Dunedin set to celebrate Chinese New Year

Expect a colourful and noisy welcome for the Year of the Rooster when Dunedin celebrates Chinese New Year on Saturday evening.

Dunedin City Council Manager Community Development and Events Joy Gunn says the Dunedin Chinese Garden will provide the focal point for celebrations from 6.45pm right through until fireworks at 10pm.

“We had a number of queries as to whether fireworks would be part of this event. They are a crucial aspect of the celebration of the Chinese New Year for our Chinese community.  We are pleased that we have worked through all of the appropriate processes to ensure the fireworks display is a safe and enjoyable one. The site where the fireworks will be set off will be closed to the public, as an additional safety precaution.  However, the display will be as visible as always.

“Our special guest will be the Christchurch-based Consul-General Jin Zhijian. We are also very lucky to have the Zhong Hua Qing cultural group from Christchurch who will be performing at various stages during an evening of non-stop entertainment.

“There will be the traditional favourites such as story telling, the Lion Dance and other traditional Chinese dance, as well as Korean drumming and Indian classical dance.”

One of the highlights, the lively traditional Dragon Parade, will leave the Octagon at 7.25pm and head to the Chinese Garden via the Exchange. It will be followed by a welcome from Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull and a response from the Consul-General.

That will be followed by the traditional dotting of the lions' eyes to awaken them so they can begin their spectacular dance to launch the rest of the evening's entertainment.

MCs for the event will be Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust Chair Malcolm Wong and Patrina Roche, with Li Wang to provide the translations.

Entry to the Chinese Garden will be by gold coin donation and food won't be a problem with 14 food stalls on site.

In Chinese culture the rooster, which wakes everyone up, represents punctuality and fidelity. Other years of the rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993 and 2005, and people born in those years are considered shrewd, honest, communicative, motivated and punctual.

Image - Lion Statue at Dunedin Chinese Garden