Bevan Chuang, 30, is desperate to have a "dragon baby" - and she's determined not to let the fact that she doesn't yet have a partner hinder her plans.

The Hong Kong-born Auckland Council ethnic panel board member, who has the blessings of her mother, is seeking a donor to give her a child through artificial insemination.

Many Chinese consider the Year of the Dragon to be the most auspicious year to have a child. Those born under the sign of the dragon - the fifth, and the mightiest of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs - are said to be outstanding, driven, independent and destined for success.

Miss Chuang, who is born under the rooster sign, believes a dragon child will also be "perfect match" as the two zodiac signs are said to be most compatible.


"Waiting for a full cycle, or another 12 years, is not an option because I'd be 42 by then," she said.

Others, like Malaysian-born Dawn Chong, who is three months pregnant, said she was happy to be in New Zealand to be delivering her child.

"My pregnant friends in Malaysia say it's just crazy over there," said Ms Chong, originally from Petaling Jaya.

"They are finding it hard to get pre-natal checks because even the doctors and nurses are themselves preparing to go on maternity leave to have their own dragon babies."

Chinese media reported that dragon babies are expected to set a new birth record in China, where many hospitals have been booked until August and fees for post-natal caretakers have taken a drastic rise.

Feng shui practitioner Janet Chan said no other zodiac sign could be compared to the status of the dragon, which symbolised power, strength and good luck.

She said the Emperor of China also used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power.

"Emperors are believed to be no ordinary humans who rule the kingdom with the blessings of the dragon," Mrs Chan said. "Many parents believe that babies born in the Dragon Year will also enjoy this same stamp of royalty and blessings."


She said some would also name their children dragon, or Long in Mandarin, believing it would add "power and balance" to their lives.

People who have dragon in their names include kung fu star Bruce Lee (Li Xiao Long) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mrs Chan said there would definitely be a spike in the number of Chinese mothers in New Zealand giving birth, but did not believe the numbers were large enough to affect hospitals or the health system.

As determined by the lunar calendar, the first day of the Year of the Dragon falls on January 23 and will run until February 9, 2013.

Auckland Chinese Community Centre, which has been hosting the annual Chinese New Year festival for over 20 years and saw 20,000 attend its event at the ASB Showgrounds last year, said it expected an even larger crowd next Saturday.

A highlight at the event kicking off the New Year celebrations is an acrobatic, shadow puppet and musical troupe from Gansu, China.


Dragon and lion dances, and the use of gongs, drums and cymbals, will also be a feature as it is believed the loud noise will dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

Many Chinese believe housework could wash away good luck, and some would even avoid washing their hair on Chinese New Year.

The celebrations
(Year of the Dragon starts Monday, January 23)
Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day: ASB Showgrounds, Saturday, January 21, 9.30am to 4pm.

LunarFest 2012: TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, Saturday, January 21, 3pm to 11pm.

Chinese and Korean New Year Festival: Northcote Central, January 27 and 28.

Auckland Lantern Festival: Albert Park, February 3 to 5, from 5pm nightly.


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

Dragon people
Bruce Lee, Russell Crowe, Joan of Arc, John Lennon, Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, Sandra Bullock and Shirley Temple.