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Dunedin Midwinter Carnival

(PR.co.nz) Dunedin will transform into the ‘city of lights’ on 26 June 2010 – when more than 250 hand-made lanterns line the streets in a special procession to mark New Zealand’s longest night and shortest day of the year.

Dunedin’s Lantern Procession, which this year has the theme ‘creatures of the sea’, will be held during the evening of the Midwinter Carnival. The lanterns are a symbol of returning light, creativity and community.

More than 700 people are expected to join the procession, including lantern bearers, costumed dancers, stilt walkers and musicians – accompanied by fireworks. Thousands of spectators will brave winter chills to watch the display.

Event co-ordinator Paul Smith says that the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival is a tradition of the city and has many fans.

“The focus is the Carnival procession which winds around the Octagon creating a ring of light. The lanterns are a powerful image that has been used for thousands of years in Asia and in Europe to signify the light of the sun in the dark of winter – especially the point at which the days grow longer, during the Winter Solstice.”

Giant lanterns
Central to the procession will be 10 giant lanterns that have been designed and built by Dunedin artists.

International music performers will also be there to entertain and add to the festive atmosphere. This year’s performers range from a Brazilian carnival drumming band to African dancing, traditional French music and an enthusiastic local music class.

Public lantern-making workshops on the night give participants the opportunity to create their own ‘creatures of the sea’ lantern to take home.

South Island escapes
Aside from the Midwinter Carnival, visitors to the southern New Zealand city of Dunedin will be in for a treat.

Dunedin is known for its Gothic architecture and creative bent. It is home to Kiwi fashion design house Nom*D and a raft of other quirky designers – and has many well-preserved heritage buildings.

Dunedin visitors can also stop by the famous Cadbury chocolate factory, do a tour of the Speight’s brewery or warm up from the winter outing with a glass of velvety Central Otago pinot noir.

Highlights near Dunedin include the Otago Central Rail Trail, a 150km cycle trail through rural Central Otago that’s renowned for its spectacular landscape, and New Zealand-famous southern hospitality.

Just outside Dunedin, Otago peninsula has colonies of royal albatross, and endangered little blue and yellow-eye penguins, and foreboding Larnach Castle is surrounded by a ‘garden of national significance’ with some unique ‘Alice in Wonderland’ features.

Chinese links

Tucked away in New Zealand’s southern reaches, Dunedin is a sister-city to Shanghai, in China – where the 2010 World Expo is underway. New Zealand has an Expo pavilion that tells the story of Māori creation with the theme ‘cities of nature: living between land and sky’.

Dunedin has a rich Chinese history and, outside of China, is one of the few places in the world with an authentic Chinese Garden. The garden was gifted to New Zealand by China as a permanent reminder of the Chinese people who first settled in the Otago region during the 1860s gold rush.

Some of the Chinese settlers stayed on and established many of Dunedin’s first businesses. The design of the Chinese Garden is based on private gardens in Suzhou between the 10th and 19th centuries.

Other reminders of the original Chinese settlers can be seen at the Otago Settlers Museum in a gallery called ‘Windows on a Chinese Past’. The exhibition tells the story of Otago’s Chinese community, from the very first arrivals in 1865 to the present day.

Media Release 26 June 2010 from newzealand.com

 



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