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Wellington’s Chinese New Year Festival Is Celebrating 20 Years

Asian Events Trust are thrilled to present the 20th annual Chinese New Year Festival in Wellington.

Taking place 13-14 February 2021, the festival will encompass a show featuring a festival retrospective, a spectacular fireworks display, a Zodiac art trail, and all the delicious tastes of Asian cuisine and displays of Asian culture.

The year 2021 marks the year of the ox (or bull). In Chinese culture the ox represents persistence, strength, and patience; attributes which reflect the longevity of the Chinese New Year Festival and the will to bring the community joy, particularly poignant with the challenging times experienced with the global pandemic.

From humble beginnings in 2002, the festival has become an important part of Wellington's events calendar and celebrating 20 years is a significant milestone. Over the last 20 years the festival has provided a rich platform for local community groups to showcase their talents and inspire the wider community to experience and engage with a vibrant and diverse culture.

Linda Lim, Chair of Asian Events Trust says: “While we wanted to acknowledge the significant milestone of reaching 20 years, the driver in development of this year’s festival programme remains an authentic celebration of Chinese New Year, and to present an event that is relevant to all New Zealanders; a programme that holds some appeal for everyone.”

“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 and for the Chinese community to feel understood, accepted and proud to be Chinese in Aotearoa,” says Lim.

The festival will kick off on Saturday 13 with an evening of performances from groups that have participated in the festival over the last 20 years. The showcase will honour the contribution of local community groups to the Festival and highlight the development and growth of the programme. The evening will round off with a spectacular fireworks display over Wellington’s harbour. Sunday 14 February is Festival Day and a chance to experience the finest Chinese cuisine, crafts and more cultural entertainment at TSB Arena. The Festival Street Parade will also make a highly anticipated return on Sunday, filling Wellington’s CBD with more fabulous colour, music and joy.

While actual festival celebrations kick off on Saturday 13 February, Wellington will be treated to a feast of visual art, from 1 February. An exhibition of art work by Stan Chan and Kerry Ann Lee, inspired by photographic images drawn from 20 years of Wellington Chinese New Year will be popping up in the light boxes on Courtenay Place. This exhibition also forms one of the sites of the Chinese New Year Zodiac Art Trail, a public art trail, featuring the 12 animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac, created by Wellington and internationally-based artists around Wellington’s CBD and waterfront.

The festival will also introduce an online component to it’s 2021 programme. Digital presentations of the Courtenay Place Lightbox Exhibition and the Zodiac Art Trail with Daniel Belton’s Astrolabe – Whakateranga (Pounamu) will connect and engage the community through a virtual celebration of Chinese culture and New Year.

“COVID-19 has brought a new normal to our lives and dramatically changed the arts and events landscape, but with this creates opportunities for us to innovate and find new ways to connect and deliver to our audiences. Our proposed programme is new and exciting and will be a fantastic celebration of the Year of the Ox and our 20th anniversary. We also believe it will be one to contribute to the process of the rebuilding and recovery of our communities,” says Lim.


13-14 February, Wellington

Visit or follow Chinese New Year Festival on Facebook for events and updates.

© Scoop Media

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