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88 days to Lantern Festival in ‘year of the snake’

Media release –

28 November 2012

88 days to Lantern Festival in ‘year of the snake’

It is an auspicious 88 days until Auckland Lantern Festival, the largest annual Chinese event on the region’s calendar which lights up the city and brings to a close the traditional fortnight of Chinese New Year celebrations.

The 14th festival starts on 22 February, 2013. The event’s expected daily attendance of up to 60,000 people can enjoy an increased diversity of activities centred on Albert Park and inner-city streets.

Auckland Library, Auckland Art Gallery, Lorne St and Khartoum Place will also be key festival sites, with Chinese red lanterns forming part of the central city display on Queen Street.

The festival is a partnership between Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Jennah Wootten, ATEED Acting General Manager Destination, says the festival – which received $250,000 from ATEED’s Major Events Fund – is a much-awaited cultural highlight in Auckland’s events programme.

“Auckland Lantern Festival sits alongside Pasifika and Diwali festivals as a cornerstone event which celebrates the region’s vibrant ethnic diversity. The region’s growing Chinese community has embraced the spirit of the event and introduced its unique culture to other Aucklanders.

“Albert Park illuminated by beautifully crafted lanterns is a memorable sight. This is the kind of successful annual event which contributes to Auckland’s ambition to be the world’s most liveable city,” says Jennah Wootten.

Headlining the 2013 event is an international line-up from China, which includes award-winning folk/rock band Omnipotent Youth Society from Hebei, and Beauty and Melody, a classical music ensemble from Sichuan. The festival’s exciting live entertainment programme will also involve many local Chinese performance groups.

Visitors will be able to buy authentic crafts and taste delicious food from more than 100 vendors.

In the Chinese zodiac, 2013 is the year of the snake, which represents great wisdom and intuition. Representations of snakes will be woven into the Lantern Festival.

Asia New Zealand Foundation’s chairman Philip Burdon says, according to attendance data, half the Lantern Festival audience is non-Chinese. Aucklanders are increasingly willing to embrace the region’s growing Asian population.

“The Auckland Lantern Festival is a great way for the city’s Chinese communities to share their culture with Auckland families in general,” he said. “It’s a festival with something for everyone.”

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