It looks like Reindeer!

Santa and his reindeer’s appearance announces the start of the Christmas season. He appears like magic on the Farmers Building (formerly Whitcoulls), at the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street in Auckland.

Although the installation looks effortless, behind the scenes are numerous elves working hard, masquerading as engineers, crane operators, installers, sponsors and project management personnel to mention a few.  The 4.5 tonne Santa and his two enormous reindeer are not easy to install. The heritage building they attach to adds to the complexity. Elaborate planning and co-ordination is required to ensure it all runs smoothly as they are put together on-site. With age the risk increases and everyone is very aware of health and safety – a paramount concern in the Great Annual Santa Installation Project. The increasing commercial activity in the CBD also puts more pressure on the installers to complete the installation quickly with a goal of minimum disruption to the businesses around the area.

Our structural engineer, said “being up there on the canopy for most of the time during the installation, I could see every aspect of the project. The nitty-gritty of the design came through and passed yet another field test. Without a second thought, I agree with the engineers that the reindeer installation is the most challenging of the lot. It’s quite a challenge; from assembling the various pieces on the ground to lifting it and then securing it on the designated support points. The installing crew had a few people who had been part of this project for many years now. It was fun to talk to them and discuss their previous experiences. Their feedback has always encouraged the engineers to evolve the design year after year. Overall, it was a memorable and educational experience to be a part of this project.”

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