AUCKLAND, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The annual three-day Chinese Lantern Festival kicked off in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland on Friday. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key launched the opening ceremony.
The 11th Auckland Lantern Festival, organized by Asia New Zealand Foundation in partnership with Auckland City Council, took place in downtown Albert Park.
Highlights of this year's festival included one of Shanghai's top music ensembles Moon, Beijing-based Mongolian folk rock group Hanggai, rolling lantern folk dancers from Southern China as well as lantern making masters and other artists, said Charles Mabbett, media advisor of Asian New Zealand Foundation, on Friday.
This year's featured lantern is the new tiger lantern marking the Year of the Tiger in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
Most of the lanterns were made by the lantern-makers in Zigong in the western Chinese province of Sichuan.
The Chinese Lantern Festival will be followed a week later on March 6-7 in New Zealand South Island's largest city of Christchurch.
The Lantern Festival is traditionally held on the 15th day of Chinese Lunar New Year.
Last year, over 150,000 people attended the three-day Chinese Lantern Festival, which is officially one of Auckland's signature cultural events.