Rotorua has been welcomed into the Chinese year of the fire monkey at a Chinese New Year celebration at the Rotorua Night market tonight.

Hundreds of people lined Tutanekai St for a view of the official parade that kicked off tonight's festivities.

Night Market manager Brigitte Nelson said it was great to see a vast amount of local people come to the market to help celebrate the new year along with their Chinese friends and fellow residents.

"This is a sign of the future of celebrations for our diverse cultures here in Rotorua."

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Michael Louwerse and Samiye Dobazinski enjoy the Chinese new year festivities at the night market tonight. Photo/Ben Fraser
Michael Louwerse and Samiye Dobazinski enjoy the Chinese new year festivities at the night market tonight. Photo/Ben Fraser

She said it was one of the biggest events she had put on in the history of the market.

"It really shows the value of the new extension, so that we can actually host larger events like these. But we couldn't have done this without the help of the large number of sponsors from Rotorua businesses and the Chinese community."

She said 24 people from a Chinese/Taipei cultural group came from Auckland to be part of the fashion show bringing with them the Chinese dragon used to begin proceedings.

Apart from the usual market fare and entertainment, the year of the fire monkey was celebrated with cultural performances from one of the world's oldest cultures which included a dragon dance, a performance by indigenous Taiwanese inhabitants, and Qing, Ming, Yuan, Song, Han and Zhou dynasty traditions.

Joint president of the Rotorua Chinese Community of Commerce Frank Zhou said he thanked the Rotorua Lakes Council for letting the Chinese community celebrate the new year.

"We are here to provide business and education connections, as well as guidance for people who want to connect with China and Chinese business professionals.

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"The year of the fire monkey will be a prosperous year and we wish everyone in Rotorua a happy year. With more Chinese migrants coming to Rotorua I'm sure this will get bigger and bigger in the next few years," Mr Zhou said.