After being cancelled due to COVID-19 for the past two years, the Auckland Lantern Festival is back next month.
The popular Chinese festival had run for 21 years until COVID-19 forced the two cancellations in 2020 and last year.
It was cancelled in 2020 after the Chinese community in Auckland thought it was not appropriate given the COVID-19 outbreak in China.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said at the time while it's sad the popular festival won't go ahead, it was the right decision.
"The lantern festival is a popular and much-anticipated fixture on Auckland's events calendar."
"It's sad that the festival won't be going ahead this year, but it's important to respect the wishes of Auckland's Chinese community, many of whom don't feel it is appropriate to celebrate the festival given the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China and its toll on life there.
"I look forward to the lantern festival returning to Auckland next year and its celebration of Chinese culture and Auckland's multiculturism," Goff said.
The following year though it was again called off due to COVID-19 restrictions.
This year though it is back with a bang and more than 100,000 Aucklanders are expected at the four-day event.
This year it is being held at Auckland Showgrounds over February 10-13.
Auckland Unlimited Director of Arts, Entertainment and Events, Richard Clarke, said Auckland Lantern Festival 2022 is a major event of the region’s summer calendar, making a highly
anticipated return after being cancelled two years running.
"The Festival team is buzzing and can’t wait to join the Auckland Chinese community in celebrating the Chinese New Year in spectacular fashion at the Auckland Showgrounds.
"So much hard work and mahi has gone into the planning and programming of the event – from new lanterns being commissioned to more craft stalls and new features including talks and films, group tours, an audio-described tour of the Lantern Pavilion, and extended weekend hours."
Tickets can be booked from 9 am Monday, 24 January at www.aucklandnz.com/lantern.
Demand is expected to be heavy – people should book early and choose their entry time to avoid disappointment.
A valid My Vaccine Pass is also required for everyone attending the event and will be checked at the gate.