Christmas at the Park is excited for the community to see their army theme this year. Photo / Supplied
It’s not Christmas in Hawke’s Bay without the annual free Christmas at the Park event.
On December 3, the Mitre 10 Sports Park fields will be transformed into a concert arena for a Christmas night of celebration and army fun.
Sir Dave Dobbyn is set to lead the headline acts, and The Hits morning team of Megan and Adam will ensure the 4.5 hours of stage entertainment stays on track.
However, there will be much more to do at the event during the Christmas concert.
Christmas at the Park is taking on an army theme this year, with three army projects set to take place on site.
The Property Brokers event, an annual free-to-enter Christmas concert, has allocated space and resources for the army to highlight three areas of interest to our Hawke’s Bay communities.
Every year Christmas at the Park runs a confidence course for the children, aimed at getting children to see how much fun being in a park with simple props can be.
Christmas at the Park producer David Trim explained this year the army cadets will be on theme and run the confidence course and provide information where children can learn more about what they do and how they can be part of them.
The New Zealand Cadet Forces, NZCF, is a voluntary, uniformed organisation that provides leadership, personal development opportunities and adventure-based training to youth aged 13 to19.
It has three branches – Sea Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Cadets – and it is the Army Cadets who will lead the confidence course.
Major Harley Benton said the NZCF aims to instil leadership and honourable values in New Zealand youth to develop and enable self-disciplined, confident and responsible young adults armed with skill sets that will last them a lifetime.
“Christmas at the Park is the perfect place to showcase how much fun the army cadets have and show parents that NZCF can provide so much personal development for our youth, other than sitting on digital devices,” Benton said.
In conjunction with the New Zealand Army, there will be a wall of Christmas greetings so people can write a message to our soldiers deployed in Ukraine.
Once the wall is complete, the NZ Army will roll it up and courier it to Ukraine, with hopes it will reach them before Christmas.
“While we may not be engaged in direct-fire combat, our soldiers are still away from their homes and families this Christmas”, event producer Trim said.
The third aspect of the army involvement comes from a combination with Ahuriri Maori Wardens who have supported Christmas at the Park for 14 years.
Christmas at the Park is produced by the Kaisen Charitable Trust and has the support of both Napier and Hastings councils and prominent businesses in Hawke’s Bay.
“This event has become integral to the leadup to a typical Hawke’s Bay Christmas.
“It is unique because it is a professional event with nationally recognised music artists yet remains free to enter,” Trim said.
The event alternates its venue from year to year between Anderson Park Greenmeadows and Mitre 10 Sports Park Hastings, and this year it is the Hastings park’s turn to host.
After the significant success of the live-streamed event last year with more than 40,000 views, the event will be live-streamed again this year.