College students help usher in the Year of the Dragon

21 Feb 2024

Twenty-four College students have joined in the celebrations at the Happy Chinese New Year Festival, volunteering as guides and support crew across the weekend event in North Hagley Park and welcoming the Year of the Dragon.

Still buzzing from meeting so many people, the “awesome fireworks”, and the “amazing dragon dance and massive dragon lanterns”, College Head of International/Round Square Lucas Maguire describes the festivities and the opportunity to be involved as “a brilliant experience for all the boys”.

Driven by the efforts of Lucas, alongside Year 10 students Lucas Zhong and Sean Zhang, and Year 9 student Ryan Ma, the large contingent of College volunteers has been kept very busy, filling a range of festival roles.

With 60,000 people making the most of the festival over three days, the boys say they have made new friends while also supporting visitors, vendors, and back-stage crews.

Festival organisers have praised the College boys – from Years 9 to 13 – for their “outstanding participation”, acknowledging their “exceptional dedication and enthusiasm” in helping to set up the venue, arrange displays, and welcome and guide visitors.

“Notably, their interactions with young attendees, such as crouching down to engage in playful exchanges and capture cherished moments, exemplified their genuine warmth and compassion,” the organisers say.

The four main student organisers have also been praised for their “admirable energy, effort, and commitment” in truly making a difference.

Lucas Maguire adds that “the younger boys have really stepped up, and have been willing to take on any tasks to support the festival”.

“It has been a great chance for everyone to celebrate the diversity of Christchurch,” he says. “And enjoy all the sights, sounds, and tastes, plus a brilliant dragon dance.”

For Sean Zhang, “the fireworks have been a highlight, along with meeting Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger and the Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand, Wang Xiaolong,” while Lucas Zhong and Ryan Ma have marvelled at the “12-metre-long dragon lanterns and all the colourful lanterns dotted among the trees”.

The boys add that the Year of the Dragon “brings strength, good luck, and wisdom”.

Another College student, Kennedy Xiao, has featured among the many stage performers, with dance, and traditional and rock music performances attracting a big crowd.

For all the boys, the festival has been “a really good experience, a great deal of fun, and an invaluable opportunity to meet, greet, and help out to make a difference”.