Monday, December 16, 2013


This is the Santa James and I made for the Hikurangi Christmas parade. It all began on the deck at Stacy and James's house one Saturday early in December. We took some interesting advice from Stacy during this construction stage.

First we constructed a large globular shape out of number 8 wire. Then we covered it with chicken wire. James's students covered this armature with papier mache. It rained all week during the construction process so Santas large paper mache tummy was dried 24 / 7 with a fan heater. James is covering the paper mache body with PVA glue prior to the application of summer snow.

I bought a large beach ball from 'The WareHouse' for the head. All of this work was completed during a week when we were still writing end of year student reports - Just another weeks work for Kiwi teachers, but we are not complaining.
The head and the body were then covered in summer snow (white insulation fabric). We had problems with the body because the weight of the waterlogged paper mache combined with gravity conspired very hard to make Santas body into an ellipse. James cut the branches for the arms and I, (now being very knowledgeable about surgery) used wire cutters to cut holes through Santas rotund wire body and insert them with surgical precision. I made the nose and the eyes, Terry our Deputy Principal gave us a bright red scarf, her class made the black pom pom buttons and I found a red Hikurangi sun hat somewhere in the staffroom. What New Zealand teachers aren't called to do in the name of education and community isn't worth mentioning.

The Hikurangi School float won first prize in the Christmas parade. James and I in a fit of modesty named our snowman 'Clincher' because it was of course our snowman who made all the difference to the float and clinched first prize for the school. We made ourselves very popular with the almost all women staff by continually repeating this fact over and over and over  and over again - they knew deep down that a couple of Kiwi blokes working with number 8 wire is bound to win the day. It was one of those situations where men were men and women were glad of it.

There is an old saying in snowman making circles that explains in a deep and meaningful metaphorical way the tough physical and emotional environment that we were working in.....

......... "Its easy to forget that you came to drain the swamp when you are up to your arse in alligators." ........ Well, James and Moi, drained the swamp and now have a couple of pre...ttty sharp alligator shoes in our wardrobes, yup, we clinched it alright.


Delwyn said...

One thing we missed mentioning. How did you attach the head?

Happy Christmas my dear old friend
may next year be one of great health
and adventure
(age appropriate of course)

Happy days

Alden Smith said...

Thankyou Delwyn and Happy Christmas to you and yours. The head was attached with some sticky gunk that the school caretaker gave us - probably "No More Nails" or something similiar - anyway the head stayed on despite a number of people willing it to fall off - they liked the idea of it rolling down the main street of Hikurangi - but sadly that is not a story they will be telling their grand children.