The 11th Christchurch Lantern Festival draws huge crowds

(caption for the above picture: "By 1869, about 2000 Chinese men, many from Guangdong Province, were working the goldfields of Otago and the West Coast. They lived in their own settlements, some of which have been restored in places like Arrowtown. A Poll Tax was introduced in 1881 to discourage Chinese immigration. This was later rescinded along with a formal apology and the establishment of the Poll Tax Heritage Trust.")

Bad weather cancelled day one, but day two more than made up for it.

Over 60 food stalls and exhibits, including eight brand new lanterns, non-stop entertainment from 28 performers including the Nair Ensemble from Inner Mongolia in China’s far North West, were the highlights of Christchurch's 11th Lantern Festival held on February 19. Other attractions included the Shanghai Shangwu martial arts bubble and magic show, the young Chinese knotting master Zhou Lingling demonstrating her knot tying skills, and toffee artist Huang Hongmei showcasing the traditional Chinese craft of painting with caramelised sugar.

Asia New Zealand Foundation Director of Culture Jennifer King noted, “Each year the foundation works with partner organisations in China to choose performers that help capture the diversity of Chine culture. The aim of the festival is to acknowledge the contributions that people of Chinese heritage have made to New Zealand, and to give non-Chinese New Zealanders the chance to have real-life, authentic experiences of Chinese culture. It’s the second year of our partnership with Christchurch City Council and we’re really delighted with the way they have been dealing with the event and their commitment to authenticity.”

Notably, half of proceeds from all lantern sales at the event will go towards the Mayors Welfare Fund, which will aid the Port Hills fire relief.