Last Sunday marked the start of Lunar New Year, kicking off two weeks of celebrations that herald our official transition into the Year of the Rabbit. (Or according to the Vietnamese Zodiac, the Year of the Cat.) And while you might often hear of this period referred to as ‘Chinese New Year,’ its significance is more far-reaching and diverse within the wider Asian diaspora than that term alone suggests.
Acknowledging the importance of this holiday to those across various Asian cultures, seeking to highlight it in a more personal way, the team at Viaduct Harbour assembled a diverse crew of talented creatives to produce its new Lunar New Year campaign. The result is a striking series of stills taken through the precise photographic lens of Rob Tennent (of Vietnamese descent), in which local Auckland creative Krishna Buenaventura Marinas and her Nanay (māmā) Lynn (both Filipino) take centre stage in three iconic Viaduct Harbour venues — Grand Harbour Chinese, Saint Alice, and Boracay Garden Restaurant.
In every shot, Buenaventura Marinas and her Nanay are wearing garments made by Filipino designers, including custom made Bon Hansen top and skirt that reinterpret the dramatic shoulder lines of traditional Filipino garments, which Buenaventura Marinas ordered after seeing in the pages of Vogue. Their hair and makeup were finessed by Korean-Kiwi artist Liz Hyun — whose deft skills with a brush have seen her lend her talents to a number of Viaduct Harbour campaigns.
For Tennent, the period over Lunar New Year has always been a time for family — a value that is clearly reflected in the imagery he produced here. “My grandma was very strict about staying home and only being with family,” he says. “It’s a time when I get to see all of my cousins and extended family. There would always be so much food, and everyone would pass out by 3pm either from drinking or just having their afternoon naps. I remember all of the kids standing in a line singing before receiving their lì xì (red envelope).”
But for anyone who celebrates Lunar New Year, the next two weeks are likely a time of retrospection, family and setting intentions for the year ahead. And if you’re seeking to celebrate with the people you love, Viaduct Harbour with its myriad venues is one of the best places to mark the occasion with aplomb.