Santarchy 2001

Wellington, New Zealand

A cat.
OK... where do I start? Well I was doing the typical tourist thing in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, checking out the national parliament buildings. It was the afternoon of 22nd December 2001, the final Saturday before Christmas Day. I happened upon this motley crew of Santas getting kitted up on the parliament lawns. This also aroused the attention of a policeman, who had obviously been delegated the task of guarding the national parliament in a politically edgy world as the smoke was still clearing from September 11. One of the Santas said "Don't worry, we're not doing anything illegal", which satisfied the policeman, who proceeded to clear off, but not before asking where they bought the suits (The Warehouse®, only $NZ20).
As a man of the world (an Australian tourist) I was inquisitive as to what was going on, so I bowled up to the group of five or so Santas to find out their story.
A local reporter was also there, who took some photos of the group.

The Santas' leader, 'St. Nicotine', invited me to join them for a night of 'Santarchy'. When I asked what that involved, he promised me "the best night of my life". Quite a claim, I thought, and one I should not pass up.

He said something about "consumerfest" and some other things but it seemed the people were generally just having a super time!

After 22 days on the road in NZ, I was buggered and needed to get some sleep before the all-night orgy that had been promised. I went back to my hostel (Beethoven's House in Mt. Victoria -- highly recommended!) and crashed for a few hours. On the way I took the opportunity of capturing this example of NZ's liberal laws regarding 133t number plates.
In Wellington's compact city centre if took a little under five minutes for me to bump into and join up with the Santarchy group. Their numbers now swollen somewhat, they had made their way to the Wellington Sports Bar, where they were stirring up considerable interest. This place was rockin'! Playing Queen songs and other 80's nostalgia had crowds of Santas on the dance floor. I picked up my Santa costume and primed myself for the HO-HO-HOing (and other Santa misquotations) that were to fill the night.
As well as this jovial pair, the talent at the Sports Bar was exceptional, as I'm sure many of the other Santas would agree.
About 15 Santas walked up the street up to near 'The Club' nightclub. Note the Santas in the background at the Pizza slice booth.
We stationed ourselves...
As you can see I forgot to shave that afternoon.
Yeah we stationed ourselves... that these wiley Santas could get flung back into the stratosphere.
Yes it goes 'up'.
"Why, hello Blitzen!"
"Have you been a good girl this year?".
Our entourage's fairy.
A Cuba Mall water feature.
St. Nicotine is in control of the situation.
Haw! Shaolin temple fighter!
Hey! It's tomorrow!
We paused at a Turkish restaurant for a ' ' report
It was at this point we learnt the full phrase, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Jolly Ramadan.
Rocking the kasbah.
Felafel onion, anyone?
St. Nic trying to come to terms with the thought of the stripper that had just been sitting on his lap.
A hard day at the office for our Santas.
"Don't you think it's funny how similar 'Santa' is to 'Satan'? And don't you think it's funny how 'OBL' is similar to 'ICBL'?


"Yeah... Intercontinental Ballistic Missile"

"err... that's ICBM"

"See... now you've ruined my whole concept of the world." 

[In a David Attenborough voice]: "See the Wellingtonians in their natural habitat...
"Now let's see how they behave when we add 12 Santas..."
The 'YEEHAH' stamp from 'The Fat Lady's Arms'.
The stamp from 'Barney's'.
Wellington's infamous 'The Big Easy' (pronounced 'bug'), aka 'The Big Sleazy' by the locals. Santas were popular here, and before I knew it, I was in a headlock of some huge guy who said "If you go anywhere near my sister and wife again I'll kill you, I don't care if you're Santa". Heck they were the ones dirty dancing with me! Cripey that guy must have felt real threatened!!!
The Sports Bar, by day.