Launch of the first New Zealand Chinese Language Week
New Zealand Chinese Language Week, September 7-13 was launched today (Monday 7 September) at 'Wellington East Girls’
College by Hon Hekia Parata, Minister of Education.
The week is about encouraging more New Zealanders to try their tongue at Chinese and seeks to bridge the cultural and
linguistic knowledge gap between China and New Zealand.
Co-chair of the New Zealand Chinese Language Trust, Raymond Huo, explains its value: “Already China is New Zealand’s
most important trading partner, our largest source of international students and second biggest source of tourists.
There is an economic and social need to have more Kiwis communicating and understanding China in a cultural context.
“Learning the basics of another language goes a long way when building relationships with that culture. To bond with our
Chinese colleagues, friends, and trading partners, we must try and get basic courtesies like pronunciation and greetings
Co-chair Jo Coughlan agrees: “Many New Zealanders will have never considered giving Mandarin a go. It could be that it’s
perceived as being too difficult or it may be they don’t know where to begin. New Zealand Chinese Language Week is about
promoting the wonderful work that is already going on in our communities, encouraging people to widen their horizons and
showing them where they might find information to take the first step in learning Chinese.”
New Zealand Chinese Language Week has a one-stop resource portal on its website for anyone wanting to start learning
Chinese. There are links to free online learning resources, community groups and information for schools wanting to
incorporate Mandarin into their curriculum or as a subject.
New Zealand Chinese Language Week has full support from the Prime Minister (see his video of support here), the Chinese
Ambassador Wang Lutong, John McKinnon Ambassador to China and Mongolia, and Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan
Devoy. The event is also endorsed by The Asia New Zealand Foundation, New Zealand China Friendship Society, New Zealand
China Council, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Immigration NZ, Tourism NZ, Education New Zealand, Local
Government NZ, our major universities and the mayors of Wellington, Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin.
'Wellington East Girls’ College held a Chinese Immersion Day where students learning Mandarin participated in cultural
activities, showed off their language skills and entertained the Minister with a Chinese dance. There are many other
events linked with NZ Chinese Language Week happening around the country. To see what’s happening at a location near you
visit: http://nzclw.com/events /
For more information on New Zealand Chinese Language Week see: http://nzclw.com