Sat, 02 Dec 2023

New Zealanders mark Chinese Immersion Day

24 Sep 2023, 22:05 GMT+10

WELLINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Immersion Day was marked in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Sunday, with the local library receiving donations of Chinese books.

The Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch gave children's books in Chinese and books about traditional Chinese culture to the central city library, as part of the nationwide celebration of the New Zealand Chinese Language Week which ended on Sunday.

Consul General He Ying told the donation ceremony that the annual book donation started more than four years ago, and these books are widely welcomed by the Chinese community and Kiwis.

The donated books have been wonderful gifts for the community to enjoy, and the city libraries need diverse language books as part of a wide range of books offered, said a statement from the library.

On Chinese Immersion Day, an extravaganza of traditional Chinese music and Lion Dance was staged, followed by various Chinese language and culture activities, such as calligraphy, paper cutting, Chinese knots making, Chinese painting, tea art, fun language workshops and games.

He Ying said after the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese language education has been in full swing across New Zealand, and that the Chinese Language Week attracted numerous participants from the city and all across the country.

Chinese Language Week is a Kiwi-driven initiative launched in 2014 after the Maori Language Week and the Pacific Language Week.

Its annual celebrations boast language learning and cultural events, which are held nationwide to bridge the cultural and linguistic knowledge gap between China and New Zealand, delivering fun and practical initiatives that assist Kiwis in learning Chinese.

"In an increasingly diverse society like New Zealand, learning a language shows respect for culture and a commitment to inclusion," said New Zealand China Council Chair John McKinnon earlier this week.

New Zealand is an increasingly multicultural society, and "a wide range of languages are taught formally or informally, in local communities and at home," McKinnon said, adding that this includes many families with Chinese-speaking backgrounds.

New Zealand has more than 260,000 people of Chinese origin. The number of primary and secondary school students in New Zealand learning Chinese was nearly 70,000 before the pandemic, with more than 400 primary and secondary schools offering Chinese courses, according to New Zealand's Ministry of Education.

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