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Wellington Community Event up for NZer of the Year Award

Wellington Chinese New Year organisers, Asian Events Trust (AET), have been selected as one of 10 semi-finalists in the 2020 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards. AET are up for the Mitre 10 Community of the Year award for its work in the organisation of the annual Chinese New Year Festival.

The New Zealander of the Year Awards honour those who use their passion to make our country a better place.

The inaugural Chinese New Year Festival was organised in 2001 under the auspices of the Wellington Chinese Sports & Cultural Centre. Following the success of the first event and the desire to grow and develop the Festival citywide, AET, an independent trust with charitable status was formed in 2003.

AET Chairperson, Linda Lim says: "The inaugural festival provided an opportunity for the Chinese community to come out from behind closed doors and celebrate the most important festival in its calendar. The scale of Chinese New Year celebrations has grown to fill a gap not just for the Chinese community, but for the wider community to celebrate Wellington's cultural diversity. It has also become a way for the Chinese community, locally born and migrant communities, to feel at home, understood, accepted and proud to be Chinese in Aotearoa."

From its small beginnings, the Wellington Chinese New Year Festival has become a mainstay festival for the city. Involving over 3,500 volunteers and reaching a physical audience of more than 60,000 each year, the festival also has a growing online audience engaging and celebrating.

Dame Kerry Prendergast says, "I am proud to have been Mayor to open the inaugural festival in 2002, and have watched Asian Events Trust develop their celebration into the huge success it now is. It is not just an event; it is extremely educational, teaching non-Chinese new customs, bringing the two cultures closer together, allowing the Chinese community to shine."

The festival is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in Wellington’s cultural calendar. In 2020 Chinese New Year celebrations will be taking place on 1-2 February in, welcoming in the Year of the Rat. The festival promises to deliver a diverse programme of innovative, creative arts and cultural experiences, further enhancing Wellington's reputation for being New Zealand's arts and culture capital.

"We are humbled with our selection as a semi-finalist in these awards. To be named alongside the calibre and causes of other communities in this category is a huge honour. We are extremely proud to represent the diverse community groups and organisations that we work with each year to put on Chinese New Year celebrations in the Wellington region," says Lim.

Three finalists in each category will be selected by the end of December with the winners to be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala on 20 February 2020.

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