Auckland’s Family-Friendly Lantern Festival is Back for 2021 in a New Waterfront Location

Auckland’s Family-Friendly Lantern Festival is Back for 2021 in a New Waterfront Location

Monkey at the Lantern Festival Photo: Gareth Cooke

Auckland Lantern Festival – the region’s most popular cultural festival – will remain FREE, but be ticketed this year for the first time, to allow ideal crowd management and contact tracing.

The 2021 Auckland Lantern Festival has been postponed to a start a week later and will now be on from 4-7 March 2021.

Auckland Lantern Festival is one of Auckland’s biggest cultural festival and New Zealand’s premiere annual four-day festival celebrating Chinese New Year, Chinese culture and Auckland’s Chinese communities. This year the festival will celebrate the Year of the Ox.

The festival was previously held at Auckland Domain for the past five years, however this year it will be held at Captain Cook Wharf (with entry from Queen’s Wharf).  The festival, which has previously been held in central city parkland, will have a different feel to it this year.

The new location brings an urban vibe to the festival, and we are embracing that. We’re using containers to create spaces and height to display the lanterns, which will be clustered to tell stories about wildlife, Sister City relationships and Chinese cultural history.” says Festival Event Producer Eric Ngan.

LANTERN FESTIVAL_credit-DavidWatson

The Thursday night of the Festival is themed to celebrate grandparents and make the elderly feel welcome and special. This reflects the Chinese cultural practice and family values of high esteem and respect for the elderly in our families and community.

Families can enjoy over 500 elaborate handmade Chinese lanterns on display, cultural song, music, and dance performances, retail and food stalls, craft workshops and demonstrations, and activations from sponsors and major event partner ASB.

A firework display from a barge in the harbour on Sunday, the last night of the festival will be visible from numerous vantage points around Auckland.

Tickets are available online from 11 February with the event taking place at new waterfront venue, Captain Cook and Marsden wharves at Ports of Auckland. The event has been rescheduled from Thursday 25th February to Sunday 28th February to now be on from Thursday 4th March to Sunday 7th March 2021. The Auckland Lantern Festival 2021 is presented by Auckland Unlimited, on behalf of Auckland Council, in association with founding partner Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Where can I book my FREE tickets to the Auckland Lantern Festival?

The FREE Auckland Lantern Festival tickets are limited, and you need to choose a specific entry time when they book online from the following rescheduled dates and times:
Thursday 4 March 2021 at 5pm, 6:30pm or 8:30pm
–   Friday 5 March 2021 at 5pm, 6:30pm or 8:30pm
–   Saturday 6 March 2021 at 11:30am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6:30pm or 8:30pm
–   Sunday 7 March 2021 at 11:30am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6:30pm or 8:30pm

FREE Lantern Festival Tickets are available to book online now 

Tickets are required for entry at the Lantern Festival and you are asked to limit your time to three hours so that others can enjoy the Lantern Festival too.


Auckland for Kids tips for going with your family to the Auckland Lantern Festival

  1. Book your FREE tickets early, choosing a specific entry time to the festival so you are able to attend on the day you want to go. A ticket is required for entry. This year tickets are limited per entry time, so book early to avoid disappointment. FREE tickets are available to book onlline here:

  2. Backpacks are recommended over buggys and pushchairs as the Lantern Festival gets busy. 

  3. The new waterfront venue is a flat site, so it will provide more comfortable movement for people with mobility issues.

  4. Use public Transport to get to and from the festival as finding a carpark in town may be difficult and it is close to Britomart train station, the ferry terminal and bus stops.

  5.  If you are visiting with your children and their grandparents Thursday is the perfect night to go.

  6. This year there are day time session on the weekend, which are perfect to go to with your kids if they go to sleep early.

  7. Bring some cash with you in case you want to purchase some food from the stalls.

  8. If you want to see the fireworks they will be at 10pm on Sunday night.

Lantern Festival Gareth Cooke