A ceremony on the Wellington waterfront on Saturday 27 September, with guests including Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Chinese ambassador His Excellency Ambassador Wang Lutong, will officially mark this important occasion, with free activities for the general public to be held between 11am and 3pm.
“We invite everybody to come along and enjoy the day with us,” says Wen Chin Powles, Acting Director of the Confucius Institute based at Victoria. “In particular, it will be a lot of fun for children—we will have a special children’s corner set up with games, calligraphy and painting, among other things.”
The day will also mark the beginning of a month of Chinese cultural events hosted by the Institute, including a Chinese opera, concerts curated by Jack Body in association with Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music and a poetry evening celebrating spring with seasonally-inspired poetry read in both Chinese and English.
The Wellington-based Confucius Institute was established at Victoria four years ago, with a focus on promoting Chinese language teaching in schools and the community, as well as establishing a Chinese cultural programme. The Institute currently sponsors 21 Mandarin Language Assistants and three Chinese teachers in Wellington, Palmerston North and Waiariki. Together they support Chinese language programmes in schools around the lower North Island, and there are plans to increase their number in the near future.
“China is becoming more influential internationally, in terms of its economy and its rising status as a superpower,” says Ms Powles. “It makes sense for New Zealand young people, particularly students, to become more familiar with China and its people by gaining a much greater understanding of the language and culture.”
The Confucius Institute Day will be celebrated by nearly 400 Confucius Institutes in 120 countries internationally.
For details of the upcoming programme visit www.victoria.ac.nz/ci/arts-and-culture/confucius-institute-day