Things to do  |  1 Oct 2019

Plans for a new festival celebrating Christchurch’s links to China and East Asia have been announced by ChristchurchNZ.

The inaugural South Island Moon Festival will be held in early October 2020 and will build off the success of the hugely popular South Island Lantern Festival, which has previously been held to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Traditionally, moon festivals are celebrated in China and much of East Asia. They bring families and communities together to celebrate the harvest and the full moon.

Lanterns are lit and the streets are filled with dance, music and the arts, and people feast on traditional moon cakes.

“The popularity of the annual South Island Lantern Festival demonstrated the huge potential to create an even bigger cultural event in Christchurch, which will also appeal to an international audience,’’ says ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Joanna Norris.

“The South Island Moon Festival 2020 will be our opportunity to really showcase the city to locals and visitors alike. We want to create a festival that is unique to Christchurch and is a drawcard event for the city.’’

Christchurch NZ worked with the local Chinese community on the concept for the festival. The aim is to provide an immersive experience for locals and to boost international visitor numbers to Christchurch during the spring shoulder season.

Wendy Zhang, President of the Christchurch Zhonghua Chinese Society, says the South Island Moon Festival is an exciting step forward in Christchurch’s embrace of the Chinese community.

“It will help promote economic development and cooperation between China and New Zealand, and strengthen the friendship between our two countries,’’ Ms Zhang says.

The South Island Moon Festival will be an anchor event for ‘Bloom’ – the new city brand which showcases Christchurch’s spring events and attractions.

ChristchurchNZ says plans are still in place to celebrate the 2020 Chinese New Year with lanterns placed at popular spots around the city.