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Cancelled: Auckland Lantern Festival 2023

After three years of cancellations, New Zealand's biggest cultural event is back — in a brand new location.
By Sarah Templeton
January 19, 2023
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By Sarah Templeton
January 19, 2023
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Editor's update: This event has been cancelled due to the flash flooding and weather warnings across Auckand this week. Find out more information here

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After three years of COVID cancellations, one of the city's largest cultural festivals is making a long-awaited return — in a brand-new venue. The Auckland Lantern Festival will take the Manukau Sports Bowl for four days next month, from Thursday, February 2 – Sunday, February 5.

The festival hasn't been held since it was last held at the Auckland Domain in 2019, with its 2020, 2021 and 2022 iterations all cancelled due to the pandemic.

This year it returns to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, with over 100,000 Aucklanders expected to head through the doors over the four days.

Whether you're keen on making it a family day out or you're just set on getting a bloody good Instagram snap, there will be highlights for everyone. More than 800 handmade lanterns will be on show through the trees and fields of the sports bowl, which visitors can follow to find stories of history and culture.

We'd recommend heading in around dinner time: more than 40 street stalls selling delicious Chinese and Asian food will be operating, as well as a series of vendors showcasing both traditional and contemporary crafts and gifts.

Those truly keen on the immersive experience can learn traditional Chinese calligraphy, lantern making, fan painting and embroidery, and have a crack at solving a series of riddles. A local entertainment lineup on the main stage includes Chinese folk music, opera, K-pop, dance and martial arts — and a dazzling fireworks display will close things out on Sunday evening.

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