As the Year of the Ox nears, a group of adult students are diligently practising their calligraphy skills under the watchful eye of Jin Jun Chi.
They refer to him as Mr Chi or the Master as they practise their strokes on special practice pads.
Their goal is to write couplets on red and gold embossed paper to hang on their doors to welcome the Chinese New Year.
The decorations wish everyone happiness and good fortune and families can write special wishes they hope will come true.
Each Saturday afternoon during January, the Palmerston North Chinese School has been running calligraphy classes at City Library.
Jia Yi Lu, Hank Yuan, Jie Kuang and Mr Chi (with his students interpreting) explained to the Guardian Chinese calligraphy and the role of couplets in the new year decorations.
Mr Chi taught himself calligraphy and for him it is a hobby, but his students believe his skills go beyond a hobbyist. In China, he was a television journalist.
Traditionally, ashes from the smoke of a burning pine tree are used in the calligraphy ink.
In Chinese culture, evergreen pines symbolise long life.
Red paper is used for the decorations, as in Chinese culture red is associated with being able to scare away the monster Nian.
The finished decoration the four showed the Guardian has a dragon and a phoenix embossed pattern on the paper – the creatures are symbols for good fortune.
The top of the decoration expresses best wishes for the new year, while the two panels below are couplets - each word matches the one opposite in parts of speech eg noun to noun.
The right-hand panel says the golden ox is back with the spring and the world becomes green. The left-hand panel says the red sun is shining, delivering colours and sunshine to your house.
Mr Chi and his adult students are all originally from China and want to pass on their heritage to young people.
"We don't want our children to lose their culture," Hank says.
Every person in the world needs to know where they are from and keeping ancestors' cultural traditions alive as a sign of respect, he says.
Mr Chi will hold a workshop at the Lunar New Year Festival on February 13 in The Square.
People will be able to take good fortune words home with them.
Jia Yi has been involved with the Palmerston North Chinese School for 14 years. It has 80 children spread over eight language classes. There are also children's folk dance classes.
Another Chinese calligraphy class will be held on Saturday, 2.30pm at City Library.