WELLINGTON, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand has started to celebrate its annual Chinese Language Week, with language learning and cultural events held nationwide to bridge the cultural and linguistic knowledge gap between China and New Zealand by delivering fun and practical initiatives that assist Kiwis to learn Chinese.
"In an increasingly diverse society like New Zealand, learning a language shows respect for culture and a commitment to inclusion," New Zealand China Council Chair John McKinnon said on Tuesday.
New Zealand is an increasingly multicultural society, and in many cases, new Kiwis have a mother tongue that is not one of New Zealand's three recognized languages, McKinnon said.
These new Kiwis often wish to ensure their children maintain this linguistic heritage, so "a wide range of languages are taught formally or informally, in local communities and at home," McKinnon said, adding that this of course includes many families with Chinese-speaking backgrounds.
A variety of cultural activities such as learning the Chinese language and Chinese Kungfu, enjoying Chinese folk music, experiencing Chinese cuisine, Chinese calligraphy workshops, and Chinese lion dance performances, will be held this week across New Zealand.
New Zealand Chinese Language Week is a Kiwi-driven initiative launched in 2014. It is another language week held in New Zealand after Maori Language Week and Pacific Island Language Week.
The number of primary and secondary school students in New Zealand learning Chinese was nearly 70,000 before the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 400 primary and secondary schools offering Chinese courses, according to New Zealand's Ministry of Education. ■