Big Bang to Welcome Serpent to City

15 February 2013

Although serpents seldom visit Wellington, this year the Capital will celebrate the arrival of one special snake in explosive style - with fireworks on the waterfront to greet the Year of the Snake.

Kicking off at 9pm on Sunday 24 February, the fireworks display will use fireworks held over from the wind-affected New Year celebrations in December.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the display will be a fitting finale to a weekend of great Chinese New Year celebrations.

"In China, loud and colourful fireworks traditionally scare off the bad spirits to make way for good fortune and prosperity for the coming year, so it's great we've been able find a silver-lining to the disappointment of December 31's event being cancelled." 

The Council's Sports and Events Portfolio Leader, Councillor John Morrison, says one of the real highlights of this year's celebrations will be the performance by the famed Shenzhen Song and Dance Ensemble.

"This group is internationally-acclaimed for their superbly-choreographed performances interpreting different aspects of Chinese culture through modern and traditional dance forms. There've come from China especially for this event and there are 26 of them performing, so it's going to be pretty special."

They will perform their new show Phoenix Dancing Over Oriental Land just prior to the fireworks display on Sunday at 7pm in TSB Bank Arena. Tickets are limited and cost $20 for adults and $12.50 for children. To book, go to

There's also a great range of free Chinese New Year events in Wellington over the weekend including:

  • 'New Clothes for the New Year' - a fashion show on Saturday at 7pm in the TSB Arena
  • an Asian Market day featuring delicious food and a variety of craft on Sunday from 10.30am?4.30pm in the TSB Arena
  • a street parade - featuring lion, dragon and snake dance troupes - making its way from the Embassy end of Courtenay Place to Frank Kitts Park via Courtenay Place, Taranaki Steet and the waterfront, from 2-3pm on Sunday
  • cultural performances including dancing, music and martial arts at Frank Kitts Park between 3-4.30pm on Sunday.

Mayor Wade-Brown says the weekend's events - organised by the Asian Events Trust in association with the Council - reflect the strong cultural links Wellington enjoys with China.

"From humble beginnings 11 years ago, the annual Chinese New Year celebrations have grown to be a real highlight in the Wellington events calendar. The vibrant Chinese community adds so much to our city's culture."

For further details about Chinese New Year events on offer, go to:

Chinese New Year - New Clothes for the New Year

Chinese New Year - Festival Day & Parade

Chinese New Year Festival