AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The sun shone over Mission Bay Beach in Auckland, casting a golden glow on Sunday's vibrant festive celebration of the Happy Chinese New Year Beach Carnival. The event brought together locals and visitors to usher in the Year of the Dragon with joy, color and cultural flair.
Unveiling the carnival is a group of Chinese youth showcasing their resplendent ethnic costumes at the beach. The azure waves lapped against the shore, echoing the rhythmic steps of a female dancer in red, who represents the Goddess of Spring Gou Mang. The Goddess appeared from the blessed land, embodying the spirit of the season and invoking growth and prosperity.
The Wudang Kongfu artists from China's Hubei Province followed with their disciplined performance, demonstrating the power and precision of Chinese martial arts.
A large crowd watched in awe, holding their breath and craning their necks as the dancers and artists brought life to Chinese cultural stories in their performances.
Bathing in the splendid sunshine at the beach and celebrating the Chinese New Year has long become a unique tradition in southern hemisphere New Zealand.
As Consul General in Auckland Chen Shijie pointed out, while in China people say "auspicious snow brings a good harvest," in New Zealand, people have equal reason to believe that "beautiful sunshine on the beach brings a good new year."
"Chinese New Year in New Zealand is a great example of our common standing on globalization. China is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. And New Zealand is a champion of multiculturalism," Chen said. "Through these celebrations and exchanges, we will have better understanding of the diversity of Chinese culture as well as the inclusiveness of the Kiwi society."
"The friendship between our two countries and two peoples will grow day by day. Amity between the people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. I am very glad to see that people-to-people exchanges between China and New Zealand is undergoing a strong recovery," said the consul general.
Deputy Mayor of Auckland Desley Simpson echoed Chen's comments on people-to-people exchanges and appreciated the significant contribution made by the Chinese community to the growth of Auckland.
"We share a special connection to China. The Chinese community has woven its rich culture and traditions into the vibrant fabric of our city over the past 150 years. From delicious cuisine to colorful festivals, these cultural exchanges have made Auckland a more diverse and exciting place to live," said Simpson.
Auckland Branch President from the New Zealand China Friendship Society Mike Dawson was confident that celebration events like this would bring people from all walks of life together.
"It is great that this beach carnival has enabled us to all come out and enjoy the wonderful summer weather. Events like these make non-Chinese people fall in love with the Chinese culture and people," said Dawson.
Mother and daughter Lissa and Luciana Mihaka enthusiastically took photos with the dragon mascot and Luciana's three young children. They came to the event from South Auckland.
"We always love Chinese New Year celebrations and Chinese cultural elements. There are always great food and performances," said Lissa Mihaka.
The Happy Chinese New Year Beach Carnival was co-hosted by the China Cultural Center in Auckland and the Asian Community Engagement Trust. The eight-hour celebration was crowded by hundreds of people who enjoyed a full range of artistic performances, dragon and lion dances, traditional games, cultural experiences and lucky draws, delicious Chinese food, and a movie night. ■