A rare opportunity to dance inside a dragon is being offered to locals as the city looks forward to celebrating the Chinese New Year at the night market next month.

The Chinese New Year falls on February 8 and it is the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese Zodiac.

Locals are encouraged to take part in the performance of the Golden Dragon Dance, the highlight of the celebrations on February 11.

Chinese New Year festivities co-host Waitsu Wu said the dragon would have 20 sections, be about 30m long and would need 30 people who could hold a 2kg post and run around for 10 minutes.


The dragon dance will not be done in the traditional way, but will involve holding up part of the dragon and following the lead dragon head with some formation changes, she said.

Learning to do the dragon dance was a great way to develop leadership and teamwork skills, Ms Wu said.

"It is the first time in Rotorua people can be close to the dragon."

It will be performing "among the people and they can touch it and get a close look", Ms Wu said.

She will also need people to be part of a flag team and a Chinese style drum piece. The dragon was borrowed from the Taipei Economic and Cultural office in Auckland, she said.

The event will also feature red lanterns hung throughout the street and a range of Chinese style celebration schemes and food.

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A Chinese fashion parade will also be a highlight, featuring different kinds of emperor costumes and a combination of ancient pieces with modern wearable ones.

Rotorua Night Market manager Brigitte Nelson said it would be an opportunity for many aspects of Chinese culture to shine.

"We are all so excited about what we've got planned and I've got no doubt there will be a high level of community engagement."

Multicultural Rotorua president Alexis LewGor said this year they decided to partner with the Rotorua Lakes Council for the event and would be providing volunteers for different aspects of the night.

Ms LewGor hopes the Night Market Chinese New Year celebrations "will engage Rotorua residents to go down and celebrate it".

If you want to be part of the Golden Dragon Dance team you can contact Waitsu Wu on (021) 025 43473 or waitsuwu@gmail.com or go to the first practice tonight on Scott St from 5pm-6pm.