On Sunday 8th August, the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury had the privilege of hosting the 14th Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition for New Zealand Secondary School Students.
15 Junior and 19 Senior students joined either in person or via Zoom from around the country to each deliver an outstanding speech and display their (pre-recorded) talents.
Associate Professor Kevin Watson, Acting PVC and Dean of the College of Arts and Chair of the CIUC board, delivered the welcome speech.
CIUC Director Chia-rong Wu served as the MC of the competition to set the stage for our honourable speakers: Associate Professor Kevin Watson, Acting PVC and Dean of the College of Arts and Chair of the CIUC Board, Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner, Consul General Zhijian Wang of the Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch and Zhixue Dong, Education Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand.
Making comment on the difficulties arising with continued boarder restrictions, all speakers continued to highlight the benefits of exchanges between China and New Zealand, with Zhixue Dong carrying on to mention that despite a reduced number of Mandarin Language Assistants able to enter the country to help with the teaching of local Chinese language programmes, the quality of contestants remained very high.
Although a wintry day in Christchurch, the rain and icy wind seemed to do little to dispel the enthusiasm of contestants.
The theme this year, “Fly high with Chinese”, gave students the chance to passionately share their experiences of learning Chinese, talking about new-found friendships, and a greater love and understanding of Chinese culture.
One student, Henry Underhill from the Senior Division even mentioning that he feels lucky to be learning Chinese, as this can help to build a bridge between Chinese and New Zealand culture.
Izabella Green, a contestant in the Junior Division delivers her speech
In the middle of each section, speeches were momentarily stopped for a brief video compilation of all student’s talent videos.
The talent displayed was inspiring, with a number of fantastic performances of calligraphy, moving folk dance, musical renditions, songs and cooking demonstrations amongst others.
In the end, Zhen Ng from the Junior Division and Makaleb Ualesi from the Senior Division won the Best Talent Awards for their display of noodle making and musical talents respectively.
For the Senior Division students were also asked to undertake a brief Q and A at the completion of their speech.
Here CIUC Chinese Teacher Huijuan Hu delivered each student a based on the content of their speech, allowing judges to better examine the student’s competency levels in Chinese.
Judges for the Junior Division were Grace Qi (Lecturer in Chinese Studies from the School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication at Massey University, Auckland Campus), Huijuan Hu (CIUC Chinese Teacher) and Tianshu Dong (Chinese Teacher from School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication at Massey University).
Judges for the Senior Division involved Hui Yang (Chinese Director of CI at University of the South Pacific, Fiji), Limin Bai (Senior Lecturer from the School of Languages and Cultures in University of Victoria, Wellington) and Nancy Chu (Lecturer in the Chinese Programme at University of Canterbury).
Group photo of the contestants and their family and teachers
Congratulations to all students involved in Sunday’s competition. The level of ability and performance displayed from everyone was fantastic and CIUC was thrilled to host such a wonderful event.
The results from the competition will be announced by the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury on August 10.
Writer: Kate Maxwell, CIUC Project Coordinator.