Kaitao Middle School hosted a group of new Mandarin language assistants from around the North Island last week.

They were on their orientation programme where they visit schools that previously had assistants to see how things worked.

Kaitao Middle Schools Mandarin language assistant Xiao Liu said the school had a long history of teaching Chinese.

"I enjoy schools in New Zealand ... I like to be able to teach," she said.


The language assistants are all new graduates from Victoria University's Confucius Institute.

Confucius Institute deputy director Xiaoqing Yang said they had 48 graduates this year and it was good to be able to bring some of them to schools such as Kaitao Middle School because it helped them learn. Kaitao Middle School has been teaching Chinese since 1998 and principal Rory O'Rourke said it was an integral part of the school's protocol.

"We have nine teachers that are teaching Chinese here this year and I applied to Think New, New Zealand Education, to go to China to enter into a partnership with a Chinese middle school."

Mr O'Rourke was granted funding by the Ministry of Education to go to China in April to sign a memorandum of understanding with Honggutan Middle School, which will then become a sister school for Kaitao Middle School.

He will then join a group of 19 principals from New Zealand for two weeks travelling around a number places to learn about Chinese culture.

The sister schools will be able to set up mutual exchanges, study programmes for students, homestay arrangements and staff development opportunities in language, sports, music and culture.

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