27 Sept 2022
New Zealand Chinese Language Week is being held again this year, for the lucky eighth time.
A celebration of Chinese language and culture, New Zealand Chinese Language Week was originally set up to encourage New Zealanders to study Mandarin Chinese at school or university.
"But over time, that has evolved to a wider celebration of Chinese language and culture," says New Zealand Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust chair Jo Coughlan.
“New Zealand has a diverse and vibrant society, and language weeks such as New Zealand Chinese Language Week help us express that."
New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2022 is running from Sunday, September 25, to Saturday, October 1. Jo says this year's theme is 'Sharing our Stories'.
"It’s been 180 years since the first Chinese migrant to New Zealand was officially registered, and there are lots of stories to share in that time.”
The New Zealand Chinese Language Week website is live now, with lots of resources for people looking to take part in the week.
"At www.nzclw.com you can find useful phrases to practise, a guide to events on around the country, and videos of support from leaders such as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and mayors around the country," says Jo.
Also listed are this year’s 13 Mandarin Superstars – people who are sharing their experiences with learning Chinese and encouraging other New Zealanders to have a go.
Jo says other organisations, both private sector and public sector, are also marking the week.
"Some have resources that are available all year round, such as the Department of Conservation, which has an app in Mandarin to help visitors to Auckland identify plants and animals there."
Te Papa, the national museum based in Wellington, also has a great archive of stories about language and culture from Chinese migrants and their families: /www.tepapa.govt.nz/discover-collections/read-watch-play/chinese-languages-aotearoa
Jo says there are many languages within China, but New Zealand Chinese Language Week focuses on Mandarin.
“This is the language taught in New Zealand schools and universities, and our purpose is to encourage New Zealanders to learn Chinese, so we concentrate on the language taught in our education institutions.”