Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Santa Claus has arrived in Levin in time for Christmas and is doing his best to stop the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask this year.

Yes, even Santa Claus was being a good boy for Christmas by normalising the wearing of a mask. He wouldn’t want to take a coronavirus back to the North Pole and give it to Mrs Claus. Or the elves.

He wouldn’t want to spread the disease to the good little boys and girls he will be visiting on Christmas Eve, either.

Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Santa has gone up in Levin in time for Christmas, complete with Covid-19 mask.

Levin crane driver Dave Sayles, who had helped oversee the annual installation of the huge Santa statue for more than 20 years, didn’t want to be drawn into a comment on social media suggesting Santa shouldn’t be wearing a mask.

“You just ignore all that. It’s all done in good spirit for the kids of the town,” he said.

He said Santa’s annual visit was only possible with the goodwill and charity of local people and local business and he was keen to keep it that way.

Members of the Tararua Rodders club helped Sayles oversee his installation on the day, while countless others had rolled up their sleeves behind the scenes.

Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Tim Williams from the Tararua Rodders club had the job of fastening his top to his bottom.

There was a definite will within the community to keep Santa alive in Levin and it had the support of Horowhenua District Council.

Sayles said a Friends of Santa Trust (FROST) would soon be formed to manage Santa and make sure his annual visit was not an impost on the ratepayers of Horowhenua.

Santa Claus required significant safety upgrades in recent years to ensure he was structurally sound. His insides had been completely rebuilt.

“The community has got right behind this,” he said.

Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Marty Sayer from Levin Truck Services backs Santa's bottom in.

“It is really important to acknowledge the support of these people and businesses, and also to the Russell family who initially donated Santa to the community,” he said.

Santa arrived in two pieces on specially-designed trailers and was put together to make a whole on site at New World carpark on Sunday morning.

It took 15 minutes to piece Santa together.

Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Levin crane driver Dave Sayles lowers Santa Claus' top half onto his bottom.

Santa used to park up at Levin Adventure Park each Christmas, before moving north to New World carpark in recent years.

He first came to town in 2001 after former Levin couple Malcolm and Mary Russell saw him lying in a paddock and bought him. Prior to that, Santa had graced Hay’s department store in Christchurch for almost 40 years.

In poor state, he was transported to Levin in four parts. Parts were rotten and aluminium needed replacing.

Levin's giant Santa Claus wearing a Covid-19 mask this Christmas

Levin crane driver Dave Sayles lowers Santa's top half onto his bottom.

Santa had always received generous support from the Levin community. Levin man Peter La Roche initially spent countless hours putting Santa together when he first arrived.

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