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Ambassador Wang Lutong attends the opening ceremony of the first Confucius Classroom at the New Zealand's iwi school
2016/03/12

    On March 4, an opening ceremony for the first Confucius Classroom at the New Zealand's iwi school -- Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau Ngati Manawa was held in Murupara. Ambassador Wang Lutong, New Zealand Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell, Gisborne Mayor Meng Liu Foon, Maori educationalist Toby Curtis, Chairman of the Council of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington Tony Browne, School Principal Pembroke Bird and the Education Counsellor from the Chinese Embassy Chen Yue attended the ceremony.

School faculty and students welcomed the guests attending the Confucius Classroom opening ceremony with a Maori Kapa Haka performance

    The faculty and students from Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau Ngati Manawa welcomed the guests with grand traditional Maori ceremony. Ambassador Wang Lutong expressed his warm congratulations on establishing the Confucius Classroom at Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau Ngati Manawa, and expressed his sincere thanks for the support rendered by the wider community. In his speech, Ambassador Wang noted that the establishment of the Confucius Classroom at Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau Ngati Manawa would open the gate for New Zealand Maori to learn about another culture and another market. Language was an effective communication tool, which could assist to deepen the understanding between the two peoples. Currently, almost 40,000 students in New Zealand were learning Chinese. The Chinese language promotion activities carried out by Confucius Institutes, Confucius Classrooms and Chinese teaching assistants in New Zealand had played an active role in further deepening culture exchanges between China and New Zealand.

    Minister Flavell noted that foreign language study would become a valuable asset for the students. Chinese language study enhanced exchanges and communication between Maori and Chinese, and would provide Maori students with a unique skill in an international environment.

China's Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Lutong (right) and Minister of Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell jointly unveiling the plaque for the Confucius Classroom

China's Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Lutong (second from right) discussing how to learn Chinese with students from the school

    Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau Ngati Manawa is located about 100 kilometers southeast of Rotorua, in the North Island of New Zealand, and was New Zealand's first iwi school. The school started teaching Chinese in August 2013, and was the first Maori school offering a Chinese course for all grades (Year 1 to Year 13). The Chinese course should be available for all students at the school by 2019.

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