Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has taken a dig at Donald Trump, saying he's glad New Zealand is not building walls.

Speaking at the opening of last night's Lantern Festival, which marks Chinese New Year, Goff said: "The great thing about this event that we are celebrating is that it is the biggest cultural festival in New Zealand."

He continued: "Last year, we attracted 204,000 people to celebrate the diversity of Auckland.

"As I look out here into the crowd here tonight, it's the Chinese community but it's people from right across our community.


"Isn't it fantastic that here in New Zealand, we celebrate diversity and the richness that it brings while there are other countries around the world that are blocking people based on their ethnicity and their faith and building walls.

"Far better to do what we do in New Zealand and celebrate us as one community made up of many peoples, each proud of what they are and where they've come from."

Goff's comments come in reaction to US President Donald Trump has signing an executive action calling for construction of a wall along the Mexican border.

A 2006 law gives Trump the authority to proceed with construction, but he will need billions of dollars from Congress. He says Mexico will ultimately pay for the wall, but Mexico insists it won't.

The Lantern Festival traditionally marks the end of Chinese New Year festivities and is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month.

The 18th annual Auckland Lantern Festival, celebrating the Year of the Rooster, will be hosted for the second time until Sunday at the Auckland Domain, since moving from Albert Park.

The domain will be lit up with approximately 800 lanterns in the form of roosters, dragons, dinosaurs, polar bears, as well as more traditional Chinese designs.

The Auckland Lantern Festival will also feature lion and dragon dances, acrobatic and martial arts demonstrations, food and craft stalls, and a fireworks finale.