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Lantern Festival in New Zealand's Auckland attracts large number of visitors

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 21 — The annual Auckland Lantern Festival has unveiled 800 lanterns on a showground in central Auckland, attracting a large number of visitors.

The Lantern Festival, moved from city center to a nearby spacious park, the first time in 16 years, includes the focus figure of monkey as China entered the Year of the Monkey earlier this month.

"It brings new dimension to this culture venue, strengthens the notion that celebrations of Chinese New Year becomes a very important part of New Zealand calendar," Chinese Ambassador Wang Lutong said.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown called on all Auckland people to show up in the event.

The festival organizers set up a 100-meter-long arcade of Asian food vendors, making it one of the busiest spots in the venue.

Lantern Festival has become one of the most popular gatherings in Auckland with over 170,000 people turning up for one weekend last year, showcasing the multi-cultural fusion in a city with 25 percent of its population of Asian origin.

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) also took this event as an opportunity to market Chinese tourism.

The CNTA employed signature landmarks of China including the Great Wall, panda and Peking Opera figures to introduce China's attractions to New Zealanders.

"I believe the showcase through Lantern Festival would intrigue more people here to an eventual trip to China," an official with the CNTA said. (PNA/Xinhua)

LGI/PJN

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