On Sunday 10 February, Soka Gakkai International of New Zealand celebrated the Lunar Year of the Snake at the Auckland Culture Centre in Ellerslie with about 500 people. The celebration opened in grand style with the traditional lion dance and the “God of Prosperity” conferring ‘red packets’ filled with quotes and chocolates to the audience.
Special guests included Melissa Lee MP (also Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs), Cr Richard Northey from Auckland City Council, President of the Auckland Interfaith Council Ruth Cleaver and Dale Ferris from the National Network for Stopping Violence. Guests were treated to cultural performances ranging from Chinese traditional dancing to a children’s rendition of Gangnam Style.
SGINZ also launched iChoose, an innovative anti-bullying project from the United States at the Chinese New Year Celebrations with Auckland YWD Aidee Walker introducing a DVD clip of interviews with cast and crew.