20191205 200334
16 Dec
Community

Festive gala marks start of the Christmas Tree Festival

16 December 2019

Passengers travelling through Wellington Airport this festive season are being treated to the sight of over 30 unique Christmas trees twinkling across the concourse.

From traditionally decorated, to modern and quirky, the trees decorated by local organisations are lighting up the space until 6 January 2020.

The annual Christmas Tree Festival raises much-needed money to give the CF community support, advocacy, and hope through research. Wellington Airport Chief Executive Officer, Steve Sanderson, opened the Gala.

 “Cystic Fibrosis NZ is a charity I hold dear to my heart, and this event just keeps getting bigger and better,” he said.

A passionate speech was given by Nicci Hughson, CFNZ Wellington branch co-chair and mum to Nora, who lives with CF.  She spoke about new medicines available which can treat the root cause of CF, not just the symptoms, so can improve quality and length of life.

But these drugs cost a lot of money. Pharmac does not have enough to fund these medicines. Kiwis are missing out on life-saving medications.

CFNZ has teamed up with Patient Voice Aotearoa (PVA) to petition the government to double Pharmac’s budget.

Nicci asked people to sign and send information about the petition to Pharmac to colleagues, friends and family.

Victoria University student Hanna Meates, a representative of the CF community and currently six days into a two-week hospital stay for IV antibiotics, was given permission to leave the hospital for a couple of hours to attend the festival.

She said she was incredibly thankful to Wellington Airport, businesses, organisations and the New Zealand public for its ongoing support.

 “Cystic fibrosis affects every part of my life and makes day to day things much harder than it is for a normal person. I get run down and sick easily and am at constant risk of chest infections, sometimes even just brushing my teeth and eating can leave me breathless.”

“The raising of money for CF is so important as there is no cure for this condition, and we need all the funding we can so we can continue to do the research it takes to help the CF community to live full, normal and most importantly healthy, long lives,” she said.

Nicci Hughson thanked the team at Wellington airport for letting CF use “this beautiful airport to show off our trees. Every year we are blown away by your generosity and enthusiasm for the Festival,” she said.

“Hosting the Cystic Fibrosis Christmas Tree Festival is an annual highlight for Wellington Airport,” Jo Maxwell, Manager Brand and Innovation at Wellington Airport, said.

“We love the heart and community spirit it brings to the terminal during the festive season, whilst helping to boost awareness and raise much-needed funds for Kiwis living with the condition.”

Nicci Hughson welcomed and thanked new sponsors Subway, Rydges, Colliers, and also those who had participated in the festival for several years, including ANZ, NZ Rugby and Treesy Peesy.

Artist Lynn Sandri was the judge of the top three Christmas trees:

  • 1st place – Whittakers – won the 10 km airport advertising package, plus a gift hamper with samples from the airport retail stores
  • 2nd place – Treesy Peesy, who have sponsored the festival from the beginning. They won two return flights to Fiji with Air NZ
  • 3rd place – Elderberry & Kate (a day spa), won a sample pack of Maude wine

The event is expected to raise $50,000.

Finally, CEO of Wellington airport, Steve Sanderson, said “I am very pleased to confirm the festival will be back in 2020.”

A huge thank you to everyone involved and to all the visitors who pop a few coins into the collection boxes. If you’re unable to visit the airport, you can make a donation online: www.cfnz.org.nz/donate.