AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- With lion dance, Chinese Kongfu, Chinese crosstalk, songs and dances, and award-winning speeches, students from across New Zealand showcased their Chinese language proficiency in the annual "Chinese Bridge" event held on Saturday.
Fifteen secondary school students and two primary school students participated in the event, which was organized by the Confucius Institute in Auckland.
Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong said in his opening remarks that he hopes there will be more New Zealand youth to join the China-New Zealand language and cultural exchange community and become ambassadors of friendship between the people of the two countries.
Saturday's event was a prelude to the New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2022, which runs from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
"We set up the New Zealand Chinese Language Week essentially as another way to try to bridge the cultural gap between New Zealand and China," said Jo Coughlan, chairperson of the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Trust.
Naisi Chen, a New Zealand member of parliament, reflected on her own experience of learning Chinese in her remarks.
"I came to New Zealand at five. I had very patient Chinese teachers and passed the Chinese language tests. The capability to speak Chinese grounded me well in my Chinese culture. I am looking forward to hearing from bilingual talents who will help New Zealand become more diverse and promote bilateral exchanges," said Chen.
Elijah Grieve from the Lincoln High School started learning Chinese when he was eleven. It was his fifth time participating in the "Chinese Bridge". He said he wished to visit China, "the Great Wall in Beijing, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai and the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan. I wish the friendship between China and New Zealand last forever."
Ryan Mansbridge-Croy from the Christchurch Boy's High School said that learning Chinese provides him more opportunities for future career development. "It is awesome that learning Chinese could allow me to make friends with 1.4 billion people," said Mansbridge-Croy.
Chinese Ambassador's Trophy winner Colden Sapir from ACG Parnell College said that learning Chinese has opened a new door for him.
"From learning Chinese, I started to understand the meaning of filial piety. It makes me closer to my parents. I learned Chinese very hard and wished the friendship between New Zealand and China makes further progress," said Sapir.