Chinese performers show skill at festival event

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By Mick Jensen

Ashburton College Year 9 students and guests were treated to a display from touring Chinese performers promoting New Zealand’s lantern festivals.

The performances celebrated the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster and included musical and martial art performances, a tea-pouring display and figurine creation.

Performers visited Ashburton and Mount Hutt colleges as well as schools in four other centres as part of an Asia New Zealand Foundation education roadshow.

Mongolian musicians Nair Ensemble performed with traditional folk instruments, while martial arts performers from the Shanghai Shangwu Group entertained with a tube act.

They were joined on stage by freestyle tea pourer Zhou Chun, who poured tea from a brass pot with a one-metre long spout, a skill that has evolved into a distinct martial art known as gong fu cha.

Students were also able to interact with artists, including dough figurine sculptor Qiu Baoyou, who creates figurines of legendary Chinese heroes, toffee artist Huang Hongmei, who created intricate two-dimensional paintings from caramelised sugar or toffee and traditional decorative knot artist Zhou Lingling.

Asia New Zealand Foundation educators network manager Sean O’Connor said the school visits were a long-running component of the foundation’s Lantern Festival programme and it was a first time visit to Mid Canterbury.

Photo: Members of the Shanghai Shangwu Group entertained with this tube act.