By Li Huizi
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Officer Joanna Norris tells us about Chinese New Year Celebrations in Christchurch
As the Chinese Lunar New Year approaches, we’ve seen some lanterns and Chinese element decorations in and around the City Centre. What’s the plan of the ChristchurchNZ for the city-wide celebration of the Spring Festival as well as the Lantern Festival?
There is much to be excited about for those wishing to celebrate Chinese New Year in Christchurch. ChristchurchNZ have worked with a range of business and civic partners to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with a lantern trail in public spaces across the city.
These celebrations of our links to China and our local Chinese communities can be found along The Terrace, in Ballantynes and the Riverside Market, outside Christchurch Casino and at Christchurch International Airport. There are also a range of lanterns at civic sites in the Selwyn District. We also created a poster for local businesses to display, to show support for this important date on the Chinese calendar.
We are promoting New Year celebrations across the city on our website and our social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WeChat, Weibo and Pockets of Awesome. We also sent releases to local and national media organisations.
We love the warm support we have had from the Chinese community and key officials.
There are quite a few Chinese community groups that are actively doing their own events or participating in the Lunar New Year celebrations in Christchurch, such as evening galas, carnivals among others to celebrate the key festival for Chinese. How has ChristchurchNZ supported the Chinese community in organising these events and celebrating the occasion?
There are a huge number of wonderful celebrations of Chinese culture occurring across the city this Chinese New Year. ChristchurchNZ is pleased to promote these events in celebration of Chinese New Year – there are nine Chinese New Year events happening throughout January and February which ChristchurchNZ is supporting through marketing and promotion. Some senior ChristchurchNZ staff are attending the opening of the Happy Chinese New Year Festival on Friday 24 January at Tūranga, which will also be attended by Mr Wang Zhijian, Consul-General of China.
We have also supported the installation of lanterns, including many that we own, across the city.
And we are thrilled to be able to take this a step further and extend the celebration of Chinese culture into Spring and across Golden Week also.
The South Island Moon Festival will be a key part of the Major Events portfolio and will receive the appropriate resources and support to ensure its success.
The South Island (Christchurch) Lantern Festival has been held for 15 years. This year, we will enjoy a Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival. As both the Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival are important occasions for the Chinese people, how will Christchurch NZ allocate resources and plan for the two festivals? Could you also justify the change to hold the Lantern Festival from the Chinese New Year to the Moon Festival?
Our aim is to create a well-rounded calendar of events that provides Christchurch with unique opportunities to showcase all the city has to offer, and our links to our diverse community.
We are pleased the Chinese New Year is now a well-embedded part of the Christchurch calendar with a wide range of events to mark the occasion. We now want to help the city learn to celebrate Chinese culture in other parts of the year also.
The theme of the moon is celebrated across much of East Asia and provides an opportunity to celebrate many different cultures. Creating an event unique to Christchurch also increases the city’s attractiveness to domestic and international visitors. ChristchurchNZ is delighted that the Chinese community will be able to now celebrate both Chinese New Year and Golden Week in the city.
Moving the celebrations to spring increases its appeal to international visitors, particularly from China, as this is when many choose to take their international holidays. In addition, Christchurch has a lot to offer locals and visitors during spring. The city is in full bloom and hosting a major event at this time is an opportunity to showcase Christchurch at its very best.
Details about the Moon Festival: Is it a direct swap for the Lantern Festival? Or what elements will ChristchurchNZ add to the Moon Festival, to make it even better than the Lantern Festival?
The South Island Moon Festival will incorporate food, art, lanterns, business, culture, dance, family and community. Once a delivery partner is confirmed, ChristchurchNZ will look to issue more details around what the event will include.
How will ChristchurchNZ engage with the local Chinese community and stakeholders in China to increase their support for the Moon Festival?
We love working closely with the Chinese community on a wide range of activity including events, visitation, education, business and trade. The South Island Moon Festival is just another chance for us to work closely with the community. It is imperative to ChristchurchNZ that this event is for the community and created with the community’s input – we already have some incredible ideas from our sister cities and community partners, and we look forward to South Island Moon Festival being a showcase of both traditional and modern Chinese culture.
What has ChristchurchNZ been doing to support multicultural and multi-ethnic communities in the South Island? What messages would you like to say to the Chinese community?
We are a city that embraces all ethnicities, religions and backgrounds. ChristchurchNZ supports and promotes a range of events that reflect our cultural diversity. The South Island Moon Festival in October 2020 will be a great example of our commitment to celebrating all those who choose to call Christchurch home. Our role as an economic development, events and tourism agency means we focus on ensuring Christchurch is a wonderful, vibrant place to live, work, visit and play.