Stu­dents shar­ing in­sights into Kiwi spirit and cul­ture

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - LIU CHEN

Twelve pupils of Mis­sion Heights Ju­nior Col­lege in Flat Bush are ex­cited about be­com­ing pub­lished au­thors.

Their ar­ti­cles are in­cluded in Fly­ing Ki­wis, a book in English and Man­darin Chi­nese lan­guages fea­tur­ing es­says writ­ten by New Zealand school chil­dren that cel­e­brate Kiwi iden­tity.

Their works are among 51 pieces se­lected by the NZ Chi­nese Lan­guage Week Trust, which put out a call ear­lier this year ask­ing in­ter­me­di­ate and se­condary school stu­dents to talk about their cul­tural per­spec­tives.

Orig­i­nally writ­ten in English, the ar­ti­cles have been trans­lated into Chi­nese by a team of trans­la­tors or­gan­ised by the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute in Auck­land, and pub­lished as a book by China’s Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Press af­ter be­ing edited in both coun­tries.

It was launched in Welling­ton and Auck­land as part of NZ Chi­nese Lan­guage Week events, which ran un­til Oc­to­ber 22.

‘‘The book came from a de­sire to pro­mote cul­tural un­der­stand­ing by high­light­ing NZ cul­tural val­ues through the eyes of Kiwi kids,’’ the trust’s co-chair Ray- mond Huo says.

The young East Auck­lan­ders have writ­ten about sports, school and fam­ily life, the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, as well as lo­cal myths and leg­ends with their unique dy­namic lan­guages.

Year 8 stu­dent Jor­dan Wadsworth writes about Ngaru­awahia, a town in north Waikato, and says ‘‘it feels cool’’ to have his es­say pub­lished over­seas.

‘‘It [Ngaru­awahia] has many na­tive an­i­mals, peo­ple, and rit­u­als con­cern­ing the NZ Maori cul­ture.

‘‘Our Kiwi iden­tity is very strong, we need to keep it to our hearts.’’

Another Year 8 stu­dent Crys­tal Su talks about her school life, such as class­room set-up, hol­i­days and cul­tural fes­ti­vals.

‘‘We’re very di­verse. You’re def­i­nitely get­ting dif­fer­ent cul­tures no mat­ter in what schools in NZ.

‘‘I think that Kiwi iden­tity is like we’re just very open to dif­fer-

‘‘Our Kiwi iden­tity is very strong, we need to keep it to our hearts.’’

ent things.’’

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the writ­ing event ‘‘makes the learn­ing more au­then­tic and pur­pose­ful’’ for the pupils, Mis­sion Heights Ju­nior Col­lege’s teacher of Man­darin and global stud­ies Juliet Gao says.

‘‘They’ve re­ally done some deep re­search about what they are go­ing to write about NZ, and makes them un­der­stand NZ more.’’

Prin­ci­pal Ian Morrison is pleased many stu­dents have been able to take part and says hav­ing their ar­ti­cles pub­lished is a great achieve­ment for them.

‘‘Our school is a very di­verse com­mu­nity and rep­re­sents a very di­verse com­mu­nity. We em­brace and cel­e­brate all dif­fer­ent cul­tural iden­ti­ties,’’ he says.

‘‘It [the book] just helps ev­ery­body to feel that we’re all part of the same planet and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.’’

Au­thors from Mis­sion Heights Ju­nior Col­lege are Year 8 pupils Jor­dan Wadsworth, Crys­tal Su, Gur­sim­ran Kaur Rand­hawa, Andrew Ma, Elsa McCormick, Ezekiel Ng Shiu, John Ken­neth As­tadan, Kabir Sikh, Ruby Tasmania and Willy Lan, and Year 10 stu­dents Me­gan Stry­dom and Siya Ku­mar. For more in­for­ma­tion about the book, email the NZ Chi­nese Lan­guage Week Trust at sylvie@sil­


Mis­sion Heights Ju­nior Col­lege au­thors pub­lished in the bilin­gual book Fly­ing Ki­wis: Kabir Sikh, John Ken­neth As­tadan, Jor­dan Wadsworth, Ruby Tasmania, Gur­sim­ran Kaur Rand­hawa, Ezekiel Ng Shiu and Crys­tal Su.

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