Her Excellency the Rt Hon Dame Governor general Patsy Reddy,
Hon. Mayor Phil Goff,
Hon Deputy Minister Michael Wood,
My dear Chinese compatriots, Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s my great pleasure and honor to participate in the Auckland Lantern Festival together with so many friends from all walks of life in NZ and South Pacific region. On this auspicious occasion, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Consulate General of China in Auckland, warmest greetings and best wishes to all the friends present here today, for a very happy and prosperous New Year as well as a happy and wonderful Lantern Festival, which is regarded as the last day of the spring festival celebrations!
The Auckland Lantern Festival, which has been held for 19 years, has become an important part of the global Happy Chinese New Year celebrations, and an important platform for displaying the beauty of multicultures, distinguishing itself to be one of the most significant events from numerous Chinese New Year celebrations in NZ. As an annual big attraction in the South Pacific, this lantern festival has also been the largest multicultural event in NZ or South Pacific and the largest lantern festival in the world outside mainland China. It also has showed the openness, fast growing development of diversified cultures of Auckland.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the government of NZ and Auckland Council for your longtime support to the Festival, especially to ATEED, Asia NZ Foundation and other organizers, partners, sponsors and volunteers for your strenuous efforts in making the annual Festival possible and so successful. This time the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and relevant provinces send four arts troupes to present their unique performances during the Festival later on. Let’s give them a very warm welcome.
Cultural exchanges play very important role in strengthening people to people friendship and cooperation. Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state to state relationship. China is now building Belt and Road with other countries and peoples in the world including NZ. BRI is not only about the connectivity of trade, infrastructure and financing, most importantly is about the people-to-people exchanges to accomplish more win-win cooperations.
For many years, China NZ bilateral relationship on the basis of equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win result has benefited both countries and peoples, like today’s lantern festival which has brought tremendous joy to the people of NZ. People have been carried away by the fascinating chinese culture and civilization which has been uninterrupted for more than 5000 years throughout the wonderful cultural exchange programs. I sincerely hope our two countries will make joint efforts to promote our cultural exchanges and co-operations in other areas to bring more tangible results and more happiness to our two peoples.
Lantern Festival is celebrated at the first full moon of the New Year in China, when people eat sticky rice dumplings to worship the moon, wishing for fulfillment and smoothness in the coming year. By saying so, I wish the Auckland Lantern Festival a great success, and every one of you a prosperous New Year.