Auckland's iconic 'creepy' Santa ditches the city for new home at the Wanaka museum

After 60 years, Auckland City's giant 18 metre-high Santa has ditched his sleigh.

The big guy left Auckland in the early hours of Wednesday morning for his retirement in Wanaka.

Otaki onlookers saw Santa hit the road on the back of a couple of trucks, in 13 pieces.

"It was probably the highlight of the day to be honest - it was great," an Otaki resident said.

By sunrise, the 5-tonne torso had made it over the Bombays, and on to Manawatu passing other Kiwi icons and turning heads as he flew through.

"He normally doesn't come round this time of year but he was looking a little bit creepy and a bit worse for wear," Hunterville resident Anna Lambert said.

For almost 60 years he's lured festive shoppers to Farmers, towered over Queen Street, even relocated to Manukau. 

Voted the world's creepiest Christmas ornament in 2011, Santa's beckoning finger later got the chop.

His owner Heart of the City finally decided it was time to sell.

"Oh my goodness that is so sad!" An Aucklander responded.

"It was a little bit manky, a bit old. But nah it was great, the kids loved it," another said.

But it's Auckland's loss, and Wanaka's gain.

The ultimate roadie to retirement, and in Wanaka, he's got a far better chance of seeing a true white Christmas.