New Zealand Chinese Language Week: 26 September – 2 October
New Zealand Chinese Language Week (NZCLW) is a Kiwi-driven initiative launched in 2014 by Chair Jo Coughlan and Raymond Huo and NZCFS Wellington branch president Chris Lipscombe is one of the trustees. NZCLW is designed to increase Chinese language learning in New Zealand. The first of its kind in any Western country, NZCLW seeks to bridge the cultural and linguistic knowledge gap between China and New Zealand by delivering fun and practical initiatives that assist Kiwis to learn Chinese.
Christchurch Branch members Laura Carter and Alex Fraser were nominated and selected as Mandarin Superstars for the 2021 event. They traveled to Wellington for two days for the opening ceremony at parliament and to take part in other events.
The function was attended by 10 other Mandarin superstars from around the country. There were also three Youth Ambassadors who were schoolchildren doing well in their language learning journey. There were also friends and family, representatives of the sponsors’ companies as well as a number of MPs.
Each superstar was called forward to accept an award (a certificate and goody bag) and then asked to say a few words on their language learning journey. Laura talked about having moved to China at 18, not being able to speak a word of Chinese, and learning from there. Alex’s speech was largely the same; he spoke on why he learnt Chinese, and what a rewarding journey it has been.
They were encouraged to spend the week sharing Chinese with friends and colleagues, and using social media to teach friends some new words and phrases.
The event was also an opportunity to show off the new trilingual picture book Daniel’s Matariki Feast, in English, Te Reo and Chinese (pinyin and characters).
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, everyone had to be seated; in happier times they did a cocktail party-type of activity.
However, all was not lost, being the resourceful people they are they went to the botanical gardens and foraged for some wild spring onion and wild fennel before heading back to Alex’s friend’s place on the 26th to make dumplings from scratch to celebrate national dumpling day!
Alex’s friend Lilian came with them and live-streamed the event on her Chinese Tik-tok page, where she has 1 million followers.
It proved to be a very pleasant activity for Laura and Alex and meant they were able to meet new friends and of course give our branch a great profile. Well done guys!