New Zealand Chinese Language Week

Strengthening the ties between New Zealand and China


New Zealand Chinese Language Week (NZCLW) is a Kiwi-driven initiative that aims to increase Chinese language learning in New Zealand. The initiative is the first of its kind in any Western country and emerged in the context of a rapidly strengthening relationship between New Zealand and China.

NZCLW seeks to bridge the cultural and linguistic knowledge gap between China and New Zealand by delivering fun and practical initiatives that assist Kiwis to learn Chinese.

NZCLW was officially launched by Raymond Huo as a sitting Member of Parliament and Jo Coughlan on 24 May 2014 at the National Conference of the New Zealand China Friendship Society.

Silvereye Communications has been chosen to project manage this initiative since 2015. The 2018 event ran from 23-29 September. As well as looking after the operational side of the project, Silvereye brought on-board high-level advocates, partners and sponsors to ensure the credibility and sustainability of the project. A media strategy across traditional and social channels was devised that ensured positive coverage in the build-up and during the week-long event.


The fourth New Zealand Chinese Language Week achieved its key deliverables and delivered great engagement with audiences, increasing our reach significantly and building successfully on previous events.

The key new focuses for this year were driving a conversation on the benefits and opportunities to learn Chinese, driving awareness of the China NZ Year of Tourism, engaging more young people in learning Chinese, and building awareness in government of the benefits of engagement with Chinese language and culture.

This year the Silvereye team created a new and engaging website that provides a one-stop shop for learning Chinese in NZ.

Social media including FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube allowed for further promotion.


We were so delighted to see New Zealand really get behind the Week, with more than 100 events held across the country this year (more than double the number of events in 2017), and fantastic engagement via social media.

Creating a ‘five days five phrases’ challenge video proved extremely popular, and we received video messages of support from politicians up and down the country, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Even Tomeke the police dog got in the act, learning a few commands in Chinese from his handler.

Chinese Ambassador Ms Wu Xi joined and celebrated NZCLW 2018 as a special guest at the Te Papa’s stakeholder event.

The Stakeholder Event at Te Papa had special guests including the Chinese Ambassador Ms Wu Xi,

NZ Chinese Language Week Trust Co-Chair MP Raymond Huo achieved a first – reading the parliamentary prayer in Mandarin.

Media analysis showed between 15 Aug 2018 and 25 Oct 2018 an audience of 857,837 people was reached.

And we have five New Zealanders excitedly preparing for a trip to the Chinese city of Guangzhou in December, thanks to a competition with China Southern Airlines.

What did you do for NZ Chinese Language Week? Do you have any ideas for next year?


Driving a conversation on the benefits and accessibility of learning Chinese

  • Increased social media presence through the 5 days 5 phrases challenge and Mandarin Superstars. There were 11 Mandarin Superstars ranging from the NZ Film Commission to councils to students reaching a broad range of audiences. #5days5phrases proved successful with organic posting organisations that joined the challenge without prompting including: Wanaka and Queenstown Airports, Drowning Prevention Akl, and Adventure Smart NZ.
  • Engaging traditional media, especially regional media to engage people outside the main centres.
  • Building sponsorship and partnerships across sectors.
  • Creating a new and engaging website that provides a one-stop shop for learning Chinese in NZ.

Building awareness within Government about the benefits of learning Chinese

  • Bringing in tourism partners like the Maori Tourism Board, Auckland and Christchurch airports, China Southern, and Tourism Holdings.
  • Working closely with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Year of Tourism team to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Tourism brochure created as a timeless resource for business and tourism operators to engage with their customers. We are seeking to build on this product in 2019.

Engaging young New Zealanders to learn Chinese

  • Publishing William’s Waitangi Day – bilingual children’s book written and illustrated by New Zealanders. The book tells the story of a young Chinese boy learning about Waitangi Day at school. An important message of the importance of learning about different cultures.
  • China Southern sponsored a competition for 5 people to travel to Guangzhou to learn more about Chinese language and culture. The competition was aimed people between 19 – 25 years old as we identified this as a key audience that other Week activities were not reaching.
  • With the assistance of the Asia NZ Foundation, we distributed poster packs of the  of 5 Day 5 Phrases challenge to over 600 schools.
  • We followed this engagement up with targeted online engagement via a newsletter and social media.

Building awareness within Government about the benefits of learning Chinese

  • For the first time in the history of the NZ Parliament, Chinese was spoken formally in the Chamber when Raymond Huo MP read the Parliamentary Prayer in Chinese.
  • We hosted a stakeholder function with Her Excellency Ms. Wu Xi Ambassador to New Zealand amongst other distinguished guests.
  • Number of politicians engaged with the Week, including the Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition, and the Minister for Tourism participating on social media.
  • The September issue of the Education Gazette (which is a Ministry of Education publication that goes to all schools) featured the benefits and resources for schools in learning Chinese.
  • A number of government departments like Customs and Police participated in the Week through social media and activities.