Dancers perform during the "Festival of Spring" gala held in Christchurch, New Zealand, Feb. 22, 2019. A grand Spring Festival gala was staged in Christchurch Friday night for overseas Chinese and locals to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. (Xinhua/Li Qiaoqiao)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- One art troupe from China made its debut of Spring Festival gala in New Zealand's second largest city of Christchurch on Friday with high quality performances.
About 1,500 people enjoyed the two-hour show in the Isaac Royal Theatre, build in 1908 and the only operational Edwardian style Theatre remaining in New Zealand.
The evening brought together the traditional Peking Opera, classic songs, festive songs and dances, as well as stunning magical and acrobatic performances, which perfectly presented the charm of Chinese culture and art to the audience. During the performance, applause and cheers came one after another.
Eric Livingstone, the former president of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, told Xinhua the performance is wonderful, particularly the acrobatics, Mongolian singing, and the Peking Opera. It is great to watch the wonderful performance here in Christchurch.
"The performance is an opportunity not only to celebrate the Spring Festival in the Chinese new year, but also to reflect the strong and deep relationship between New Zealand and China," said Dr. Megan Woods, minister of Reconstruction of the Christchurch Region of New Zealand.
"The relationship is important not only to the national economy, but for our local economy as well, especially for our city which would recover from the earthquakes of 2011."
"Today is a day of sorrow for our city, where 185 lives were lost and changed on this day eight years ago, but it's also an opportunity to reminisce the loved ones and reminisce everything we've been through and look to hope," she added.
After the performance, Chinese entrepreneur Qiu Mingchun, who has lived in New Zealand for more than 30 years, was reluctant to leave. He said the gala tonight was very exciting.
"Today is also the eighth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake. The 185 victims included 23 Chinese students. The earthquake brought huge property losses and psychological trauma to the local people. This wonderful performance gives us a good psychological comfort and spiritual support, which can help us to get out of the shadow of disaster and speed up reconstruction and recovery," Qiu said.
A 6.3-magnitude quake struck the city on Feb. 22, 2011, with a depth of only four km. Then-Prime Minister John Key described the disaster as "New Zealand's darkest day."
The performing troupe, part of the annual Spring Festival gala tour for overseas Chinese, was organized by China's Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council and the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. The second performance will be held in New Zealand's Dunedin on Sunday.