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The Year of the Pig is being welcomed in style as thousands of people celebrate Chinese New Year in Dunedin tonight.
Several hundred people gathered in the Octagon to watch dragon dancing, before parading down Princes St and through Queens Gardens to the Dunedin Chinese Garden.
There, the crowd swelled into the thousands as the brightly-coloured costumes of entertainers mingled with the odours of culinary delights, the rhythmic beating of drums and, finally, a fireworks display.
Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust chairman Malcolm Wong welcomed the crowd to the Year of the Pig, which deputy mayor Chris Staynes said was a symbol of wealth and good fortune.
Those born in "pig'' years were considered kind, generous, magnanimous, warm-hearted and considerate, as well as having leadership skills, he said.
The growing popularity of the celebrations was a sign of deepening ties between the two countries, as well as a recognition of historic links.
But the celebrations were also a family event centred on "sharing food and having fun'', he said.
Also there to mark the celebrations was Christchurch-based Chinese Consul General Wang Zhijian.