Spotlight on . . . Auckland Lantern Festival

Stephen Heard



Stuff NZ Newspapers


Today marks Chinese New Year in 2023, and the transition to the Year of the Rabbit. Under the traditional lunisolar calendar, Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture, with celebrations of colour and light, lasting for up to 16 days. In New Zealand’s largest city, the festivities will culminate with the Auckland Lantern Festival from February 2-5. The free event is Auckland’s largest annual festival and New Zealand’s largest Chinese cultural festival, showcasing traditional and contemporary culture, and the city’s diverse stories and communities. It draws crowds of 160,000-200,000 people to wander the magical light trail between hundreds of handmade lanterns. There will also be cultural music and dance performances, craft demonstrations, activities for the kids, and food stalls hawking mouthwatering delights. Festivities end with a spectacular fireworks display, launched to ring in the new year and to drive away evil. The event was last held in 2019 at Auckland Domain, before Covid-19 interrupted the last three scheduled festivals. The Year of the Rabbit will be celebrated across four days across the sprawling park-like grounds of Manukau Sports Bowl. The park was built for the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and is handy to Auckland’s Southern Motorway and public transport. Visit