Christmas trees to light up Historic Village

Tanya Trass from The Incubator with one of the Community Christmas trees at Tauranga Historic Village. Photo: John Borren.

A forest of community Christmas trees will light up Tauranga Historic Village this December.

Twenty-four huge distinctive trees decorated by local community groups will be on display at the village from December 3 until early January.

The trees have been designed by Māori artist Ashleigh Luckman-Taupaki, with kowhaiwhai patterns representing the pohutukawa tree, also known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.

Each year 22 community groups, art societies, kura and organisations are invited to participate in a group workshop to paint and embellish the adornment discs which are used to decorate each tree. Two trees each year are also used to display the painted discs of commissioned artists.

This year community groups have also been able to nominate themselves to be part of this project.

Parent to Parent’s Coastal Bay of Plenty regional coordinator, Jane Ford, says it has been a very special project to be part of.

“Many of our families have felt very isolated through this last year, with the added stress of a pandemic on top of all their everyday struggles,” says Jane. “It was such a lovely day to get together, have a little fun, get creative and make new friends.

“The families are looking forward to visiting the village to see their tree on display and to be part of this awesome experience.”

Other community groups involved this year include Otūmoetai College, Tauranga Hospital Children’s Ward, Merivale Primary, NZ Prostitute Collective, Te Tomika Trust, Parent 2 Parent, Multicultural Tauranga, Shakti Women’s Refuge, Pillans Point Primary, Envirohub, Moraka Menstrual Cups, Grief Support Services, Under the Stars and The Salvation Army Community Ministries.

The Incubator Creative Hub, in conjunction with Tauranga City Council and Classic Builders, are behind the display.

“Our team look forward to this project every year,” says The Incubator director Simone Anderson. “It is all about community arts. The project encourages participation and the invitation to be part of something that uses art to celebrate uniqueness and diversity.”

Since 2018, The Incubator Creative Hub has worked with Tauranga City Council to deliver a project that sees the community come together to participate and celebrate the festive season in a unique and truly Kiwi style, while at the same time engaging and involving groups to showcase creativity and different community organisations.
This year, for the first time, the trees will be on display along the streets of the Historic Village. The team are delighted that so many organisations are represented.

“The project is a fantastic example of how creativity can bring people together to create something that can be enjoyed by everyone,” says Tauranga City Council arts and culture manager James Wilson.

“The Incubator team do a wonderful job of supporting and encouraging community groups to get involved, removing any perceived or real barriers, and ensuring that arts and culture experiences are accessible to everyone.

“We are thrilled to support this project, and look forward to celebrating the creativity of our community at the Historic Village this Christmas.”

The trees will be installed by Classic Builders, who recognise the importance of helping to build communities as well as homes.

“Classic Builders are passionate about supporting our local communities and are proud to help bring the project to life,” says Classic Builders Tauranga branch manager Simon Robinson. “The Bay has been home for us for 25 years and what better time to spread some joy than Christmas?”

This year the project will be celebrated at a Christmas in the Village event on Friday, December 3, and will include a night market, where food and craft stalls will be available along with street entertainment.

The village provides a family-friendly environment and has a range of areas to explore and picnic on, with Covid-appropriate safety plans in place.

As one of the first events to take place under the government’s new traffic light system, the Community Christmas Tree Project and markets will be the ideal opportunity to demonstrate how the system will operate. Under the traffic light system, Covid-19 vaccination certificates will be checked on entry to the village.

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