For the first time in New Zealand a national initiative has been launched to develop awareness of Chinese language and culture. ‘New Zealand Chinese Language Week’ (NZCLW) will be a bipartisan event that creates awareness of Chinese language and etiquette used in business and in social contexts. It will also be an opportunity to showcase Chinese art and culture.
NZCLW was launched by Raymond Huo (Labour MP) at the National Conference of New Zealand China Friendship Society 2014 Conference on Saturday, 24 May 2014, in Havelock North. For Raymond Huo’s full speech, click here. Among the initiatives following the launch will be:
- Putting together simple language learning phrasebooks
- Organising an exhibition showcasing Kiwi Chinese artists.
- New Zealand schools will also be assisted in resourcing Chinese teachers.
A Trust has been set up to run New Zealand Chinese Language Week (NZCLW) and is co-chaired by Raymond Huo (Labour MP) and Jo Coughlan (Wellington City Councillor). Other trustees include: Sarah Thomson, founder and president of the Waikato Mandarin Corner group which encourages youth to study Chinese; Professor Neil Quigley, Professor of Economics and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University of Wellington; Patrick English, Executive Director for the New Zealand China Council; and Dave Bromwich, National President of the New Zealand China Friendship Society. Ms Thomson will also be the Trust’s first Youth Ambassador. For full list and biopics of the Trustees, click here.
NZCLW has the support of the Chinese Ambassador, Wang Lutong, and launching the initiative this year seems particularly timely with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in November.
Honorary advisors to the Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust will be appointed in due course following consultation with the Chinese community and other relevant stakeholders.
The idea of Chinese Language Week was raised in 2010 and support of all relevant stakeholders and the Chinese community in New Zealand was then gathered.
‘As co-chair I am very honoured to see the level of support from across the board,’ says Raymond Huo. ‘Chinese Language Week is not just about learning the language, it’s about how New Zealand can better promote our multiculturalism and prepare our future generations for the increasingly important market in Asia. Jo Coughlan says, ‘Maintaining a good working relationship with China is essential and this initiative is a way for New Zealanders to become more familiar with Chinese culture and language in both a business and a social context. ‘The idea is that the week of events will be both informative and fun, showcasing Chinese art and heritage, but also offering hands-on advice and training to any New Zealander who shows an interest in learning more.’
NZCLW will most likely take place from 8-14 September. Trustees recognise, however, that the initiative will take a number of years to evolve and over time should develop into a full and stimulating calendar of events .
For ‘Excerpts of Reactions to NZ Chinese Language Week‘, click here.
Media Reaction to the NZCLW Launch: The following link gives comment by Dominion Post (Wellington): http://www..stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10101562/Today-in-politics-Friday-May-30
For more information about ‘NZ Chinese Language Week’, please CONTACT: Ruth Lavelle-Treacy +64 (0) 21 104 690