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What's on in February: Auckland Lantern Festival

The annual Auckland Lantern Festival is back this month, lighting up the city to celebrate traditional and contemporary Chinese culture for the 18th year running. 

Image Williams Photography

The annual Auckland Lantern Festival is back this month, lighting up the city to celebrate traditional and contemporary Chinese culture for the 18th year running. The festival will run from the 9th until the 12th of February at the Auckland Domain, and is set to be another record year.

A host of international artists will join local performers in a range of different entertainment areas, part of the evolution of the festival this year. Chinese rock groups, traditional Mongolian folk music and extreme tea pouring will all be amongst the performances, as well as the Shanghai Shangwu Group, a martial arts performance group that performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games.

ATEED Head of Major Events, Charmaine Ngarimu says, “this year we have introduced a number of different performances areas, including an area beside the specially floodlit duck pond.

“They will complement the lantern-viewing experience and also mean that whatever part of the festival you visit, you will be able to sample the entertainment as well as the beautiful hand-made lanterns”.

For the first time, festival-goers will be able to have a go at martial arts, with public workshops. The Auckland War Memorial Museum will also be hosting Lantern Festival activities over the weekend, including music, storytelling, and arts and crafts. Visitors can also discover the stories and photographs from the special exhibition, Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A Photographic Journey.

As festival numbers from last year reached 200,000, visitors are strongly encouraged to plan their travel to the festival ahead of time, given extensive parking restrictions and road closures in place around the Auckland Domain for the festival. Extra trains will be running, and secure bike parking will be available.