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Mandarin language assistants welcomed

China General Interest

Forty eight Mandarin Language Assistants were officially welcomed to New Zealand during a visit to Parliament.
The graduates, from 16 Chinese universities, will spend the year assisting teachers of Mandarin in 112 schools. They are in Wellington for an orientation week run by Victoria University’s Confucius Institute.

“Having the assistants in our classrooms gives students and teachers the opportunity to engage with young Mandarin speakers, providing real insight into the language and culture,” says Education Minister Hekia Parata.
“Mandarin Language Assistants have helped to inspire students and supported teachers to produce excellent learning resources since 2010.

“This first-hand inter-cultural experience is an essential part of preparing young New Zealanders for a future in which China is a major trading partner.”

The group’s members will assist schools in Wellington, the Hutt Valley, the Wairarapa, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Napier, Rotorua, Murupara, Reporoa, Tokoroa, Tauranga, Whakatane, Kawerau and Opotiki.

About 128 Mandarin Language Assistants are currently working in New Zealand primary, intermediate and secondary schools as part of a programme run by the country’s three Confucius Institutes, with support from the Ministry of Education.

Under the New Zealand – China Free Trade Agreement, up to 150 Mandarin Language Assistants are able to temporarily work in New Zealand.