Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Howick’s Santa Parade turns 70

Bo Burns, Photo Wayne Martin
Getting Santa to Howick for the much-awaited iconic parade, is no mean task! A SnapChat with Bo Burns, organiser of Howick’s 70th Santa Parade on the magic of the season, and the parade that brings with it unbridled joy and good cheer to the community.

How is the Howick Santa Parade celebrating its 70th year?

The Trust and Committee are very excited for our 70th year of the parade. We have 70 floats, over 70 entertainers, and a special celebration afterwards with awards, speeches and a lovely cake donated from The Apothecary!

What’s the best thing about hosting the Howick Santa Parade?

What I love most is that it’s not only the largest event in east Auckland, but it’s the only event to bring every area of our community together, from arts, music, community services, schools, daycares, sports group, service groups, cultural groups, churches, entertainers, businesses, you name it, we have them involved!

The biggest challenge when it comes to organising the Santa Parade?

Volunteers and funding, with people being so time poor now, it’s difficult to get volunteers to help drive key areas of the parade. It’s a huge event and takes around 500 donated hours to pull this off over all elements. It’s key that this event is always run by locals, for locals. We are very grateful for any help big or small when it comes to the parade, I remember a saying my parents taught me ‘Many hands make light work’ which is true in this case. Also, funding, this is always our biggest headache, this year unfortunately we lost a key sponsor, and a fundraiser was cancelled due to lack of interest (again not having a big committee to drive these is hard). So, we are relying on parade day to try and raise $10k to bridge that gap with raffles and silent auctions.

As a little girl did you believe in Santa Claus?

I still believe in Santa Claus – I love Christmas and the happiness and joy it brings bringing family together and the joy of giving to my community and people in need.

Favourite Christmas carol?

I love Silent Night – this song is one for me to listen to quietly and reflect and think about special people that are no longer with me (a tearjerker). Look up Everywhere by Bravely Gray on YouTube, it’s beautiful, but my fun go-to that I love singing very loud with my children is Feliz Navidad! Christmas for me is a time to remember those no longer with us, but also be grateful for those that are with us and enjoy that special time.

Best Christmas gift?

As a child it was getting my first fishing rod, I loved that fishing rod! As an adult the best gift was my husband proposing to me at midnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day – so on Christmas Day I got to spend not only Christmas Day but our engagement with over 30 of our close family members. It was a magical day.

What would you like from Santa this year?

I would like an early present, SUNSHINE for the parade – but in all honestly, I would like something special that I can do with my family! Maybe a new board game would be great!

Your favourite holiday tradition?

My daughters, even though older now, get to open one present on Christmas Eve – which every year is matching pjs for the family! Corny, I know, but it’s just a bit of fun! The other tradition we have is on the 31st of December, we all walk up the mount to finish the year off – then I promise I put my feet up for a few weeks to relax!

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