Chinese New Year celebration at New Zealand beach attracts tourists, boosts local economy

Tourists pose for photos with a rabbit mascot under the Sky Tower to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Auckland, New Zealand, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo by Zhao Gang/Xinhua)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese New Year carnival was held on Sunday at New Zealand's famous Takapuna Beach in North Shore Auckland, which attracted thousands of tourists and local families to appreciate cultural performances, lion dances, food and music.

The event was welcomed by local businesses, residents and visitors.

Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong, Chinese Consul-General in Auckland Chen Shijie, Chairperson of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board Toni van Tonder, CEO of Takapuna Beach Business Association Terence Harpur are among the revelers to welcome the New Year of the Rabbit.

Chen said Sunday's celebration had showcased themes of the Happy Chinese New Year events as happiness, reunification and exchange.

"It is a delight to see people enjoying the wonderful artistic performances, experiencing the rich Chinese culture activities and sharing happiness with families and friends at this beautiful beach, and having a unique Chinese New Year with such Auckland features," he said.

Chinese performers pose for photo at Takapuna Beach to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Auckland, New Zealand, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo by Sun Xueliang/Xinhua)

With the ease of the pandemic and China's optimized COVID-19 response, people exchanges between China and New Zealand have gradually resumed and bilateral cultural exchanges have seen the great potential, said the Chinese consul-general.

"In the past, China and New Zealand have worked out great chapters on cultural exchanges. Looking forward to the future, Chinese culture will become more integrated into New Zealand multi-culture, which will further serve as a bridge for bilateral cooperation," he said.

"We are delighted to have the Happy Chinese New Year celebration in Takapuna Beach," said van Tonder.

The Chinese community has contributed significantly to local cultural prosperity and economic development. Sunday's carnival event attracted many people to the local area, demonstrating the multi-culture in this region. The event also helped the local economy in the post-COVID recovery, said van Tonder.

Mike Dawson, president of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, said in his speech that it was gratifying to see that in keeping with the principle of seeking common ground while setting aside differences and achieving mutual benefits and win-win results, bilateral relations between New Zealand and China made considerable progress.

"New Zealand's dealings with China have become a successful model of win-win cooperation between countries with different social systems, histories, cultures and stages of development," said Dawson.

Tourists watch a lion dance performance under the Sky Tower to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Auckland, New Zealand, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo by Zhao Gang/Xinhua)

The carnival at the beach continued with performances, songs and dances. Local restaurants, bars and shops have been busy serving crowded customers all day long. Overseas tourist Aaron Zou, who comes from Australia, was eating street food while watching the performances.

"It is a relaxing weekend to appreciate my Chinese heritage here in Auckland. I enjoyed all the beautiful cultural performances and experiences here. It is good for the local economy too," said Zou.

Wang Jianwen, director of the China Cultural Center in Auckland, told Xinhua that the carnival at the famous Takapuna Beach highlighted the characteristics of Chinese traditional culture and its integration into the local New Zealand lifestyle and society.

During the Spring Festival this year, the China Cultural Center in Auckland will co-host or support a series of celebrations in Auckland with the theme of "Happy Chinese New Year", including the Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day on Chinese New year's Eve, Takapuna Beach carnival celebration, New Zealand Chinese New Year gala, Auckland Lantern Festival.