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Year of the Dragon celebrated at Parliament

The Chinese Year of the Dragon will be celebrated at Parliament on 8 February 2012 at an event hosted by the new Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Hon Judith Collins.

The dragon is considered to be the mightiest of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and festivals welcoming the auspicious year are expected to be especially well attended and embraced.

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key will join around two hundred people at the function.

They will witness the traditional lion dance, in which Mr Key will place a red envelope in the lion’s mouth as a symbol of good luck, prosperity and to dispel evil spirits.

The Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Mervin Singham says celebrating cultural festivals such as Chinese New Year reflects New Zealand’s strong and positive relationship with its ethnic communities.

Ms Collins says the Chinese community adds strength to the New Zealand economy through its entrepreneurial spirit and its links back to the economic power house of the Asia Pacific region.

“The traits associated with this year of the Dragon include being innovative, enterprising, flexible, self-assured, brave, and passionate. These are exactly the traits that all of us need to build a bright and prosperous future.”

2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of New Zealand’s diplomatic relationship with China.

It is a relationship that was cemented when New Zealand became the first western nation to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with Beijing in 2010.

Mr Singham says engaging with ethnic communities helps inform New Zealand’s relationship with its trading partners and fosters trade links and economic growth.

Website: www.ethnicaffairs.govt.nz

******

ENDS

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