23 Dec 2023

Rural Taranaki turns on the festive charm

From Country Life, 9:05 am on 23 December 2023
The Grinch surfing through the paddocks in Taranaki.

The Grinch surfing through the paddocks in Taranaki. Photo: Supplied

The Grinch has been seen surfing through paddocks in Taranaki and reindeer are flying overhead. 

No your eyes don't deceive you - they are there - but it's all thanks to farmers and Taranaki Catchment Communities. 

The catchment group is once again spreading festive joy with its third annual Christmas Farm Art competition.

Lead coordinator, Nicola Bryant, shared the origins of the event with Country Life. 

"The first year was when all the Christmas parades were getting cancelled. And we were like, 'how can we bring cheer into the rural communities?'"

The competition, born out of a desire to inject holiday spirit into the countryside, has become a resounding success, becoming an eagerly anticipated tradition.

Tyres stacked like a christmas tree in front of Mount Taranaki.

Photo: Supplied

Bryant reflects, "Every year, people ask us if we're running it again. I know when I drive in the car with my kids, that we're looking to see what's out there, so it does bring a lot of cheer and brightens up the countryside."

What makes this competition unique is the creative use of farm waste.

Participants showcase their ingenuity by repurposing materials like filter socks, silage wrap, and chopped-up wood.

"People are trying to be really aware of what they're using," Bryant notes.

"We've kept our theme quite broad because we don't want people to just necessarily have just a Christmas theme. So we've gone with that summer theme or Christmas theme so that people can...not be limited to what they're entering."

The diversity of entries is evident in the wide range of creations.

A cow wearing a helmet made out of hay bales sitting on a makeshift quad bike.

Photo: Supplied

When talking to Country Life Bryant reveals a sneak peek, saying, "I have seen a cow on a quad bike made from silage bales. That was pretty impressive.

"And I must say, he's even put helmets on the cows. They've looked at the health and safety side," Bryant says with a laugh. 

Reindeer spotted flying over paddocks in Taranaki.

Reindeer spotted flying over paddocks in Taranaki. Photo: Supplied

However, since the interview, the winners of the competition have been released. 

Taking home the top prize was reindeer flying over a paddock, while Santa can be seen falling down a chimney. 

Those in Taranaki can visit the artistic creations - the road of each entry is on the corresponding photo of Taranaki Catchment Communities Facebook page. 

The community has embraced the event, with some farmers becoming regular participants.

Bryant shares, "We have the same farmers, a few, that have entered every year now. But we have had a few new entries this year."

One entry features two little elves attempting to slow down traffic with a speed camera, creating both amusement and a traffic-slowing effect.

"It's actually quite nice to see people are slowing down to have a look. So it's doing two purposes."

Christmas elf's are manning the speed camera.

Christmas elf's are manning the speed camera. Photo: Supplied

The joy and camaraderie among participants are evident.

Bryant notes, "They just love the Christmas spirit and getting in behind us. I think everyone just wants to see people happy."

The positive response from passersby, including the sound of car horns honking in approval, adds to the festive atmosphere.