The opening reception for New Zealand Chinese Language Week took place on Monday evening at the Beehive, the executive wing of Wellington’s parliamentary complex.
From Sunday to Saturday, New Zealand will host a variety of colorful activities such as learning Chinese language and Chinese kung fu, listening to Chinese folk music, exploring Chinese cuisine, workshops calligraphy and Chinese lion dance performances.
Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi congratulated the event. She said Chinese Language Week is increasingly becoming an important platform and brand for China-New Zealand exchanges, helping more New Zealanders to better understand China and Chinese culture. .
âUnderstanding is the foundation of friendship and language is the bridge of communication. People-to-people exchanges have always been an indispensable part of bilateral relations between China and New Zealand, and the study of the other’s language plays an important role in our interactions. “
âA more open and prosperous China will certainly create new opportunities for the whole world, including New Zealand,â Wu said.
House of Representatives Speaker Trevor Mallard and New Zealand Chinese Language Week Trust Chairman Jo Coughlan presented honorary certificates to 2021 Young Chinese Ambassadors and Superstars. He said the Sino-Neo exchanges Zealanders had a deep history of two centuries.
The theme of this year’s Chinese week is “food and hospitality,” which displayed the common values ââof the two countries.
Former New Zealand Ambassador to China and Chairman of the Board of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, Tony Browne, said the Chinese have become an important part of the New Zealand community.
Browne said the pandemic affected Chinese teaching in New Zealand because Chinese teaching assistants were unable to come to New Zealand due to the border restriction. He hoped that these Chinese Superstars would do something in the community to compensate for these negative impacts.
Wendell Cooke, who started learning Chinese in 1994, was one of this year’s Chinese superstars. âI had just returned to New Zealand after completing a student exchange in Brazil, and after learning Portuguese (I) really felt like I wanted to try an Asian language. I didn’t know much about China in back then but it seemed really interesting to me, so roughly on that basis started my journey in Mandarin. “
âThe most rewarding aspect is being able to communicate with older Chinese who haven’t learned English. It just opens up another world to be able to communicate with people who have lived really different lives. Also discovering different aspects. Chinese culture and being able to talk with practitioners from different arts is truly rewarding. “
Chinese Language Week started in 2014. It is another language week held in New Zealand following Maori Language Week and Pacific Island Language Week, and the first ‘ Chinese Language Week âinitiated and established by residents of Western countries.
According to statistics from the New Zealand Ministry of Education, the number of primary and secondary school students in New Zealand learning Chinese was nearly 70,000 before the outbreak, with more than 400 primary and secondary schools offering Chinese lessons.
Chinese has become the primary foreign language of choice for primary school students in New Zealand.