Māori Santa to be the 'star of the show' at Wellington's Aro Park celebrations despite backlash

Headlines 12/12/2018

A Maori Santa who caused controversy in the Nelson Santa parade could be on his way to the capital.

A Facebook event page called Bring Maori Santa to Wellington has been successful, and Rob Herewini has agreed to attend a community fair in Aro Valley as the "guest of honour".

The page's organisers Natasha Crombie and Lexi Taylor say they originally started the page to show Mr Herewini "some love and support".

On Wednesday morning, they told Newshub that Mr Herewini has accepted their offer to appear at Summer Sounds, a community fair in Aro Valley on the 22nd December.

They have now launched a Givealittle page to raise funds for Mr Herewini's flights and accommodation - and it's already reached $1,542.

The page says that they are extending "a warm welcome to Maori Santa Hana Koko to be the guest of honour at Summer Sounds!"

"Any extra funds will go to Rob Herewini to support his community work in Nelson".

The Givealittle page has inspired waves of support from commenters on Facebook, with people expressing their love and excitement for Mr Herewini's appearance.

"Let's start some new traditions, suitable for Aotearoa, Hana Koko can be magical too."

"Brilliant work. Go Aro, beautiful, accepting little community"

However, concern has been raised over the potential presence of protesters at the event. 

"So pleased he's coming but also worried he'll face more abuse. I so hope the racist idiots stay away."

Source: Vita Molyneux, Newshub