Celebrating the Chinese New Year in Auckland

Department of Conservation —  16/02/2018

By Yen Li Lim and Tony Sun, Visitor Centre Rangers

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, DOC staff in Auckland recently took the opportunity to reach out to the local community by attending the Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day.

Our aim was to engage with the community and educate people about our Conservation Dogs Programme and Auckland’s marine reserves.

The Chinese Community Centre has been organising this event for over 30 years.

This is a chance for Aucklanders to welcome the festive season of Chinese New Year and it has grown in popularity over the years, attracting many Auckland residents from different backgrounds. It is now one of the major summer events.

Senior Community Ranger Kat organised the initiative, while Tony and Yen also attended as Auckland’s local visitor centre rangers. Conservation dog handlers Hannah and Colin bought along their dogs Indie, Pipi and Bindi.

The conservation dogs stole the show and attracted a crowd to our stall. We were able to use maps, posters, images and chocolate to engage with the public.

Colin talking about the conservation dogs. Photo: Tony Sun

Colin talking about the conservation dogs. Photo: Tony Sun.

With two Mandarin-speaking staff and around 450 stall visitors, we achieved our aim of educating and reaching out to the community.

Moreover, the Chinese community showed strong interest in volunteering for conservation. Due to the language barrier and different means of social media usage, many had not been aware of our volunteering opportunities before.

We also found that only 4% of visitors to our stall knew about Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve. While the percentage is even lower for the rest of the marine reserves around Auckland.

Even so, this was a good start to fostering a good relationship with the many Chinese communities and organisations in Auckland.