdie, Telecom’s CEO of Retail.
“More than 80,000 people visited the Telecom Tree last year, which really highlighted the desire for a magical place for families to share a unique Christmas experience.
Alan says “Our thanks to the Auckland City Council for their help in ensuring we could keep the Tree in a central location and accessible to as many as possible - we think Western Park is the perfect location.”
Auckland City Council Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee chairperson, Councillor Greg Moyle, says the Telecom Tree complements an exciting line up of Christmas festivities happening in Auckland.
“We hope all Aucklanders get into the spirit of Christmas and make the most of the local community and larger-scale events that are planned right across the city,” says Mr Moyle.
The stunning 26 metre-high Telecom Tree (about seven storeys) is constructed from 37,000 lights and has 16 million possible colour combinations.
Each Tree also provides a place for children to ring the North Pole direct from dedicated Telecom Santa Line phone boxes at the base of the Tree. Once they’ve made their wish, their voices magically activate the lights running from their phone box to the star at the top of the tree. And it’s no ordinary star. This year the 8-pointed electronic radiant star atop the tree will do something special every 15 minutes.
Starship, New Zealand's national children's hospital, is the official Telecom Tree charity in Auckland this year, and guests are encouraged to bring an old mobile phone for Starship's mobile phone recycling appeal to place in gift boxes under the Tree.
The donated phones will be sent to a recycling company that refurbishes them and then resells the phones into emerging economies around the world, with 60% of the sale price being donated to Starship. The money raised is used to pay for priority needs at Starship such as lifesaving equipment through to vital paediatric research.
In order to spread the Christmas spirit, Telecom has also created an identical second ‘travelling’ Telecom Tree. This year it will be located at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington. Visitors to the Wellington Telecom Tree will be able to donate gifts to the Women’s’ Refuge.
For those who can’t make it to the Telecom Trees, the nationwide Santa Line will still take Christmas wish-lists direct to Santa. Last year there were 999,672 calls made from right across New Zealand. Hopeful children (and adults!) will again be able to call Santa to tell him they’ve been good and what they’re hoping for on 0800 222 222. Or they can submit their request online at www.telecomtree.co.nz.
Visit www.telecomtree.co.nz for more information.
Where : Western Park, Ponsonby Road
When: From 28 November to 26 December with lightshows from 6pm till midnight every day, and extra special events on 28 November and Christmas Eve.