Seven-year-old's plea gets Santa back on Hamilton rooftop – Stuff

After several years’ hiatus, Hamilton’s own Santa Claus is back thanks to a curious seven-year old and a Hamilton property developer.
The former Calder Lawson building on Grey St in Hamilton East has in Christmases past hosted a Father Christmas lookalike – albeit plastic. For the past two years an errant Santa has left a Christmas-shaped hole in the minds of many of the city’s youngsters.
One of them was seven-year-old Miliana (Mili) McPrior, who often used to greet Mr Claus on her way to and from school, mum Tegan McIntyre said. That hadn’t been the case during Covid however.
So Mili hatched a plan. Knowing that Hamilton developer Matt Stark – of Riverbank Lane and Hills Apartments – had recently purchased the former travel agents’ building, she wrote him a letter.
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“Dear Mr Stark, it is thirty days until Christmas. I really want the big Santa on the roof in Hamilton East. Can you please help?”
Stark was only happy to oblige. He diverted one of his HIAB cranes and returned Santa to his rightful place.
Coaxing Santa back up was the easy part, Stark says.
“I had to call the former owner of the building and find out where Santa even was.”
Mcintyre says Mili almost had a “meltdown” upon seeing that Stark had granted her Christmas wish.
“We were driving to school, and we looked out the window and there he was. I did a double-take because I saw that he was holding something. He had a sign and on it said ‘Merry Christmas Miliana’.”
Mili insisted they pull over and take a photo, her mother said and it was an early Christmas present of sorts.
“It was just such utter joy for her.”
“She had a bit of a rough time during Covid and for her Santa was sign of normality. She said to me ‘it would be nice to have Santa back because it would be nice for things to be normal again’.”
Stark applauds Mili’s Christmas spirit, and says that it’s a good lesson for kids who are thinking of asking a grown-up for something out of the ordinary.
“If you ask a question, something good might just come out of it.”
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