Venkat Raman –
While ‘Diwali,’ the Hindu Festival of Lights is dubbed as the ‘largest Indian cultural and cuisine’ event in New Zealand, the Chinese Lantern Festival does much more, if the take of the Auckland City Council and its associate bodies can be believed.
The Auckland Lantern Festival, essentially that of Chinese New Year, is shaping to be the biggest event with a record number of people expected to visit the three new venues this year- the Auckland Domain and Kari Street Commons, linked to the festival via the lantern-lit Centennial Walkway.
It would be held from February 9 to 12, 2017.
Now in its 18th year, the festival celebrates the best of traditional and contemporary Chinese culture, including lanterns, live music and dance, martial arts, arts and crafts, food and fireworks.
Last year, the Lantern Festival attracted more than 200,000 people.
The inaugural ASB Lantern Forum business trade event, scheduled to be held at Auckland Museum Centre on February 9, would be a highlight. Hosted by ASB Bank, the Forum will have the partnership of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Asia New Zealand Foundation.
More than 200 Chinese delegates, ministers, Members of Parliament, migrants and businesspersons are expected to attend the Forum.
ATEED General Manager (Business, Innovation and Skills) Patrick McVeigh said that the event is part of ATEED’s work to increase investment, luxury tourism and trade between Auckland and China.
“New Zealand’s trade relationship with China has nearly tripled over the past decade. Two-way trade between the two countries totalled $18.8 billion in the year ending December 2015. The ASB Lantern Forum will determine how to convert the potential into real economic gain with discussions around current economic ties, investment, and future trading opportunities,” he said.
ASB General Manager Branch and International Banking Logan Munro described the ASB Lantern Forum as a ‘powerful opportunity to connect the Auckland and Chinese business communities at a significant time of the year.’
Authentic Asian Cuisine
The Festival this year promises wider choice of cuisine than its predecessors. With the Night Noodle Markets that are famous for their great range of authentic Asian cuisine as well as the hawker-style atmosphere akin to the back streets of Singapore and Hong Kong will be on offer from over 15 food vendors.
There will also entertainment for festival-goers to enjoy.
ATEED Head of Major Events Charmaine Ngarimu encouraged people to plan their travel to the festival ahead of time, taking advantage of the proximity of the Auckland Domain to Grafton Railway Station, apart from the cycleways and well-serviced buses.”
- Fun and entertainment are a part of the Lantern Festival