Auckland Lantern Festival


The Auckland Lantern Festival celebrates the culmination of the traditional fortnight of Chinese New Year festivities.

The event is delivered by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the region’s economic and cultural agency, on behalf of Auckland Council, with founding partner Asia New Zealand Foundation.

As Auckland’s largest annual festival and New Zealand’s largest Chinese cultural festival, it showcases traditional and contemporary Chinese culture and Auckland’s Chinese stories and communities.

The festival date changes every year according to the Chinese lunar calendar and every year a new Chinese zodiac animal is celebrated. The first Lantern Festival was delivered in 2000 by the Asia New Zealand Foundation in partnership with the then Auckland City Council and was a one-day event at Albert Park. The event has grown to a four-day family-friendly event, having moved venues over the years from Albert Park to the Auckland Domain for the 2016 – 2020 period.

In 2020, the festival was cancelled due to mounting concerns about Covid-19. The 2021 festival was to be held on Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves at Ports of Auckland but was postponed and then cancelled due to changing Covid-19 Alert Levels at the time. The 2022 festival, scheduled for 10 – 13 February at the Auckland Showgrounds, was also cancelled due to Covid. Up to 100,000 people were expected at the event, which traditionally attracts large crowds and had a peak attendance of 200,000 in 2016. 

A key audience is the Auckland Chinese population of several generations, plus newer immigrants, and international students. It is also a celebration of diversity and an opportunity to showcase Chinese culture to a wide audience, with the festival now a must-do event for a broad non-Chinese audience.

The long-term sustainability of the festival has been a key focus in recent years. Over the past seasons, the Lantern Festival has banned plastic bags, strongly encouraged sponsors to offer an alternative to branded plastic ‘giveaways’, no longer prints festival programmes and has a target of 70% diversion from landfill.

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