Thousands of people including Prime Minister Christopher Luxon have celebrated the arrival of the Chinese New Year in east Auckland.
The Botany MP and National Party leader joined dignitaries including National Party List MP Nancy Lu, Howick Local Board chairperson Damian Light, Counties Manukau East Police senior sergeant Anson Lin, and artist Richard Monk at a colourful event hosted at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush on February 9.
The temple says almost 20,000 people turned out to take part in festivities over three days marking the start of the Year of the Dragon.
Luxon praised Fo Guang Shan’s Founding Master, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and offered flowers in appreciation of his establishing the temple in New Zealand and its significant contributions to the well-being of the local community through educational, artistic and cultural services.
Luxon also expressed his gratitude to Fo Guang Shan NZ for organising the vibrant Lunar New Year event and committed to leading New Zealand toward a prosperous future.
Venerable Abbess Manshin presented Spring Festival couplets to Luxon, imparting to him wishes for peace and joy amidst his responsibilities.
The event also featured New Year greetings from Lu and Light.
They expressed joy at participating in the celebrations and wished people harmony and success in the Year of the Dragon.
Local police officers participated in the Fo Guang Lion Dance Performance, which added a unique flair to the celebrations and showcased the co-operation between police and the community.
Lin thanked the public for their support and stressed the importance of co-operation in ensuring public safety.
Fo Guang Shan Auckland prepared more than 10,000 auspicious New Year red packets which were distributed by Abbess Manshin, Luxon and Light, while conveying their best wishes to attendees.
The temple says the enthusiastic participation of the public in the countdown and New Year performances underscored the warmth and blessings extended by Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple to the people of New Zealand.
“Prime Minister Luxon’s attendance highlighted the Government’s support for the Chinese community and the broader message of New Zealand’s commitment to multiculturalism and inclusivity.”