Young Chinese learners in New Zealand compete for Chinese proficiency

By Li Huizi


The New Zealand South Island Regional “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition 2020 has been held despite the impact of COVID-19.

This year, contestants were required to submit videos of their prepared speeches as well as talent or art presentation for the judging committee instead of an onsite competition.

Chinese folk songs, paper cutting, instrument performance, folk dance, calligraphy, painting, and martial arts were among a variety of Chinese cultural elements displayed by students in their submitting videos.

The “Chinese Bridge” Chinese proficiency competition for secondary students was hosted annually by the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury. This year, the contest saw 35 entries from middle school students from the South Island.

The topic for the competitors’ speech in Chinese was “Learning Chinese, Creating Bright Future.” Based on this theme, the contestants shared their experiences of learning Chinese, their friendship with Chinese people, and their understanding of Chinese culture.

Wu Chia-rong, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury, said there were more than 50,000 Chinese learners in New Zealand, about 1 percent of the nation’s population.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury is working with more than 100 primary and middle schools in the South Island, offering Chinese teaching lessons to more than 11,000 students, Wu said.

“Several contestants who took part in the Chinese Proficiency Competition last year entered competition this year, and have shown big progress in Chinese learning,” he said.