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Juggling pancakes, dumplings, English and Mandarin: maintaining Chinese culture in New Zealand

Sophie Trigger

22 Sept 2020

Steamed custard buns, pancakes, red bean soup and butter chicken are among the favourite foods of a Marlborough Kiwi-Chinese family.

They might play with New Zealand sheep and eat pasta for dinner, but Marlborough woman Mandy Li ensures her three boys are proud of their Chinese roots.

Originally from Tianjin, China, Li had been in New Zealand for 20 years and worked as a Mandarin and Chinese cooking teacher.

Her eldest son Daniel Li-Wilkes, 9, was particularly keen to speak his native tongue and often asked if they could visit China again so he could practice.

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