New Zealand's Paralympians led the annual parade in Auckland ©Paralympics NZ

Five New Zealand Paralympians have led Auckland’s annual Farmers Santa Parade to celebrate the forthcoming festive season.

Rio 2016 swimming gold and silver medallist Nikita Howarth joined Rebecca Dubber and Laura Thompson on the parade, with the latter two having earned swimming bronze and cycling silver at the Paralympics Games.

Holly Robinson, who won F46 javelin silver and carried the country’s flag at the Games and swimmer Jesse Reynolds was also selected to take part in the 83rd edition of the event.

The athletes were sat on a Rio-themed Paralympics float, which led the parade through the streets of Auckland.

Their participation followed a successful Paralympic Games for New Zealand after they secured nine gold, five silver and seven bronze medals to end 13th on the overall medals table.

“Certainly our Paralympic athletes were a big hit with the crowd,” said Pam Glaser, Farmers Santa Parade organiser.

“The Rio float looked stunning with its bold colours and dancers alongside.

“Our Paralympians did us proud and it was a huge honour to have them lead the procession.

“In terms of the event itself, it was probably our biggest year ever in terms of float variety and amazing pageantry, fun and surprises that have made it a perennial favourite.”

Holly Robinson was one of five athletes to be selected to take part in the parade ©Getty Images
Holly Robinson was one of five athletes to be selected to take part in the parade ©Getty Images

The annual event was claimed to have attracted tens of thousands of spectators, with cultural diversity viewed as one of the key themes.

As part of the theme, Brazilian dancers took part in the parade next to the Paralympic float.

The event saw funds raised for the Salvation Army, which will be used to provide support for families during the Christmas period.