Jessica Li Wishart is only two days old and has no idea how much hype she has caused simply by being born on Monday.

She is thought to be the first Chinese baby born in the Chinese New Year, here in New Zealand.

Jessica Li, whose mum Ping is Chinese and dad Ian a Kiwi, was born at Auckland City Hospital at 4.57am on Monday - just as those in China were counting down to their midnight, welcoming in the auspicious Year of the Dragon.

The dragon is the mightiest of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and those born in a dragon year are said to be driven, independent and lucky people destined for success.


For those reasons, it is very popular for many Chinese people to plan to have children during this particular year.

Jessica Li's mum Ping, who hails from Guangzhou in southern China, is thrilled to have had a dragon baby.

"In China, a dragon baby is very lucky. It's very good to have a baby born this year," she said.

"When I was in labour, I was looking at the clock, because people in China would have been celebrating."

Mrs Wishart and her husband Ian are from Tauranga and had travelled to Auckland specifically for Chinese New Year celebrations.

The couple had not been expecting Mrs Wishart to go into labour any time soon as their little girl was due to arrive on another special day - Valentines Day.

However they were in for a shock when Mrs Wishart went into labour, late on Sunday night.

Her mother was to fly to New Zealand from China in early February, in time for her first granddaughter's birth.

Mrs Wishart said: "My mother said, 'oh, why did you have her early'?

"I said, 'she couldn't wait'."

Proud dad Ian, who is an architectural designer, said they had not planned to have a child to coincide with the Year of the Dragon.

"We just wanted to start a family and she's the perfect start."

He said he had heard that those born in such a year grew up to be lucky, determined and independent people - traits that he very much wanted for his daughter.

"I want her to grow up and maybe do something in architectural design, like her dad."

Famous dragons
* Keanu Reeves
* Sandra Bullock
* Bruce Lee
* Al Pacino
* Courtney Cox
* John Lennon
* Russell Crowe

Dragon characteristics: Innovative, enterprising, self-assured, brave, passionate but conceited and quick-tempered