A Rotorua Boys' High School student's passion for learning Chinese has brought him national recognition.

Mohammad (Sameed) Khan won the junior category at the 2017 New Zealand National "Chinese Bridge" Speech Competition hosted by the Confucius Institute at Victoria University in Wellington.

It was the first time Rotorua Boys' High School had won the junior section at a national level.

Sameed's winning speech was about learning the Chinese language.


"It's like learning three aspects at once. You're learning the pronunciation, a new term 'Pingyin' which is basically how you read the characters but written in English. Then the characters itself.

"At the actual competition, the other students were extremely fluent. They were speaking so fast, I couldn't understand most of what they were saying. I'm not the most fluent but I do try and get my tones right so I think that helped. I didn't expect to win it."

The Year 10 student said he would love to one day live in China.

"I want to visit China when I'm older. My dad's been there. I want to stay there for a year or two and enjoy a new culture."

Rotorua Boys' High School teacher of Chinese, Wendy Chen, said Sameed's dedication to learn the language had paid off.

"He believes learning Chinese will give him a good opportunity in the future and open up more goals," she said.

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"We are living in a small city but we are wanting to develop global citizens so learning Chinese opens doors for the boys and allows them to experience a different culture through the language.

"In the future, they will have the communication skills to be able to communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds."