Crowded lan­tern fes­ti­val seeks ‘‘cre­ative so­lu­tion’’

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

The Auck­land Lan­tern Fes­ti­val could be light­ing up a new park in the fu­ture with its lo­ca­tion up for re­view.

But some ‘‘cre­ative so­lu­tions’’ to is­sues of over­crowd­ing could keep it at Al­bert Park for years to come, Asia New Zealand Foun­da­tion direc­tor of cul­ture Jen­nifer King says.

The fes­ti­val’s re­source con­sent for the cen­tral city park ex­pired in March at the end of this year’s event, leav­ing the pos­si­bil­ity open for a change of scenery as part of the fes­ti­val’s regular re­view.

Auck­land Tourism, Events and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment (ATEED) or­gan­ises the event in part­ner­ship with the Asia New Zealand Foun­da­tion. King says Al­bert Park re­mains the foun­da­tion’s ‘‘strong pref­er­ence’’ of lo­ca­tion.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously the fes­ti­val is very popular which is great but I think that we do need to look at ways of spread­ing that crowd out so that every­body is com­fort­able and we’re hop­ing some cre­ative ways can be found to do that,’’ she says.

ATEED ex­ter­nal re­la­tions gen­eral manager Steve Ar­mitage says plan­ning for next year’s event is in its early stages.

‘‘Any as­sess­ment of dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions would in­clude as­sess­ing the pros and cons of all op­tions, in­clud­ing the cur­rent Al­bert Park venue.’’

ATEED and Asia New Zealand will take feed­back from stake­hold­ers into con­sid­er­a­tion when plan­ning for the next event, he says.

The fes­ti­val has been held at Al­bert Park for 16 years.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board chair­man Shale Cham­bers says he wel­comes the fes­ti­val re­main­ing at the park but fes­ti­val-go­ers’ safety needs to re­main a pri­or­ity.

The free an­nual event is held in Fe­bru­ary to mark the end of Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year cel­e­bra­tions.

Around 70,000 peo­ple flocked to Al­bert Park dur­ing its four-day-run this year.

‘‘It’s a vic­tim of its suc­cess,’’ Cham­bers says.

‘‘There will come a time when the is­sues of crowd­ing and street clo­sures can’t be mit­i­gated but I’m not sure we’re quite there yet.’’

Crowd­ing is­sues might be mit­i­gated by ex­tend­ing the event for an­other night, he says. The fes­ti­val now in­cludes a lan­tern-only night with­out stalls and per­for­mances to ease the crowds. King says this can help fam­i­lies with young chil­dren to en­joy it.

Ac­tiv­i­ties and en­ter­tain­ment have also been held at Queens Wharf in the past as part of the fes­ti­val.

‘‘I think ATEED is look­ing at other ways of hav­ing ac­tiv­i­ties which are par­al­lel to the fes­ti­val maybe in other lo­ca­tions around the city so that there is plenty for peo­ple to do,’’ King says. ‘‘That’s one very use­ful thing that can be done I think.’’

The Auck­land Lan­tern Fes­ti­val.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.