Visitors ‘blown away’ by spectacular Christmas display


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Jim and Phyllis Pukekohe

Jim and Phyllis Sneddon in their Christmas Wonderland with their little helpers, grandchildren Ceinwen and Iestyn Cattrall.

The Waiuku Christmas Display, an amazing show of Christmas fun for all ages, is currently on at the Waiuku Memorial Town Hall and is running daily until Christmas Eve, December 24.

The display, the brainchild of Waiuku residents, Jim and Phyllis Sneddon, has been running for 14 years but Jim and Phyllis have been collecting Christmas pieces for the past 18 years.

Humble beginnings

“It started when two families held a competition, to see who could find the funniest Santa and it has just grown from there,” says Jim.

From what began as a little display on a couple of planks set up on 44 gallon drums in a Bowen Street shop (where Subway is now), it has become a spectacular ‘Christmas Wonderland’.

Hundreds of animated Santa’s and Christmas lights cover the entire floor area of the town hall and reaches almost to the ceiling, supported by scaffolding.

Little did Jim and Phyllis realise then just how much the display would grow. It now attracts thousands of families to Waiuku every year.

Nativity Pukekohe

What Christmas is all about.

People come from all over, but Phyllis says they are mostly being inundated with Auckland visitors, most of which are individual families.

The increase in vistor numbers can probably be attributed to the association Jim and Phyllis have established with the Glenbrook Vintage Railway which brings many visitors into the town.

“And most are left in complete awe of the display. They are ‘blown away’ as there is nothing quite like it anywhere,” she says.

Jim and Phyllis acknowledge local sponsors

“Who could believe that our friendly family Santa contest has grown so enormously, with all those Christmas trees twinkling and Santa’s of all sizes and shapes dancing, singing, strumming guitars, telling stories, climbing ladders, or clapping hands and making their audience smile and laugh,” says Phyllis.

“We have been so fortunate to to be supported over the years by our family and friends, especially our grandchildren.”

“And a special thanks must go to our sponsors, Knight & Dickey, FallStop, Dave and Maureen’s Liquor and Waiuku Mitre 10 for, without their support this display may not be possible.”

Ferregal family Pukekohe

The sleigh is proving popular for these Waiuku families: Chelsea Morley and son Lincoln, Kazam Ferregal, Mason Morley, Derryl Ferregal, Gemma Ferregal and Ryder Ferregal.

A local fireman for almost 50 years

Jim, an electrician by trade, is also a volunteer fireman in the Waiuku Volunteer fire Brigade.

Next year will see him serving 50 years for the brigade and while talking to We Love Pukekohe, he summoned away for a callout.

“The Christmas Display and the Fire Brigade have taken up a huge part of his life,” says Phyllis in Jim’s absence,

“For the past 24 years he has been selling the New Zealand Firefighter Calendars that support child cancer and the fire fighters who travel to sporting events like the world firefighter games.”

“Jim is very particular about how the display looks to visitors. He is very professional in his attitude and during the year he will work in the garage at night restoring some of the displays to bring them up to the high standard we require.

“He is also innovative and this year he set up Christmas trees with snow flowing over the top of them. This has created a great deal of interest for visitors, as has the sleigh which was donated by a supporter.

Ireland Pukekohe

Bernie Murray (left, holding Mason Murray) has come from Galway, Ireland this Christmas to visit Papakura relatives. She is seen with Evelyn Murray (holding her son, Sian Tohavaka).

“The kids love having their photos taken in it, especially with Santa.”

Santa will be in attendance daily

“And, don’t forget Santa,” adds Phyllis.
“He will be here every day leading up to Christmas Eve: Saturday, December 20, Sunday, 21, Monday 22, Tuesday 23, and Wednesday, 24, from 11.00am through to 3.00pm.
“Photos are allowed so bring your camera, you are never too old to have your photo taken with Santa.”

The Waiuku Christmas Display is open daily from 10.00am to 8.00pm.

Catherine Pukekohe

Papakura resident, Catherine Audain, brought her daughter, Mikayla to the Christmas Display and both loved it.

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About the Author
Rex Warwood is a well-known local with a passion for Franklin and its people. He has been spreading the news in our area since 1979 and has held various journalism and Editor positions. Contact Rex at
  1. Jim Snedden Reply

    Hi! Rex, what a awesome write up you did for the Waiuku Christmas Display. I have linked your page back to Waiuku Christmas Display facebook. Thank you Jim.

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