The 17th Rotorua Inter Schools Chinese Speech Competition (2017)

For the 17th year running, the Rotorua Inter-schools Chinese Speech Competition was successfully held at Toi Ohomoi Institute of Technology on Friday 25th August.  

Run as a project of the Confucius Classroom of Western Heights High School in Rotorua, the competition involved 156 Chinese language learners spanning Years 5 to 13, and hailing from 21 schools in and around Rotorua.  This unique opportunity for the young people of the Bay of Plenty region to showcase an impressive range of language and performing skills was sponsored by Toi Ohomai and the Confucius Institute at the Victoria University of Wellington.  

The competition was emceed by Chinese teacher Laytee George, whose passion for teaching Chinese language has been a key driver for Rotorua becoming a regional hub for the Confucius Institute’s Mandarin Language Assistants (MLA) programme.  The competition was organised into age/school year, native and non-native groups.  Many students used a combination of speech and song to talk about their lives, study, and hopes and dreams for the future.  

At the prize giving ceremony, new Director of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, Rebecca Needham, spoke about the relevance of young New Zealanders building up their China capability, drawing on her own experience of learning Chinese and successful career as a New Zealand diplomat.  She noted that China has never been as important to New Zealand as it is today, and learning Chinese would open up new opportunities for young people in terms of future study, travel and employment.  She encouraged students to stay focussed on their Chinese study so as to be well prepared for the future development of China and New Zealand relationship.

Rotorua is one of the earlier regions which had Chinese programme. This year CI at VUW sent 17 MLAs to assist the Chinese teaching and cultural experience in the region.

(Yezhu Zhao)