Chinese New Year in New Zealand

It’s the Year of the Dog, this Chinese New Year. People born in the Year of the Dog are likely to have those positive character traits that we associate with dogs. These are things like being loyal, kind, friendly, honest and having a sense of responsibility.

The lunar New Year is also celebrated in other Asian countries which have strong connections with China. It is a time for family reunion, for good food and for many other traditions like red envelopes.

New Zealand, which has many Chinese migrants, celebrates the Chinese New Year in many ways. Wellington started this weekend with an Asian market, a family fun fair, cultural entertainment and fireworks. Other cities have planned celebrations. A lantern festival is traditionally held on the fifteenth day of the New Year. Auckland plans a Lantern Festival at the beginning of March in the Domain. The Christchurch Lantern Festival is the following weekend.

Meanwhile, thousands of Asian tourists are visiting New Zealand during this Lunar New Year holiday. They visit all the popular places like Queenstown, Wanaka, Tekapo, Mt Cook, Franz Josef in the South Island and Rotorua, Taupo, Waitomo Caves in the North Island. Auckland and Christchurch are the usual entry cities where most flights arrive from China.

Last year, nearly 1 million Asian tourists visited New Zealand, half of those from China. About one third of those travel with a bus tour but the rest are independent travellers. Perhaps this is because more Chinese people speak English or perhaps New Zealand is employing more Chinese speakers in tourist areas.