Patea celebrates Chinese culture with festival

[Source] [Time]    2017-08-24 15:26:43 

Patea Area School principal Nicola Ngarewa and the school's Mandarin Language Assistant Xiwen Hu.

The town known for its Maori club and hit song Poi E has recently introduced another culture.

Patea Area School is the first school in Taranaki to have a Mandarin Language Assistant (MLA) teacher and host a Chinese Festival, which took place Friday last week.

Principal Nicola Ngarewa said they invited the community to the festival to celebrate the Chinese culture and language.

Patea Area School students learnt kung fu from a MLA at their Chinese Festival.

Whenuakura School students had fun posing next to the green screen, or you could say, the Great Wall of China.

We've got a commitment to making sure our kids are globally connected," Ngarewa said.

Anil Singh, the school's home economics teacher, cooked the student's dumpings.

"We were having a good taster course of all the different things. The courses were run by other MLA from around New Zealand who are here for the year also."

The community, students from Whenuakura School, Kakaramea School, and St Joseph's School Patea joined Patea Area School for the festival.

Kakaramea School students painted Beijing opera face masks.

They took part in six different activities: Beijing opera face painting, documentary and footage, paper cutting, Chinese kung fu, Chinese bracelet making, and dumpling making.

"Effectively what we've done is a whole range of the different arts and crafts and opportunities from the language to cooking to arts and crafts to sporting stuff," Ngarewa said.

Ronan Hurley and Lani Hurley were the only students of Kakaramea School to finish painting their Beijing opera masks.

She said the idea behind most of the activities was that the community had something to take home.

The festival idea came from the school's MLA teacher Xiwen Hu with the help of the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Victoria University Confucius Institute.

Deijahna Wiki-Thompson made a Chinese bracelet at her school's Chinese Festival.

Sean O'Connor, educators network manager for the Asia New Zealand Foundation, said it helped fund the festival as its goal is to equip New Zealanders to thrive in Asia

"Our research has shown us that basically New Zealand's future is socially, economically and culturally very closely linked to Asia," O'Connor said.

"That's a driver behind what we do."

O'Connor said they had seen an increase in schools applying for funding to host events like this.

Jahstin Eru-Werehi of Patea Area School got help from a MLA to make his Chinese bracelet.

Patricia Roche is a programme co-ordinator for MLAs at the Confucius Institute at Victoria University.

She helped Hu when she was organising the festival by giving her contacts of other MLAs in central New Zealand.

Hu came to New Zealand through the Confucius Institute.

"The MLAs apply in China and they can go to a range of countries," Roche said. "We go over and interview them and we choose who we want to come to New Zealand."

The MLAs are then placed in primary schools and secondary schools all over the country.



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