CIUC Opened the Eighth Confucius Classroom in the South Island at the Otago Girls’ High School in Dunedin
Above photo: From left: Ms Jiang Jin, Deputy Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury, Adam Lam, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury, Chris Durrant, HOD of Otago Girls High School, Zhai Jianjun, Chinese Education Consul in Christchurch, Dave Cull, Mayor of Dunedin and Linda Miller, Principal of Otago Girls High School.
On 21 June, the eighth Confucius Classroom in the South Island was opened by the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury (CIUC) at Otago Girls’ High School in Dunedin, New Zealand. People present included the Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull, the Education Consul of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Christchurch, Zhai Jianjun, the Principal of Otago Girls’ High School Linda Miller, CIUC Director Adam Lam and Deputy Director Jing Jiang. All of the teachers and students who were learning Mandarin and staff from the language department attended the ceremony.
The ceremony began with a special Wairua Puhou, which was presented by the OGHS students and teacher to extend their warm welcome to the guest.
After that, the Principal Ms Miller delivered a welcome speech. She said that OGHS has established a close relationship with China since she visited China on a CIUC Principals’ Delegation four years ago and since then, Mandarin has been taught as the seventh foreign language in the school. She also expressed her gratitude for the support from the Confucius Institute and the MLA program, which has enabled an increasing number of the schools giving their students the opportunity to learn Mandarin and understand Chinese culture. At the end of her speech, Ms Miller promised that the school would continue to encourage more students to learn Mandarin.
Education Consul ZHAI Jianjun congratulated the school on the opening of the Confucius Classroom on behalf of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Christchurch. He welcomed OGHS to become a member of a big family with over 500 Confucius Institutes and over 1,000 Confucius Classrooms across the globe. He also commented that China and New Zealand have built a long lasting friendship, and the cooperation in education between the two countries would further enhance the understanding and friendship between the two peoples. He said the Chinese government would continue to provide strong support to the leaning and teaching of Chinese language in New Zealand.
His Hon Mayor Dave Cull looked back on the historical connections between Dunedin and China. He said the first settlers from China came to Dunedin during the Gold Rush in 1860s and in 1994, Dunedin established a sister city relationship with Shanghai. The links of the two cities provide a great opportunity for a people-to-people exchanges; therefore, young people need to seize the opportunity to learn more about China and its people.
CIUC Director Adam Lam showed his appreciation to staff and students at OGHS for their weeks of preparation and hard work for this lovely opening ceremony. He said that learning Mandarin is not only useful for future job opportunities, but also good for a challenge of oneself. He encouraged more students to learn Mandarin and overcome all the difficulties they faced in learning the language.
After the speeches, two students from Year 12 sang a Chinese pop song “Little Luck”. Their fluent Chinese impressed the audience.
Year 10 student Jessica, a Chinese New Zealander, shared with the audience the reason why she wanted to learn Chinese. Her parents originally came from Taishan, China, she would like to learn more about her origin and the language that her parents speak.
Three girls from Year 12 presented an old poem, and then Year 10 students performed a popular Chinese dance to “Little Apple”. They made the audiences laugh.
CIUC Martial Arts instructor Kezhong Sun performed Traditional Chinese Kong Fu and Tai Chi on the stage, which made the audience sit on the edge of their chairs.
After the performance, Dave Cull unveiled the plaque of Confucius Classroom, symbolising the official opening of the classroom, which is the second Confucius Classroom in Dunedin.