Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins will join members of the Chinese community to mark the most important festival on the Chinese calendar this evening.
Ms Collins will welcome Chinese community and business leaders, artists, academics, diplomats and students from around the country to Parliament to celebrate Chinese New Year.
“Tonight’s event will showcase the rich culture and heritage of our Chinese New Zealanders as they share their story with the wider community through arts and entertainment," Ms Collins said.
Ms Collins will join Prime Minister John Key in watching the traditional lion dance and the Prime Minister will place a red envelope in the lion’s mouth as a symbol of good luck, prosperity and to dispel evil spirits.
She said engaging with our ethnic communities also supports New Zealand’s relationship with its trading partners and fosters trade links and economic growth.
“Our Chinese people have been industry pioneers and agricultural leaders in New Zealand and continue to add strength to our economy through their entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ways of thinking.”
Ms Collins said Chinese New Year is a good time to reflect on the challenges we have faced and set goals for the year ahead.
“During the past 12 months the Canterbury earthquakes, difficult economic conditions and the grounding of the Rena in Tauranga have tested us not only on a personal level, but as a country.
“The traits associated with this Year of the Dragon include being innovative, enterprising, flexible, self-assured, brave, and passionate. These are exactly the qualities we can embrace to build and brighter and more prosperous 2012."