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New Zealand Chinese Language Week

Chinese lion statue.

Nĭ hăo!

New Zealand Chinese Language Week is being held in 2020 between 20 and 26 September. This events page offers resources and stories to help you and your students get involved in New Zealand Chinese Language Week. Useful links and ideas to support language learning and to explore the Chinese culture are provided.  

About New Zealand Chinese Language Week

Chinese lantern.

New Zealand Chinese Language Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging New Zealanders to discover Chinese language and culture. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken language in the world and the number of people in the world learning Chinese is on the increase. 

In the 2013 Census, the size of the Chinese New Zealander population stood at approximately 171 000. New Zealand Chinese Language Week celebrates the identity, language, and culture of students of Chinese descent,  supporting this group of learners to engage, feel a sense of inclusion, and achieve success. 

Learning a new language gives us insight into new ways of thinking, and into different beliefs and cultural practices. New Zealand Chinese Language Week helps all New Zealanders journey towards shared cultural understandings. 

Curriculum connections

NZC Curriculum icon.

New Zealand Chinese Language Week supports the curriculum principles of cultural diversity and inclusion, and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the vision of connection to a global community. Students can explore the values of diversity, community, and respect. Programmes of learning can help students achieve learning outcomes described in the learning languages area and make use of key competencies, especially using language, symbols and texts, and relating to others.

Great Wall of China.

How can you get involved?

Some ideas for classroom programmes or school-wide activities:

Use your students as teachers
There is a high chance that you will have speakers of Mandarin in your school. Encourage those students to be experts during New Zealand Chinese Language Week, and validate their expertise in front of other students. Support them to speak Mandarin to each other and to others in the class. Invite these students to prepare the language week celebrations for the school, placing an emphasis on shared language experiences.

Make connections to your community
New Zealand Chinese Language Week is an ideal opportunity to engage with families in the school community. Acknowledge expertise, encourage a steady flow of Mandarin speakers into the classroom, and let the community guide the teaching and learning. Family members might like to share their customs and beliefs with the students. They could teach you some Chinese phrases, lead a cooking or dancing lesson, tell traditional stories, bring cultural artifacts from home, or share Chinese songs or games. This is a great way to practise Mandarin, as students can interact with fluent speakers in everyday situations.

Learn and practice a new Chinese phrase each day 
This 2017 video could be used to support your learning. If you teach junior primary students you could watch an episode of Ni Hao, Kai Lan, an interactive animation that teaches young children basic Mandarin language skills. Practice the phrases that Kai Lan introduces to you.

Write Chinese characters
Learn how to write some basic Chinese characters. You could write your name using Chinese characters.

Explore the Chinese zodiac
The Race by Chris Tso explains how the twelve animals that make up the Chinese zodiac came to be chosen and how their order was decided. Use the zodiac calendar to find out your Chinese zodiac sign.

Understand the significance of the dragon
The Chinese dragon is a legendary creature in Chinese folklore that symbolises power, strength, and good luck. Research the significance of the dragon in Chinese culture and create a Chinese dragon puppet or watercolour Chinese dragon.

Get involved in competitions and events
Check out the events page on the New Zealand Chinese Language Week website or Facebook page to see what’s on near you. 

Instructional series

Another great way to get your students involved in New Zealand Chinese Language Week is to incorporate it into your reading and writing programme. The Instructional Series offers a range of texts about China. Here is a selection of titles: 

Leaves poem.

Leaves, School Journal Level 4 May 2020
This poem explores the relationship between the poet and her grandmother who was a refugee from China following the Cultural Revolution.

The Race, School Journal Level 2, 2017
In this play, Chris Tse retells a traditional Chinese story about how the twelve animals that make up the Chinese zodiac came to be chosen and how their order was decided. 

Chang-O and the Moon, Junior Journal 56, Level 2, 2018
A traditional Chinese tale that explains the phenomenon of the “goddess in the moon”. 

Chinese New Zealanders, School Journal Level 4, November 2019
"Chinese New Zealanders" provides an overview of migration to Aotearoa New Zealand from the 1860s until the present day. 

Bok Choy, School Journal Story Library, 2015
This seemingly simple historical story carries an important message about discrimination. It is set in a goldmining town in Otago during the 1860s gold rush. 

Useful resources

Hao! An introduction to Modern Standard Chinese
This is an introductory resource to support teaching and learning of Chinese. It aligns with curriculum levels 1 and 2 for learning languages. This resource is available to New Zealand schools free of charge.

New Zealand Chinese Language Week primary guide
This guide and associated resources have been specifically written to support New Zealand primary and intermediate schools to celebrate New Zealand Chinese Language Week.

New Zealand Chinese Language Week secondary guide
This guide and associated resources have been specifically written to support New Zealand secondary schools to celebrate New Zealand Chinese Language Week.

Asia New Zealand education resources
This selection of resources about China have been developed in partnership with New Zealand teachers for use in New Zealand schools.

The Confucius Institute – Chinese in schools 
The Confucius Institutes in New Zealand support schools to offer Mandarin language and culture classes. This support includes advice, introductory programmes, professional development, principal delegations to China, and Mandarin language assistants. 

Asia Knowledge
Asia knowledge is a priority in the New Zealand Curriculum and therefore has official status as a context for integrated learning and as a context for the future-focused themes. This website is designed to help schools with the process of school curriculum design.

Learning Languages on TKI
The Learning Languages community on TKI is a portal to professional learning opportunities and support for the learning languages area of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Have you seen?

Early start on Mandarin opens doors to wider world
This Education Gazette article explains how New Lynn Primary students are studying Mandarin language and Chinese culture as part of an approach to celebrate and normalise diversity.

Asia Aware – Why Asia matters to New Zealand
This 2009 report by the Asia New Zealand Foundation highlights the importance of building strong links with the Asia region and explores the role that education can play in this.

Do you have a story to share about New Zealand Chinese Language Week or Asia awareness?

  • How do you include Asia awareness in your school curriculum?
  • What projects have your students been involved in?

We would love to hear from you. Drop us a line at nzcurriculum@tki.org.nz. We will publish the best teaching and learning ideas on this resource page.

Updated on: 15 Jun 2020


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