Celebrating Chinese New Year

New Zealand prides itself on celebrating the diverse cultures of the many ethnic groups that inhabit this land and Chinese New Year is no exception.

New Zealand prides itself on celebrating the diverse cultures of the many ethnic groups that inhabit this land. And, in a land that is home to a thriving Chinese community that numbers around 90,000 China-born residents - plus many more New Zealanders who identify as ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is no exception.

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar and one of the most ancient events celebrated around the world.

Observed between late January and mid-February, depending on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year is a vibrant occasion filled with colour, family traditions and hopes for the future.

Each year, one of the 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac is celebrated and, in 2017, it is the year of the rooster. 

From the multi-cultural mecca of Auckland’s 'City of Sails', to the creative hub of the capital city in Wellington, there are plenty of Chinese New Year inspired annual events taking place marking this fun and auspicious occasion.

Auckland - Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day

Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most culturally diverse city plays host to an annual Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day which is usually timed to kick off celebrations just ahead of the official dates. 

Organised by the Auckland Chinese Community Centre Inc, this event has been running for almost 30 years and features over 200 specialist stalls showcasing Chinese delicacies, cuisine, arts and crafts. It has become a must-do in the Auckland summer event calendar.

Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day

Auckland Lantern Festival

The Auckland Lantern Festival is another magical event celebrating Chinese culture and is one of Auckland’s favourite and most anticipated cultural events with around 200,000 visitors annually.

The Lantern Festival brings Auckland to life as hundreds of handmade and spectacular illuminations brighten the night sky. Colour, a street full of food stalls, music and entertainment all add to the festival atmosphere in the Auckland Domain, above Newmarket and Parnell.

There is always plenty of family-friendly entertainment - including international acts from China, ranging from martial arts, dance and live music.

Auckland Lantern Festival

Chinese New Year at SkyCity Auckland

SkyCity Auckland has been celebrating Chinese New Year for 21 years and it has become one of the biggest events of the year at the central city entertainment precinct.

The Sky Tower will glow red and gold for the duration of the two-week celebration beaming out across Auckland and welcoming around a quarter of a million people to the precinct to celebrate the new year in spectacular style. 

Free entertainment will include colourful cultural performances and activities such as lion dancers, Taiko drummers, acrobats and balloon artists.

SkyCity Auckland

Wellington - Chinese New Year Festival

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city celebrates Chinese New Year in style with their annual Chinese New Year Festival. Organised by the Asian Events Trust, the event has been going strong for over 12 years, completing a full animal cycle.

Festival events include performing arts, a Beijing meets Wellington football game and a spectacular fireworks display. 

The main festival day includes an Asian market, a street parade and plenty of cultural entertainment all centred on Wellington’s picturesque waterfront. 

Chinese New Year Festival

Canterbury - Chinese New Year stargazing 

At Lake Tekapo, in the South Island, Earth and Sky's world-famous stargazing tours give visitors a chance to experience Chinese New Year from a new perspective.  Jupiter shines bright during the Chinese New Year and is a very auspicious planet for the Chinese.

Ancient Chinese astronomers observed Jupiter’s orbit, noting that it took around 12 years to complete its full cycle. This led to the development of the 12 year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac, with each year being associated with a different animal.

Earth and Sky