Chinese New Year 2017 The Year of the Rooster
Chinese New Year is a big occasion on the New Zealand calendar of events. It's partly a reflection of a growing cosmopolitan population, but the Chinese-New Zealand community has long been an important part of New Zealand. The first Chinese immigrants came to New Zealand during the 1860s to the Otago Goldfields.
Where should you go for the best celebrations?
This year we are welcoming the year of the rooster, and most main centres have celebrations. In Dunedin, a special event is held in the city's Chinese Garden, on January 28th, at the start of the New Year celebrations. It features a dragon parade from the Octagon in the city centre to the garden. The evening will continue at the Chinese Garden with dragon and lion dances, cultural performances, food stalls, and a fireworks finale at 10 pm. The Chinese Garden in Dunedin was opened in 2008, to celebrate the city's sisterhood with Shanghai, and to honour the first Chinese settlers of Otago.
Lantern Festivals in Auckland and Christchurch
The most famous Chinese New Year celebrations happens at the end of the two week celebration in Auckland. The Lantern Festival runs from February the 9th, until the 12th, at the Auckland Domain, and features a parade of over 800 lanterns. It is believed that the lanterns help to see the celestial spirits who are out and about at the first full moon of the year.
There are not just lanterns to see at the festival. There is a programme of international talent, including Nair Ensemble, who perform traditional Mongolian folk music with modern interpretation. There will also be performances by Askar Grey Wolf, a rock band sensation who have been called 'Asia's Pink Floyd.' Add to that carnival rides, and yummy food stalls, and the Lantern Festival is an event you don't want to miss.
The Lantern Festival has been such a success that it is repeated in Christchurch the following weekend. The Christchurch Lantern Festival runs of the weekend of the 18th and 19th of February at Hagley Park.