Santa brings Christmas to Waiau quake-affected kids

Santa comes to Waiau (Newshub.)
Santa comes to Waiau (Newshub.)

The small Canterbury township of Waiau got an early visit from Santa on Sunday - from the back of a police car.

"Sped here a bit quick, which is why I came in the police car. Poor reindeer got impounded for 28 days under the boy racer laws!" Santa says.

He was in a hurry to bring Christmas a month early to the small town that took a bit of a battering in the quake.

But physical damage can be an easy fix in comparison to human emotions. Sunday's goal was to give the children here something to smile about.

Sunday's event was organised by emergency services with the help of businesses and charities. It follows a similar event in Kaikoura to help bring the local communities together.

"Having been through it personally in Christchurch, you're able to talk to people frankly and say, 'You know, it happened to me, mate; it's just natural,'" says NZ Fire Service's Wayne Hamilton, who organised the event.

"And if we keep together and keep looking after each other, checking on our neighbours and all those small things, and stick together as a team, we're always going to be a better place."

Christchurch-based child psychotherapist Jo Doyle says it's normal for children to feel more vulnerable after quakes.

"What parents should be doing now is just making sure that their kids are close and just really going with what their children want - so if they want to sleep in Mum and Dad's bed, and it's doable, then that's absolutely fine," she says.

But for those who needed a bit more of a pick-me-up, Sunday was a reminder that friendship - and lolly scrambles - make happy communities.