Ponsonby's Franklin Road Christmas lights display celebrates 30 years

Residents on Ponsonby's Franklin Road will flick the switch on their famous Christmas lights display for the 30th year on Friday night.

The annual event has become synonymous with the city's festive season as thousands flock to see them sparkle every year.

Residents Dona and Gavin White know a thing or two about Christmas lights.

They were the first Franklin Road family to transform their front garden back in 1993 - a joyful gesture that would later become a tradition. 

"And then we met some neighbours across the road, who no longer live in that house, but they lit, and then we met Roscoe," Dona told Newshub.

"And Roscoe said this is cool and he really championed it," she added.

Since then, the street's gone "all out".

"People get more and more extravagant or creative every year."

Hanging and of course untangling for several days ahead of the annual big reveal.

Residents Dona and Gavin White were the first whānau on the street to transform their front garden.
Residents Dona and Gavin White were the first whānau on the street to transform their front garden. Photo credit: Newshub.

"We've had famous people turn on the lights. We've had the Governor-General, we've had Prime Ministers. Often actors are in town," said the event founder Roscoe Thornby.

He said it's only right the responsibility falls into the hands of Dona and Gavin tonight.

"It's kind of a tiring thing, but when you see the happiness it's addictive," said Dona.

The residents put on the display with no support from power companies and just a small grant from the Waitematā Local Board. 

But they do it to spread Christmas cheer and for some friendly neighbourhood rivalry. 

"We've always been in the top five!" Dona laughed.

The street pulled the plug in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, but the event gets bigger and better every year.

Up to 150,000 people drop by to see Santa, his reindeer and even a smattering of fake snow.

Thirty years on, the Franklin lights are shining brighter than ever.