Festival spreads its wings

Auckland's favourite Chinese festival is celebrated this weekend around the city.

Fiery dragons light up the night. Photo / Natalie Salde
Fiery dragons light up the night. Photo / Natalie Salde

As well as Albert Park's gorgeous lighting display of 800 lanterns, plus food stalls and performances (tonight and tomorrow, 5pm to 10.30pm), the love (and crowds) are spreading to Queens Wharf, Auckland Art Gallery and Museum, and SkyCity. Feast your eyes, and bellies, at some great family events.

Queens Wharf
Today and tomorrow, 2pm-9pm

The family-friendly urban picnic on the waterfront will include outdoor movies and kids' activities, showcasing contemporary Chinese culture.

Highlights include Jockey of Sand by the All Theatre Art Association, a multi-media performance of sand painting - who knew this was performance - and singing (both nights, 7.15pm).

Kids get a chance to make their own lanterns alongside the usual favourites of facepainting, temporary tattoos and puppet shows.

Outdoor movies from 5.30pm include a selection of short films called Show Me Shorts, a film festival around the theme of finding your place in the world, and the comedy series about three Chinese Kiwi flatmates.

Kids' movies from 5pm.

For programme, see aucklandnz.com.

Auckland Art Gallery

Making the most of its pozzie right next to Albert Park - and its lantern-like evening glow - the Art Gallery is open late tonight and tomorrow (until 10pm), with a bunch of great themed events. Take a break from the crowds and join a kite-making workshop (today 1-3pm) with Mr Guo Hongli, from China's kite capital, Weifang, as well as performances by Butterfly, a group from Hangzhou, who add a modern twist to traditional Chinese music.

Kite-making class. Photo / Natalie Slade
Kite-making class. Photo / Natalie Slade

There are speakers on travel and food, as well as dance and music performances.

Highlight is the Shanghai Jiangzhou Drum Troupe, where drummers turn an ancient musical tradition into a sparkling modern stage act like no other.

Also check out the performance, sound and video art at Elam School of Fine Arts, celebrating the diversity and cultural contributions of New Zealand's Chinese community.

Programmes and artist details at aucklandartgallery.com

Auckland Museum

At Auckland Museum, a lion dance (tomorrow 10.30am) kicks off a day of storytelling (in both Mandarin and English). There will also be calligraphy and lantern crafts sessions for families, a discovery session on Chinese and Maori culture's shared love of jade and pounamu, and music. All are welcome. The Weifang Kite Group has a special afternoon kite-flying display (from 3pm). Also those that have made a kite or have brought their own kite can colour the skies with their beautiful creations. (Subject to weather conditions).

SkyCity

Auckland's tallest spot caps off the 18 days of Chinese New Year of the Horse with a stunning fireworks display (tomorrow, starting at 10.30pm). In the meantime, it's worth checking out the street decorations of Chinese lanterns - look out for the roadworks on Federal St - and traditional mandarin trees around the site.

- NZ Herald

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