Friday, 7 June 2019

Mid-winter Festivities

Daily Post 3 June 2019, p 6

As winter approaches, it's become a New Zealand tradition to host or attend a mid-winter Christmas party or similar event. This year, during June and July, The Prince's Gate Hotel is hosting Rock'n Rolling' mid-winter parties and Stratosphere is also hosting mid-winter celebrations which look very Christmassy. What have been some other winter activities available in the past?

Daily Post 5 Jun 2019, p 7

In 1994 Rotorua hosted the Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival. Aimed at trying to boost Rotorua as a winter tourist destination, even for mountain bikers, the Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival ran for three days in July. Mountain biking featured heavily with a ten hour enduro race, the Moonride race, a 30 km treasure hunt on bikes, and a family mountain bike gymkhana. AJ Hackett helicopter bungy jumps were also available for the adventurous.

Daily Post 18 July 1994, p 13

Residents and friends of Lara Lodge Rest Home celebrated a mid-winter Christmas in July.

Daily Post 6 July 1994, p 3

In 1995 the Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival had grown to a two week event. It expanded to include events such as mountain rafting down the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha, mud-sliding and a Mad Paddock Party.

Weekender 7 July 1995, p 1

The Friends of the Library hosted a winter series featuring leading authors, local, national and even and Australian, Tim Winton. As well as a luncheon at the tea rooms, a short story competition for children was run and a Trivial Pursuits evening was held.

Weekender 21 June 1996, p 14

In June 1996 students from Waiariki Polytechnic Institute hosted a mid-winter Christmas dinner with entertainment, as a fundraiser for Rotorua Community Hospice...

Weekender 21 June 1996, p 14

Rotorua Pathways Steiner Kindergarten held a mid-winter Lantern Festival...


Daily Post 21 June 1996, p 14

Daily Post 1 July 1996, p 1

The annual Civic Ball, hosted by the Rotorua Community Charity Trust was held at the Convention Centre. Themed as a mid-winter Christmas, guests were greeted by Town Crier Graham Lewis, along with Mayor Grahame Hall and their wives. A Christmas feast was followed by dancing to the music of the eight-piece big brass band, the Barry Smith Connection.

Henk and Nan Bussink  at the Civic Ball which raised $5000
for the Life Education Trust. Daily Post 1 July 1996, p 2


The 3rd Mad, Mad Mid-Winter Festival, held from 18-21 July, added an outrigger waka challenge, a yacht race to Mokoia Island and a polar plunge to the mountain-biking events. The Moonride event moved to Whakarewarewa Forest.

Fred Christiansen, organiser of Moonride atop Pahaturoa Hill looking
towards Whakarewarewa Forest. Daily Post 12 July 1996, p 1

Pathways Kindergarten celebrated winter with another Lantern Festival in 1997 for the children and their parents. Beginning the evening with soup and singing, the children and families then paraded their lanterns around the block.

Daily Post 20 June 1997, p 16

The Lakes District Stings Ensemble was joined by Joe Malcolm for a Winter Concert. Joe Malcolm plays the pukeae, nguru and koauau, all different types of Maori flute.

Joe Malcolm and Marion Townend  rehearsing for the Winter
Concert. Daily Post 14 August 1997, p 2

In June 19998 there was an account in the Daily Post of The Prince's Gate Academy Awards Evening. Resident actors who'd written the script also ran the show, and guests were designated Hollywood star personas as they dined and danced the evening away, re-enacting famous movie scenes throughout the evening.

Christmas in July was the July headline reporting on the mid-winter Christmas at Waiariki Polytechnic, a fundraiser for the Rotorua Community Hospice. Dance students from Ngongotaha Dance Academy provided entertainment along with a fashion parade by apparel and fashion students from the polytechnic.

Weekender 3 July 1998, p 16

The Bay of Plenty Branch of the Reading Association held a mid-winter Christmas. Their guest speaker was Joy Cowley, who spoke on lessons she'd learnt from children

July 1999 saw a six-day mid-winter Christmas shopping promotion. Just over one hundred shops participated, Santa roamed the streets and there were competitions. For children there was a treasure hunt that entailed finding hidden Christmas symbols in participating stores.

Kylee Grooby (centre) won a hamper of goodies and Nikki Smith (right)
 won a night for two at Sky City. Daily Post 9 July 1999, p 2.

Also in July the Rotorua District Strings Ensemble performed their Winter Collection concert in the upper foyer of the Museum, the first in a series of concerts funded by a grant from the Rotorua Civic Arts Trust.

In June 2000 it was announced there would be another series of four concerts over the winter months to be held at the Museum. The first performance featured Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns, respected performers on traditional Maori instruments.

Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns.
Daily Post 14 June 2000, p 12

Daily Post 29 June 2001


This post was written by Trish with thanks to the Daily Post.


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