Chapter 1 Hamilton Christmas Vignettes: The Creative Waikato CEO.
‘When my girls were about 4 and 7 I took them to see Santa in Downtown Plaza. They were fascinated by him but not brave enough to approach. I desperately wanted them to jump up on his knee so we could make a memory with a cheesy Christmas portrait. I waited patiently and cajoled them along, but they wouldn’t budge. I tried bribes, but to no avail.
As a final desperate attempt I blurted out “come on girls, youll regret it if you don’t. When you’re older and realise there’s no Father Christmas you’ll be able to look back at a time you still believed.”
Silly, silly mummy.’
– Sarah Nathan, Hamilton’s Art Fairy-In-Residence
We know you as Hamilton’s magical art fairy. How would you best describe what you do?
I love that title soooo much. I think I need a wand. Basically I try to be the biggest cheerleader for the creative sector out there. I work at Creative Waikato with 5 of the coolest cats in town; all of who are utterly and totally devoted to helping Hamilton and the Waikato grow its rich arts activity. Lets just say it’s not hard to get out of bed in the morning.
What is your Hamilton citizenship status?
11-years service. I lived the first half of my life in Aussie (thongs, esky, doonas and liquid paper) and second half in NZ. Lived in Wellington and Auckland before landing here. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. Our kids have been raised and educated here and it’s been an amazing environment for them. Once all the off-spring have flown the coop I imagine we will move on to new experiences, but Im certain if we do, we will never again experience the sense of friendship and community that we have here. I often say I made more friends in my first 6 months living in Hamilton than I did living 5 years in Auckland.
Where do you currently call home?
Beerescourt. I was an Eastside girl for my first 7 years in Hamilton, and crossing the river seemed like some kind of betrayal of faith. But I love it. We live in an architecturally designed 1955 red-brick and white weatherboard beauty. I love everything mid-century. We are slowly renovating, revealing and preserving all the native rimu and matai wood. I recon the well-built houses of the 50’s and 60’s are to Hamilton as villas are to Auckland.
The other lovely thing about Beerescourt is the trees. We have mature Kowhai, Kauri, Totara and Rimu on our section and the view from the deck across the tree-tops is gorgeous.
Will you be in Hamilton for Christmas?
Just for Christmas Day (traditional hot turkey dinner thank you very much) and Boxing Day (Mum’s birthday – compulsory breakfast in bed) and then off to the beach for 10 days. We are going to Whangamata. I realise that sounds very predictable as half of Hamilton seems to do the same, but its something we have never done before, so I cant wait. We’ve booked a traditional little bach and will have a huge assortment of teenagers coming and going, dossing in the garage and tents in the backyard. I get to be the parent who has responsibility for 10 hormone-fuelled 15 year olds over New Year. Excellent…
In 10 years’ time, you will look on 2013 as the year that you…
The year I bought my painting of Hamilton. It is my investment for the day when I’ve moved to new pastures, and I can look at the artwork and reminisce on the many amazing years I had in this city.
The paining is by local artist Gary Moore, and it’s a landscape of the Waikato river and cityscape on either side. It’s a view you see in photos of Hamilton all the time but the colours are so vibrant and unusual. It makes me happy.
Have you been naughty or nice this year?
Hmmm. Nice I think. Pretty sure nice. I do have a bit of a potty mouth, but other than that, yes, nice.
What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?
A membership to a north island ski lodge. Every year we say we wished we skied more. The kids are growing up so fast. This is the year…
The best thing about Hamilton during Christmas is…
Driving out to one of the many Christmas Tree farms just on the city boundary and watching the kids run up and down the aisles trying to find the very best tree in the paddock. Of course when you find it, you go and get the rest of the family to see it and then you cant find it again, so you have to start all over again. Filling the car full of pine needles, sticky sap and the smell of pine is all part of the experience. Love it, love it, love it.
Hamilton’s best-kept Christmas secret is…
Gingerbread lattes at Starbucks (probably not so secret but reminds me of my Christmases in Canada), The Christmas Cakes at The SugarPLum Cake Co. on Alexander St and the Draw Inc Affordable Art show (also on Alexandra St) for the best Christmas prezzies in town.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @flibertygibbety or wander down to Creative Waikato on Alexandra Street and follow her in person!