(7.15pm, Hickson Road Reserve, Dawes Point)
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the launch of our 2015 Chinese New Year Festival.
This 19th Chinese New Year Festival celebrates the Year of the Sheep and unlike typical Australian sheep, people born in the Year of the Sheep are said to be clever, tender, polite, creative and compassionate.
Our Festival this year includes over 75 associated events that are presented by cultural and community groups, and for only the second time, we've commissioned an artwork for the festival.
Digilante's work was inspired by paper-cutting and woodblock printing to produce a combination of traditional festival paper craft with the modern architectural forms of Sydney.
Another creative addition to this year's festival is the Lanterns of the Terracotta Warrior Exhibition we're launching tonight. Created by a Chinese team including Xia Nan for the Beijing Olympics, they are in Australia for the first time.
These 90 by 2.1 metre high lanterns will be visible until February 22.
The Chinese New Year Markets have made way for a new event this year - Lunar Streets. Chinatown in Sussex Street, Koreatown in Pitt Street and Thaitown in Campbell Street will all provide a feast of entertainment, food and culture from their respective countries tomorrow - which is also Valentine's Day, of course!
Then on Sunday week, the Twilight Parade will unfold with floats, performances, light projections and fireworks.
This year's visiting delegation is coming from various parts of China and has been organised by the Ministry of Culture. There will also be over 1050 performers in the Parade from various art troupes and international university performances will be held at Town Hall and Angel Place Recital Hall.
Our Charity Partner this year is Barnardos Australia which is one of the leading child protection charities in Australia. They find safe homes for abused children and young people and, importantly, work with families to prevent abuse, so please be generous in your support.
I would like to thank all those who make this wonderful Festival possible:
- The Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Sydney, especially His Excellency Li Huaxin for their help in bringing our international participants here
- His Excellency the Consul-General of the Kingdom of Thailand in Sydney
- The Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China
- The China Cultural Centre in Sydney
- Our Government Partner, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
- Our Festival Ambassadors
- The Chinese, Korean, and Thai community associations, arts organisations and individuals, including, of course
- Councillor Robert Kok, Chair of our Chinese New Year Festival Advisory Group and all the group members
- And finally, to the City of Sydney Event Team who work tirelessly throughout the year to bring this festival to you
My best wishes to you all for this Year of the Sheep.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!