Dr Grace Yue Qi is a Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication, Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand. She also works on the expert panel of the Review of Achievement Standards (Asian Languages) at the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. Her recent projects and publications include curriculum design and pedagogy for learning diversity, multilingual education, technology-mediated language learning, and early language policy and planning in Australasia.
The earliest history of Chinese communities in Oceania can be traced back to Australia in the mid-1800s. Recent years have seen rapid growth in the number of Mandarin Chinese speakers as a consequence of the patterns of migration to the Oceania region, particularly Australia and New Zealand. Mandarin Chinese has gradually become integrated into formal and informal education in both countries.
The governments of Australia and New Zealand consider Mandarin a significant language for their youth because of the economic and cultural ties with the Chinese-speaking world. Dr. Qi first provided an overview of both countries’ national education systems. Focusing on the New Zealand context, an examination was given to the linguistic complexities in New Zealand and how Mandarin is positioned in the Curriculum and recent movements and updates in the space.
Dr. Qi talked about community-level policy reinforcement to Mandarin in complementary and mainstream education. Dr. Qi discussed the need for national recognition of multiculturalism and language status without which New Zealand has struggled to coordinate community/migrant language maintenance, revitalization of te reo, or meeting the diversity of learners’ needs of other languages identified in the curriculum and beyond.
In Dr. Qi’s view, fostering intercultural understanding and awareness at different levels of engagement can maintain a long-term interest in learning and developing multilingual repertoires in New Zealand.
Over 30 members from the branch attended the presentation.