Auckland's Much-Loved Lantern Festival Has Once Again Been Cancelled Due to COVID-19
It's the third year in a row organisers have had to pull the plug on the city's largest cultural event.
January 25, 2022
For the third year running, the largest event on Auckland's cultural calendar has fallen victim to COVID-19.
Organisers of the Auckland Lantern Festival announced on Tuesday, January 25 that thanks to the country's abrupt plunge into 'red' status on Sunday, they've once again had to pull the plug on the four day festival, scheduled for February 10-13.
The level change came after cases of the highly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant were detected in the community.
With over 100,000 Aucklanders expected through the doors at the Lantern Festival's new ASB Showgrounds venue this year, it could have only gone ahead under the COVID-19 traffic light framework's orange or green settings.
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff acknowledged the disappointment for organisers and the Auckland-Chinese community.
"After the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 festivals and other major Chinese New Year events scheduled for early next month, this year's event was highly anticipated, and we are disappointed to have to cancel it again," he said.
"However, the safety of our communities has to come first, and given that the Omicron variant is now circulating in Auckland, cancelling the Lantern Festival at this time is the right and responsible decision."
A digital program will still be available on the festival's official website, with content created especially for celebrating the 2022 Chinese New Year and Year of the Tiger.
The Auckland Lantern Festival was scheduled to run at ASB Showgrounds from Thursday, February 10 until Sunday February 13. A digital program will still be going ahead on the official website.
Published on January 25, 2022 by Sarah Templeton