by Li Huizi
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Wearing a traditional Chinese robe, Andre Carvalho performed a bamboo clapper ballad in Chinese, "Shave, I don't need a knife, I pull with my hand, a root goes down, one after another!"
This hilarious line suddenly made the audience laugh. On Sunday, Carvalho joined more than 30 other middle school students from all over New Zealand to compete in the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese proficiency competition for secondary students.
Chinese folk songs, clapper ballad, and dance were among a variety of Chinese cultural elements displayed by middle school students at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.
Carvalho was satisfied with his performance. "I have been learning Chinese for five years. I really like Chinese food, culture and history."
His father Sharmila said as China is developing at a rapid pace, learning Chinese is important for young people, so he is very supportive of children learning Chinese.
Victoria Talalelei Amani from Samoa has been studying Chinese in a New Zealand school for four years. For her, Chinese culture is very interesting. "I have to say that learning Chinese is the best decision I've ever made," she said.
"I have a lot of enjoyable learning experiences, and my interest in Chinese is getting stronger," Victoria said, adding she believes learning Chinese will help her future career.
Her mother, Ila Amani, said the extended family came all the way from Samoa on Sunday to watch Victoria's competition. "We are really proud of her. Although we don't understand Mandarin, we can feel her passion and love for Chinese."
Cassandra Truscott performed a traditional dance to an audience of kiwi students and Chinese Bridge competition judges.
"Chinese is a language of the future," Truscott said.
After more than six months of preliminary competition, more than 30 students from 20 secondary schools in New Zealand's North and South Island entered the finals. The competition was hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury.
The theme of the finals is "Learning Chinese, Creating Brighter Future." Based on this theme, the contestants shared their experiences of learning Chinese, their friendship with Chinese people, and their understanding of Chinese culture.
Chinese Consul General in Christchurch Wang Zhijian told the award ceremony that speaking Chinese will enable learners to better understand China, one of the most ancient civilizations.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the Chinese Bridge is "a wonderful metaphor" of "how we connect from one side of the world to another."
"By studying a language, you actually start to connect with that culture," Dalziel said
Tony Browne, chairman of New Zealand Contemporary China Research Center, told Xinhua that New Zealand culture is the combination of various cultures, and the Chinese culture fits well in the New Zealand culture.