South Island Lantern Festival
Bring along your family and friends to experience Chinese culture in Christchurch 22 - 24 February 2019.
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South Island Lantern Partner Update

We’re counting down the final days before the South Island Lantern Festival and South Island Lantern Business Forum and couldn’t be more excited about kicking off these popular events.

The forum has famously served as a catalyst for local business to increase their reach in China, while the public lantern festival attracts tens of thousands to the central city, breathing life into the CBD.

ChristchurchNZ values your support and partnership in doing this. Together we are igniting bold ambition while facilitating business networking and confidence in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The success of the festival events has meant the event now sits under a wider Lantern Christchurch brand, with additional events added to help grow the city’s relationship with China. Networking drinks for attendees and our partners will be held following the business forum, and an official opening ceremony of the festival will be held in Victoria Square.

The South Island Lantern Business Forum will take on a new format in 2019. The event will start with a networking lunch before attendees get stuck into the business forum. Focused workshops on trade and tourism will close out the schedule.

This serves to provide you with content and key messages about some of these events that may be useful if you would like to promote them via your own marketing and communication channels.


Promotional Assets

Christchurch Lantern Festival now the South Island Lantern Festival

South Island Lantern Business Forum

South Island Lantern Business Forum networking drinks

South Island Lantern Festival opening

South Island Lantern Festival

Promotional Assets

We have created a library of South Island Lantern Festival assets for your marketing team to utilise in promotion of this event. Feel free to download any of the assets for use across your channels.
Advertising for the Festival began this week with a strong digital focus, look out for ads across the Fairfax platform, Facebook and Instagram.

South Island Lantern Festival website

Visit for all up-to-date information regarding food vendors, entertainment and lanterns. We have also provided a variety of functional content to ensure that festival attendees can get the most out of their experience.

Christchurch Lantern Festival now the South Island Lantern Festival

Since its inception in 2005, the Christchurch Lantern Festival has been a firm favourite with locals and visitors. In 2018, 55,000 filled the streets, bringing a much-needed hum to the CBD.

In 2017, Asia New Zealand gifted the event to the city. ChristchurchNZ, the city’s economic development and promotion agency, is responsible for organising and promoting the festival and additional supporting events.

The expansion of the festival under the wider Lantern Christchurch brand fits with ChristchurchNZ’s wider remit to build a portfolio of major events for Christchurch and develop key strategic partnerships.

In 2018 the Festival moved from Hagley Park back into the CBD, winding its way through the Ōtākaro Avon River Precinct. The event attracted 55,000 people into the central city across two days, which was deemed a huge success.

In 2019, ChristchurchNZ has rebranded the festival as the South Island Lantern Festival. This was to enable the future growth of the event, with the objective being Christchurch would habitually host the largest lantern festival in the South Island.

This year the event has been extended from two to three days, and will occupy a larger site - starting at the Bridge of Remembrance and heading down the City Promenade into Victoria Square and The Commons.

By 2022, ChristchurchNZ wants to continue to use the Lantern Christchurch brand to build on the economic, business, trade and visitor opportunities with China. The Chinese market is New Zealand’s biggest for export growth and an increasing source of foreign investment. More and more visitors are arriving on our shores from China, as are students interested in our quality education offering. The attraction of visitors and students to Ōtautahi Christchurch and New Zealand is also a large consideration when looking at the future of Lantern Christchurch.

2019 Strategic Vision

  • Expand Lantern Christchurch along the City Promenade to Victoria Square to include new business developments
  • Enhanced Business Engagement reposition the South Island Lantern Business Forum to be inclusive of more networking and B2B engagement for attendees
  • Engagement programme – with Christchurch sister city Gansu and Ashburton sister city Puyang
  • Strengthen Festival alignment with Christchurch CBD – including Turanga
  • Re-connectChristchurch residents and the broader South Island with the newly developed central city

 A unique offering

Making the most of Christchurch’s newest public asset, the City Promenade, the 2019 festival will be spread out along the Ōtākaro Avon River, letting attendees explore more space than ever before. The route runs from the Bridge of Remembrance through to Victoria Square

For visitors travelling by air to the city, the festivities kick off at Christchurch International Airport. Chinese New Year branding as well as lanterns, dragons and performances will not only welcome visitors, but also increase awareness of the festival and associated events.

The business forum represents a unique and valuable asset alongside a popular public event. Leveraging off the success of the festival, the forum is a chance to grow business opportunities locally, as well as between Christchurch and China.

Being in the city centre, and improved access and space, has created a positive public perception of the festival. Potential overcrowding issues have been resolved with increased space and spread out food and craft vendors. As the festival improves and matures, so does the overall confidence in the event.

We have continued our commitment to running a sustainable event, with compostable food packaging and effective waste-management planning.

South Island Lantern Business Forum

When:  Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 11.45am - 6.30pm

Where: The Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Christchurch

The third annual South Island Lantern Business Forum aims to help businesses with their long-term strategic view of the opportunity of the China market. It is focused on businesses within the export, international education and tourism sectors.

We have changed the model of the forum to allow for more networking with guests and major partners. It has also changed to a ticketed event, having previously been free to attend. 

The forum will commence with a networking lunch, followed by talks from keynote speakers. This year’s keynote speakers are former Prime Minister Sir Bill English and Jinbo Yao, founder and chairman of (58同城网). Sir Bill English will share his insights on China, both as a politician and a businessman, while Jinbo Yao will discuss running one of China’s largest online marketplaces and building his net worth to more than US$1b.

There will be two concurrent workshop streams covering Trade and Tourism. The open workshops will have an operational emphasis with Liam Corkery, Trade Commissioner for China, advising on how businesses can succeed during interesting times and Dr Mingming Chen will provide insights into emerging trends for the Chinese youth travel. The workshops are outcome focused and will provide key takeaways for attendees.

There will be a final panel discussion and will present an opportunity for attendees to pose questions.

Networking drinks at Tūranga, the new central city library, will end the business forum and allow further networking and collaboration.

South Island Lantern Business Forum networking drinks

When:   Thursday, 21 February 2019 – 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Where:  TSB Space, Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Networking among business peers is an important element of any forum, and there is no exception here. Held at the city’s new public library Tūranga, this informal time is designed to allow attendees to exchange information and develop professional and social contacts. It will take place in the TSB Space immediately after the forum concludes, and is approximately a five minute walk from The Piano.


South Island Lantern Festival opening

When:   Thursday, 21 February 2019 – 6:45pm - 8:30pm

Where:  Victoria Square, Cnr Colombo and Armagh streets, Christchurch

The official start of the South Island Lantern Festival is a celebration of the three-day event programme. This ceremony will be held on Ngāi Tahu land on the newly finished City Promenade and Victoria Square. The ceremony will be an infusion of both Māori and Chinese traditions with a number of dignitaries attending.

Once the speeches have finished, attendees will be taken on a tour of the festival to take in the lanterns on display along the City Promenade and in Victoria Square.

South Island Lantern Festival

When:  Friday 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February 2019 – 5:30pm - 10pm
Where: Bridge of Remembrance to Victoria Square, City Promenade, Christchurch

Hundreds of spectacular Chinese lanterns, world-class entertainment, delicious food and traditional crafts – the South Island Lantern Festival is set to be a hive of activity, running 5.30pm until 10pm, from February 22 until February 24.

Occupying a larger space than ever before, running along the newly finished City Promenade, through to Victoria Square and The Commons. Food and craft vendors will this year be located throughout the festival to allow for a more fluid event.

There are several new lanterns to look out for, including one to mark 2019 – Year of the Pig. A special lantern is brought in annually to represent one of the 12 animals of the zodiac calendar, with this year’s lantern gifted by Mr Wang Zhijian, the Chinese Consul-General in Christchurch, along with two other lanterns.

Other new lanterns include a water-based Albatross, representing the Dunedin shoreline, God Of Wealth, the Chinese god of prosperity and the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism logo, weaving together the koru and traditional Chinese windows. There will also be other surprises located in the Ōtākaro Avon River, with traditional dragon boats moored and lit in the river and new “electric eels”.
Entertainers are set to perform in the streets, as well as on two river stages, one opposite The Terrace, the second in Victoria Square. They range from acrobats to traditional drum performances, as well as Shanghai’s best buskers. There will also be a dance and singing group from Gansu, a Christchurch Sister City.

South Island Lantern Festival key messages

  • The Festival is a celebration of Chinese culture, performance, art, business, tourism and education – wrapped around the City Promenade and Victoria Square in the heart of our new city.
  • The Festival celebrates the end of the Chinese New Year period, with 2019 being the Year of the Pig.
  • The South Island Lantern Festival is part of the wider Lantern Christchurch brand, which is harnessing economic, business, trade and visitor opportunities for the city with China.
  • The festival is participating in the Council-led trial, Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE) Trial 2.0, which diverts waste away from landfill into composting and recycling streams.

NOTE: Electric Avenue will be held on Saturday, February 23, in the event triangle of Hagley Park.