Twenty-eight Whanganui High School students are about to find out what life as part of a Chinese family is really like.
The Year 9 to 13 students left for China on Saturday to visit sister school students. They are accompanied by International Dean Lee Su’a, Chinese teacher Beck Ding and Kapa Haka teacher Lynaire Simon.
“Whanganui High School is one of 10 schools in New Zealand that won funding from Education New Zealand towards visiting their sister schools in China,” Whanganui High School Director of International Students Alexandra Ferretti said. “With this prize, Whanganui High School will be able to meet some of the Xuzhou students who have visited Whanganui and see what real life in a Chinese family is all about. Our students will stay in a homestay with a buddy, get to have a look around Xuzhou and gain insight into Chinese culture.
“This will be the first time some of these young people have been on a trip like this.” The group will travel to Xiamen, Beijing and Xuzhou. Whanganui High School hosts about 30 students from Xuzhou every year. Su’a said members of the school’s Kia Whaiora group would give performances in poi, haka and waiata.
“It will be very special because the waiata was written by [the late] Morvin Simon,” Su’a said. “We have connections with the different places we are going to through our Confucius Classroom. It’s very exciting for me to meet up with past students from China who we will see over there.” The group returns on October 9, with a trip to Disneyland, Shanghai, marking the end of the trip.
New Zealand Chinese Language Week began yesterday, promoting the benefits and opportunities of learning more about Chinese language and culture. The theme is tourism ahead of next year’s China New Zealand Year of Tourism.
According to Ministry of Education statistics, in 2017 64,874 primary-age students and 5820 secondary-age students were learning Chinese. This is 8 per cent of the total number of students in New Zealand and the drop-off at secondary school indicates that students do not realise the benefits of learning the language.