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The Chinese New Year is coming up and 2018 will be the year of the Dog. More precisely, the Earth Dog, for the first time since 1958.

According to the traditional beliefs, the animal determines a lot about one’s personality. The dog symbolizes loyalty, sincerity, courage, and independence. The world has seen many famous dogs throughout the years; Michael Jackson, Winston Churchill, Madonna, Mother Teresa and Steven Spielberg are just a few examples.

The Chinese zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle, and the years of the dog have been quite significant for New Zealand. We took a closer look at some of the national events from the last decades and summarized the highlights from the dog years below.

If you are thinking about how to celebrate the Chinese New Year in New Zealand this year, we’ve also listed the main events at the end of this post. Feel free to start there.

Now, let’s travel through time.

1934: The year of the Wood Dog

A damaged road after Hawke Bay Earthquake NZ

A damaged road after the earthquake. Photo: GeoNet.

  • Pahiatua, a charming town renowned for trout fishing, is hit by an earthquake reported as magnitude 7.6 on the Richter Scale. Major parts of the country, such as the North Island, Wairarapa Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland, are affected. This is still one of the most powerful earthquakes in New Zealand’s history.
Treaty House Te Ara

NZ’s most visited historic building. Photo: Teara.govt.nz

1946: The year of the Fire Dog

A New Zealand haka war dance ahead of a basketball game.

A New Zealand haka war dance ahead of a game. Photo: The Guardian.

  • National Basketball Associations (NBA) are formed for women and men and the first competition under the new association takes place.
  • The Labour Party, which ended 2017 as the largest party in New Zealand’s Parliament, is re-elected for a fourth term.

1958: The year of the Earth Dog

Countdown Superrmarket new zealand fasade

Countdown serves more than 2.5 million customers every week. Photo: Internet Retailing.

  • The first Foodtown supermarket opens in the Auckland suburb of Otahuhu. Nowadays, all Foodtown supermarkets have been rebranded as Countdown, which is New Zealand’s leading supermarket brand.
  • Brian Barratt-Boyes performs the first ever open heart surgery in New Zealand at Auckland’s Green Lane Hospital.
  • Our most important number, 111 for fire, police and ambulance is introduced. The Wairakei Power Station is the only station to be commissioned initially.

1970: The year of the Metal Dog

The Māori All Blacks before game

The Māori All Blacks before kick-off against Munster. Photo: Stuff.co.nz.

  • Māori players are selected for the 1970 All Blacks tour in South Africa. This is the first-time Māori players can play in South Africa, due to the country’s policies of racial segregation. The selected players have to visit as ‘honorary whites’, and NZRFU’s decision to agree to such terms causes a lot of anger and criticism.
  • The single, ‘Cheryl Moana Marie’ by John Rowles’ takes the world by storm and more than a million copies are sold globally.
 Aoraki/Mt Cook New Zealand

The beautiful Aoraki/Mt Cook. Photo: http://www.doc.govt.nz.

  • John Glasgow and Peter Gough become the first mountaineers to successfully climb the 2000-m Caroline Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Back then, it was the last unclimbed face of the mountain.


1982: The year of the Water Dog

The Warehouse Group New Zealand brand

The Warehouse Group consist of market-leading retailers in their category. Photo: The Register.

1994: The year of the Wood Dog

  • The radio brand Classic Hits (today broadcasting to 40 markets across the country under the name ‘The Hits’) is launched nationwide.
  • Several major sport events take place, including the Cricket World Cup, the Rugby League Cup and the New Zealand Trotting Cup. NZ also sends 8 competitors to the Olympic Games.

2006: The year of the Fire Dog

Auckland is named the 5th top city in the world based on quality of life out of a total of 55 cities. Wellington is also included as number 12 on the same list.

Mark Inglis becomes the first double amputee to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

After 40 days of climbing, Mark reaches the summit of the highest mountain in the world. Photo: Pinterest.

  • The kiwi Mark Inglis becomes the first double amputee to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

What to do in New Zealand for Chinese New Year 2018

Time to look forward again. This year’s Chinese New Year officially begins on February 16th and ends on March 2nd. The celebrations usually last for over two weeks, which makes it the biggest holiday on the Chinese Calendar.

Below is a brief overview of some of the main events in New Zealand.


Celebrate Chinese New Year the Black Label Way

Apart from festivals, traditions and history, there are plenty of other exciting activities to be explored during your New Zealand stay. Stargazing, shopping, a relaxing weekend on the countryside, hikes, adventure sports, or a combination?

Please get in touch with me directly if you would like to know more about how we could customize a dream itinerary for you in New Zealand. We promise to create a unique Chinese New Year Celebration experience you will be remembering for years.