Timaru's Christmas lights are hanging above Stafford St, once again.

Like Santa himself, they work under the cover of darkness.

Each year, they get the nod from the Timaru District Council that the time has come to bring Christmas to town, and a team of about 10 Netcon staff descend on Stafford St to begin the tradition of installing Timaru’s Christmas decorations.

It takes about four days to festoon the street, from North St in the south, to Sefton St in the north.

It is a familiar task for Netcon operations manager Richard Phimister. For 40 years, from his MED days as a line mechanic, Mr Phimister has been involved in the annual installation, seeing the decorations evolve from simple decorative balls to the angels of today.

General manager Dan Batchelor said the crew was in Stafford St by 3am, taking advantage of the empty street. They had to be off the road by about 8.30am, when the central business district started its day.

They returned at 3am the following day to continue working their way up the street. Using “bucket trucks” – which provided an elevated work platform – they strung catenary wires from one side of the street to the other, fixing them to brackets on the verandas and walls of the buildings. A stainless steel wire went through the body of the decorations, bearing the load, while the catenary wires stopped the decorations from blowing around and twisting, he said.

Come January, the instruction will come to take them down for another year. It is a faster process, perhaps just a couple of nights’ work to take them down and pack them away.

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