Kitchen Tips

7 Chinese New Year events across New Zealand that every foodie will love

Celebrate the Lunar New Year by experiencing the best Chinese cuisine available in your region. From Auckland to Dunedin (and everywhere in between), these are our picks for the most memorable events for foodies throughout this year's festivities!

By Harriet Keown
With the Lunar New Year celebrations kicking off this weekend, events all over the country are set to roll out the very best of Chinese cuisine, which is one of the most important aspects of the festival.
Whether you are celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Rat with a traditional family feast on New Year's Eve, or are planning to experience your very first taste of Chinese New Year festivities, there is no better time to discover all the best Chinese-style food on offer in your region. Just make sure to fill your plate up with all the dishes which are said to bring prosperity and happiness!
Xīn nián kuài lè!


Chinese New Year Celebrations at SkyCity
Ring in the New Year under the Sky Tower, where SkyCity is hosting a colourful three-day festival from January 24th-26th. Alongside cultural performances, traditional lion dancing and even a bungee-jumping God of Fortune, the Auckland Night Markets will be setting up shop between 2pm–8pm on Saturday 25th, where you can indulge in all sorts of Asian-inspired street food. Or, if you prefer high-end dining to relaxed market stalls, SkyCity's Huami restaurant will be putting on an exclusive Chinese New Year set menu throughout the festival.
  • Friday 24th – Sunday 26th January
  • SkyCity, Federal Street
  • Find more information here

Auckland Libraries' Chinese New Year Workshops
Pop along to your local library throughout the Chinese New Year festivities and you might just stumble upon something exciting happening between the bookshelves. Auckland Libraries are hosting a huge variety of fun, kid-friendly events in the spirit of the Lunar New Year, from Chinese movie nights to dragon mask making, including some food-related workshops that will catch the attention of budding foodies. Learn how to make dumplings at the Parnell and Warkworth Library, or attempt at making Chinese scallion pancakes at Highland Park. Mt Albert Library is even hosting a chopsticks challenge - what better way to have some fun whilst testing your talent?
  • Times and locations vary
  • Auckland Council Libraries
  • Find more information here


Rotorua Chinese New Year Festival
After the success of last year's event, the Rotorua Chinese Festival will return on Thursday 23rd January, offering another fun-filled night of Chinese food, culture and performances. Situated alongside the Rotorua Night Market at Te Manawa, this year's festival will give you a chance to experience the hugely diverse flavours of Chinese cuisine, with a delicious selection of stalls offering dumplings, pork buns, rice cakes and more. You can also discover what the Year of the Rat holds for you from a fortune cookie, learn how to master the art of making dumplings, and enjoy the highlight of last year's festival – the Dumpling Eating Competition!
  • Thursday 23rd January
  • Te Manawa, Corner of Tutanekai and Hinemoa Streets
  • Find more information here


CNY Asian Food & Craft Market
As part of the Wellington Chinese New Year Festival, the TSB Bank Arena will be taken over on Sunday 2nd February by the CNY Asian Food & Craft Market. With stalls offering food from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China, it's the perfect place to experiment with different cuisines and soak up the atmosphere of the celebrations. There will also be beautiful homemade crafts for sale, so grab a deliciously authentic bite to eat and take a stroll through the stalls – you never know what you might find!
  • Sunday 2nd February
  • TSB Bank Arena, Queen's Wharf
  • Find more information here


Night Noodle Markets
If you're lucky enough to be in Christchurch during the last couple of days of Chinese New Year, head along to the Night Noodle Markets in Hagley Park for a flavoursome selection of hawker-style food – including dumplings, BBQ skewers, desserts and, of course, noodles. But it's not all about the noodles - there will also be lion dancers, costume performers and live music, all underneath the colourful lights of traditional lanterns. The Lunar New Year officially ends on February 8th, but the Night Noodle Markets will run from February 6th–15th, so even if you miss out during the New Year celebrations you can still join in on the fun!
  • Thursday 6th – Saturday 15th February
  • North Hagley Park
  • Find more information here


Feast of the East
Queenstown's upmarket bazaar-style marketplace is getting in the spirit of the Lunar New Year throughout January and February, with each chef dishing up street food-inspired fare each Friday and Saturday night. From wok-tossing and dumpling soup to crispy duck pancakes and delicious bao, Bazaar's 'Feast of the East' will open your eyes to the sizzling flavours of Asian-style street cuisine. Plus, the stunning outlook of Lake Wakatipu isn't too bad either.
  • Every Friday and Saturday night in January and February
  • Bazaar Queenstown, 38/54 Lake Esplanade
  • Find more information here


Chinese New Year Celebrations
The Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Garden is beautiful at any time of the year, but it will really come alive on Saturday 25th January, where it will be host to the city's Chinese New Year biggest celebrations. Start the festivities by watching the Dragon Parade from the Octagon to the gardens, then while away the evening with lion dancing, cultural performances, and all sorts of deliciously authentic food. It seems fitting to enjoy the delights of the Lunar New Year in such a tranquil and culturally important setting - if you've never visited the Chinese Garden, there's no better opportunity!
  • Saturday 25th January
  • Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Garden, 31 Queens Gardens
  • Find more information here