This week the New Zealand Fire Service offered its support for Christmas in a Shoebox by delivering to children of families experiencing financial hardship at this time. It's an initiative that's developed right across Northland in a very short span of time.
And the sound of sirens with fire engines and firemen bearing gifts was a real surprise for kids receiving these special gifts.
Gary Beer of the fire service said, "To see the smiles on their faces when receiving these gifts knowing that perhaps some of them wouldn't receive a present for Christmas. Just seeing their joy at receiving the shoeboxes."
Rangimaria Mako Munipola started Christmas in a Shoebox in Northland after experiencing hardships as a child. And the major community support behind the initiative has realised her goal.
She says, "Its all for the kids. I know at this time of year it can be hard for some families and especially for children who see or hear of other children having Christmas gifts and they're left without. Just giving that joy and hope."
Beer says, "Giving to families who are experiencing hardship at Christmas time is where it's at. And we acknowledge Rangimarie and are only happy to support her."
Azaria Nathan was one of many kids to receive a shoebox on this particular day, "We got presents off the fire trucks and all the kids were happy."
Tangi Metua is one of the parents, "Ohhh beautiful you know that's what it's all about! That's what Christmas is all about, putting smiles on anybody's face even a stranger."
Christmas in a Box was started in Whangarei back in October and by the end of the month has spread right across Northland. And while they're still tallying up the numbers organiser believe they have delivered well in excess of a thousand shoe boxes.
Rangimarie Mako Mulipola says, "It's very special! Even if If I didn't have anything for Christmas that is going to help me have the best Christmas this year knowing that some many children have Christmas presents."
Gary Beer said, "Again we acknowledge Rangimarie for leading "Christmas in a Shoebox" and for her love of the people. It's a heartfelt joy and I just about cried interacting with the children."