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About 50 people went to the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) to be part of a flag-raising ceremony.
A protest by members of the Himalaya New Zealand group, which, according to protester James Lee, opposed the ceremony as the Chinese Government should be held "accountable for manufacturing, engineering and unleashing the man-made coronavirus", did little to affect the celebration.
Most attendees proudly waved flags and showed off Chinese artefacts while gathering to share a Chinese meal including moon cakes, dumplings and steamed buns.
SIT acting chief executive Maree Howden said China provided one of the highest number of international students coming to New Zealand.
"It is a way to show respect for our international students, for coming to New Zealand and for their importance and value for the community because they add to our cultural life."
She did not want to comment on the protest but said there was freedom of speech in New Zealand.
"It is clearly a peaceful protest outside of SIT’s premises and our country is a democracy and they did not interfere with the celebrations this morning."
During the ceremony she addressed the crowd and thanked people for sharing their culture.
"For those students who [have] spent years in New Zealand ... we hope today reminds you a little of your home that you left."