Tropical Christmas is made up of a committee of several Rarotonga merchants who in 2013 came together to find a way to put the “island spirit” back into Christmas.
It includes a number of activities and events throughout December to bring joy to the faces of the children and light up the island during the festive season.
CITC key brand marketing manager George George, who also poses as the Santa Claus in this celebration, said every year the committee in Rarotonga strives to improve and better the event.
He said they also introduce new Disney characters every year to add value to the celebration.
George said the aim was to get more members involved so they can have fresh ideas to make Tropical Christmas a better event in the coming years.
“We would do with the support of government departments here on Rarotonga who seem to be doing absolutely nothing since the start of this annual event,” George said.
“We want to get more businesses to participate and really get behind the spirit of bringing tropical magic to this event.
“Far too many people and businesses think it’s an ‘only CITC’ run event which is not. Although the ones that are driving it are mostly proactive CITC staff.”
George said Tropical Christmas could be used to bring people together after a whole year of “mindboggling and busy politics, church and land issues, etc.”
“It’s a time to celebrate as a nation. It’s a time for giving. It’s a time to make peace with family members, sporting rivals, political agendas, etc.
“From myself (Santa) and Elfie (Ronnie Si’ulepa) and the rest of the committee, our biggest thrill is seeing the joy, the smile and the happy feelings that our little ones have when this event is on.”
George thanked all the sponsors who made this year’s event a success.
The sponsors include Cook Islands General Transport, BCI, Te Aponga Uira, Ministry of Cultural Development, Rotaract Club, Sea Salt Takeaway, Kai Pizza, Moana Gems, Bite Time, Hori Signs, Jetsave, Western Union, Rongohiva, Matson, Ronnies Social Media Marketing, Empire Theatres, Vonnias, CITC, Island Craft Ltd, Coca Cola, BSP, Bergman and Sons, Island Car and Bike Hire, Cook Islands News, Computer Man, ANZ, Fishers Cook Islands Black Pearls, Tailor Made, Prime Foods, Goldmine, Cook Islands Lager, Avis, Pickering Motors Limited, Air New Zealand and Vaima.
George thanked the Tropical Christmas committee members – Gaye, Lorette, Yvonne, Vaea and Fletcher Melvin, and Damon Enoka.
He also thanked those who helped in the Santa Parade last week.
For the Aitutaki Santa and Christmas in the Park, George thanked Air Rarotonga, Tamanu Beach, Mama Rangi and Papa Pauka for the lovely kaikai, the three banks in Aitutaki (BSP, ANZ and BCI) for putting the entire programme for the parade, Mike Henry and sponsors for the fireworks, Aitutaki community in Rarotonga for sponsoring the lollies and the business community in Aitutaki for their support.