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Vandals attack Xmas spirit

Gillian and Duke Deliman’s Christmas lights before the attack. PHOTO SUPPLIED/GILLIAN DELIMAN

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Gillian and Duke Deliman say they won’t let two attacks in consecutive nights on their Christmas lights display ruin their Christmas spirit.

The couple moved to Cambridge Terrace from Upper Hutt a year ago and love Masterton where they have family living.

They have been putting Christmas lights up for 17 years in Upper Hutt and there’s been no vandalism.

The couple have maintained their Christmas lights show despite the attacks. PHOTO/PAM GRAHAM

Gillian is from England and worked in real estate in Upper Hutt for 22 years, and Duke is from Los Angeles, where putting lights displays on your home for others to enjoy is a tradition.

It takes Duke about three weeks to put up the lights and some of them the couple have designed themselves.

He was so excited to be putting them up in his new home in Masterton they went up a bit early this year.

The first attack came on Friday about 11pm when the couple were in their bedroom.

Gillian heard something outside and saw two young men standing at the fence.

“I saw the rope lights go up in the air,” she said. “I woke my husband up and said they’re trying to steal our lights.”

She banged on the window and the young men took off. The couple ran out into the yard in their pyjamas.

“They had come prepared because the rope lights are put on with cable electrical ties and they had been cut with either a knife or a wire cutter,” Gillian said.

Friends encouraged the couple to report the incident to police, and they admit the unprovoked attack shook them. They went out the next day and spent $900 on security cameras.

Then on Saturday night Duke heard something happening outside about 11.30pm.

He went out to find four very drunk teenage girls, one of whom was jumping over the fence from the yard to the footpath.

“The deer was gone,” Duke said.

They found the head of the reindeer caught in the fence and Gillian went looking for the body on the surrounding streets in her slippers at 5am but never found it.

The reindeer was expensive, and they had travelled all the way to Bunnings in Palmerston North to buy it. It was in a gap on the coverage of their new security cameras which have since been adjusted.

Not to be deterred they went to the Warehouse Masterton and purchased two reindeer, of a different model, to add to their display.

Duke said at one point they felt like taking all the lights down.

But they had been getting good crowds to see the lights.

“It is just devastating,” Gillian said.

Police are treating it as a burglary.

Duke said the attack ruined Christmas for them.

“We do all this not just for us but for everyone else in the neighbourhood,” Duke said.


  1. Really makes you wonder what is in people’s minds to spoil it for other people. It isn’t just the cost, it is the joy they give other people.
    Maybe in years to come when they are older, they may then realise.

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