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New Zealand China Council
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Welcome the Mandarin Language Assistants to Auckland

February 10, 2017

10 FEBRUARY 2017

NiMen Hao, Yuan Xiao Jie KuaiLe!HuanYing LaiDao XinXiLan !

It is a pleasure for me to join with you today in welcoming the Mandarin Language Assistants to Auckland.

The New Zealand China Council is pleased to support the Auckland Confucius Institute which plays an important role in building deeper relations between New Zealand and China.

China is an ancient country with a large population. New Zealand is a young country with a small population.

But both of us are working more closely together than ever before. China is already New Zealand’s top trade partner. More Chinese are visiting New Zealand. And more New Zealanders want to learn about China, its language and culture.

I know that you Language Assistants have been through a rigorous selection process. Congratulations to you all on being selected for this important role!

You have the knowledge and the skills to help New Zealanders connect with their Chinese friends.

You will be cultural Ambassadors for your great country in New Zealand.

This week almost 300,000 secondary school students returned to school after the long summer holiday.

Of those, only around two percent will learn Chinese during the year.

But China takes 20 percent of our exports.

Just imagine if these numbers matched!

If we want to extract the full value from our expanding relationship with China, we need more Mandarin speakers.

School is the best place to start and that’s why the 144 Mandarin Language Assistants working in classrooms across New Zealand are so important.

For students here in Auckland and all over the country, this is a valuable opportunity to build the China literacy that will open doors to so many jobs over the next few decades.

I am sure you Language Assistants will enjoy your time in New Zealand.

We have a beautiful country, with unmatched scenery and friendly, open-hearted people.

Please take the time to learn more about our country so you can be our cultural Ambassadors when you return home!

Thank you for the important work you will be doing and our thanks also to the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Government for all the work that is done to make this valuable cultural and educational exchange possible.

Xie xie.

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