A Kiwi bach for Santa in Tauranga

You have Santa appearing in town next month – so what do you build him to house his well-wishing ways with young and old ahead of December 25?

The answer in Tauranga's CBD is a quintessential Kiwi bach. A miniature version of classic Kiwi bach is now in Tauranga's Red Square – ready to house Santa and remind people of their them of the most iconic and enjoyable experiences of summer. Going to the bach.

Downtown Tauranga's Sally Cooke says her organisation came up with the idea while trying to find a temporary home for the jolly red fellow this December.

“Initially, we were looking at a Santa's grotto – somewhere in the city. But then we thought – wouldn't it make sense if it was a Kiwi bach Santa happened to go to?

“Then it will have a dual purpose of housing Santa also being a place-making initiative in the city centre. So we hope it becomes a landmark while it's here.”

Sally says the idea is people can celebrate the iconic Kiwi bach and everything it means.

“It's summer and it's that beautiful time of year where everyone goes to the bach – and the evocative images of a bach where there's family, fun, friends, playing cards and relaxing, and food. The quintessential Kiwi summer.

“We've got poems, definitions and Kiwi slang on the outside so tourists walking up to it understand that it's showpiece of the Kiwi bach and for Kiwis walking past, it will put a smile on their face and they'll take some memories from it.

Inside the bach some basic Kiwiana items are on show. Some NZ family members – such as Billy T James – and things like pukeko ornaments, the orange Edmonds custard power box, and a teapot with a knitted tea cosy.

“All those beautiful things that every bach has – and nothing matches, things are cobbled together,” says Sally.

The little bach has been developed in partnership with Downtown Tauranga, Tauranga Rotary, Guthrie Bowron provided all of the paint and wallpapering “because you if have a look at it the colours are supposed to be harking back to the Kiwi bach”.

And Black Chilli constructed it. This morning Mediaworks will support the initiative by broadcasting its More FM breakfast radio show from the bach.

And for Christmas, Santa is coming to the Kiwi bach. He'll be making it his grotto from December 10 onwards.

“He'll have lunch at the bach – and kids will be able to come down and see Santa at his bach.

“And when Santa is not here it's a classic Kiwi bach that will hopefully brighten people's days.”

And is there future plans for this little Kiwi bach?

“We've set it up in Red Square and we hope people enjoy it – and it's very much a community project, so we want people to enjoy it and celebrate.

“And it would be great if it had life beyond that,” says Sally.


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Sunrise from Matua by Janet Hetherington. Send us your photos and stories from around the Bay of Plenty. Email: photos@thesun.co.nz