Another successful community celebration in Upper Hutt! Check out this article below, from our creative volunteer who has just arrived from Ukraine and has hit the ground running, wanting to experience what Upper Hutt has to offer and hone her English skills:
Lunar New Year Festival: Great Celebration in Upper Hutt
Everybody loves New Year parties, don’t they?
There are never too many New Years! On the night of December 31 to January 1 we have the usual New Year, and recently, on January 21, we celebrate again with the Lunar New Year by the Eastern calendar. We enter into the Year of the Rabbit. This occasion is widely celebrated among Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, South Korean, and many other communities.
All – together!
The Upper Hutt Multicultural Council celebrated the occasion in a big way. The Lunar New Year Festival was held on February 11 at Whirinaki Whare Taonga, in the heart of Upper Hutt, Wellington. Definitely, this bright celebration will be long remembered by all who came and took part in the festival.
The huge hall on the first floor of Whirinaki Whare Taonga was full of people. Not only Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, South Korean celebrated the event - there were also people of other nationalities who also took part in this fun colourful party. People came with their families, friends, small children. Even casual passersby who happened to look into the hall, saw the rousing performances and decided to stay and watch. The entrance was free!
Joyous and cheerful
There was a lot of fun, laughter, and joy. A lot of young children added to the cheerfulness and excitement - their joyful resounding voices harmoniously intertwined with the course of the holiday. By the way, about half of the performers on stage were children's groups.
The hall was decorated in oriental style - Chinese lanterns, balloons, banners with calligraphy signs. So that people who entered the hall were immediately immersed in the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year. The host of the event, charming Laura, announced the performances in Chinese, and then in English. At the end of the festival, she performed “Peace Solo Song” which caused a loud applause.
Close partners and supporters of UHMCC were also present at the celebration. Pohswan Narayanan, Senior Advisor Migrant/Refugees Communities, Partnerships and Programmes took the stage to give a welcoming speech on behalf of UHMCC President, Pancha Narayanan, followed by Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy. Superintendent Rakesh Naidoo, a longtime supporter of the Multicultural Councils and communities, also shared a congratulatory speech to the audience.
The concert lasted about four hours; more than 15 groups were involved in the program! They had been preparing in advance, rehearsing performances, and preparing costumes, so the party was really spectacular and drew great applause and approval from the guests. At the end of their show the participants received a token of thanks from the Upper Hutt Multicultural Council.
The audience had the pleasure of seeing the very diverse teams that sang, danced, showed traditional oriental arts and surprised with their talents.
Orient Xpress Jazz Band played several jazz compositions. Saxophone, guitar, keyboards - the band opened the concert and put the audience in a great mood. The guests clapped and sang along to the charming soloist of the group.
Lion Dance: the performance of this group caused a huge storm of excitement, especially among the children. The dancers, dressed as lions, walked around the hall, and interacted with the audience, and it was unforgettable, loud and expressive! Guests filmed videos, took pictures, and danced with the huge lions.
The UH Chinese Community Singing Group had over 20 members and mesmerized with their cohesive performance. The group sang several traditional oriental songs and received great applause.
VietKidsNZ Dance & Bamboo Flute: The sweet little girls performed a graceful and gentle dance. They were dressed in colourful Vietnamese clothes and headdresses. The performance was very touching and charming. Afterward, three young musicians played traditional Vietnamese bamboo flutes. Their talent and professionalism made the festival guests really admire them.
Keynote Speaker - Supt. Rakesh Naidoo: Mr Rakesh Naidoo from the NZ Police shared inspiring words about the nature of the Lunar New Year celebration, and seeing NZ communities celebrating together.
Narukami Japanese Taiko Drumming: This was probably the loudest and most expressive performance! A group of musicians with huge drums made a tsunami in the hall. The drumming gave real goosebumps! The audience held their breath and moved to the rhythm with the drums. Impressions are simply magnificent from this extraordinary show.
Chinese Kung Fu Fan Dance: Charming artists performed a traditional dance with fans. The cheerful performance and bright accessories really pleased the audience, who rewarded the girls with applause.
Traditional Calligraphy Demonstration: A famous calligrapher, Mr Sinjing Huang and his wife showed a top-class performance! They made calligraphy posters in their stall on the side of the hall, and gave them away to everybody who wanted. Later on, the artists made a master class for the special guests and taught them to paint calligraphy signs. Everyone could try his or her hand at the ancient Chinese art.
Rainbow Music Violin Duo: Two charming young sisters in golden dresses played magic melodies on the violin. This music incredibly moved the audience.
Oriental Dance Academy: Tiny, sweet girls performed a ballerina dance to classical music. Dancers in white dresses copied the movements of doll ballerinas, and it looked delightful and gentle.
And later other dancers in kitten costumes performed an amusing dance of kittens. This performance made the audience smile and gasp.
Chinese Waist Drum Group: A women's group with small drums showed an energetic performance. Bright music and well-coordinated movements lit up the hall and caused a lot of applause.
UH Chinese Seniors Blue Sky Dance: Charming senior ladies showed a top-class performance! They moved in vigorous and dynamic dance that was enjoyed by the audience.
LYU Dance Studio K-Pop Dance: K-Pop style has recently become incredibly popular around the world. These young girls performed a dance to modern music, and it was just wow!
Good Luck Dance finished the festival, and it was a great ending to the celebration! Ladies with pink fans danced to cheerful music, and it prepared the audience for a joyful farewell.
So, it is obvious that the Lunar New Year Festival gave great fun and positivity to everybody who attended it. It was time to watch celebration performances of the Upper Hutt teams, see friends, socialize and meet new people. At the end of the festival there were chocolate treats, group photos and warm goodbyes for all. The guests were extremely grateful to the charming professional team of Upper Hutt Multicultural Council for a wonderful holiday. The memories of it will long last – till the next Lunar New Year