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Mandarin Superstars Announced For NZCLW 2020

Nine New Zealanders are promoting Mandarin as New Zealand Chinese Language Week’s 2020 Mandarin Superstars.

They are:

  • Michelle Elia Silota – a trade officer in the Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration;
  • Joshua Murphy – third year student at the University of Auckland studying Computer Science and Chinese;
  • Hannah Prior – a Victoria University of Wellington student, who speaks four languages, including Mandarin;
  • Dave Tyney – a winemaker in Marlborough, who has worked several years in China making wine;
  • Chris Lipscombe – Wellington-based Chinese business advisor, and President of the Wellington branch of NZ China Friendship Society and President of the NZ China Cross-border Electronic Commerce Foundation;
  • Fergus Grenfell - Wellington-based, 2018 Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia student, now working at Export New Zealand;
  • Jaffar Bui – currently Auckland-based, studying public health and medicine at Tsinghua University, and Chinese hip-hop fan;
  • Ella Haszard – a Wellington Girls’ College year 13 student and huge Chinese language fan;
  • Libby English Lyon - now back in Wellington, she spent last year in Beijing studying on a New Zealand China Government Scholarship.

Seeking to raise awareness of Chinese language and culture, NZCLW celebrates multilingualism in New Zealand and recognises the advantages of learning Chinese in our increasingly globalised community.

Now in its sixth year, the Kiwi-led initiative is to be held across New Zealand between 20 - 26 September this year, and the theme is A Taste of New Zealand - celebrating the food and drink links between our Chinese and New Zealand cultures.

A key part of the week will be Dumpling Day, September 26, a chance to celebrate the delicious little food parcels and highlight some of the great producers of dumplings in New Zealand.

Co-founder and Chair of the NZCLW Charitable Trust Jo Coughlan says that each of this year’s Mandarin Superstars has a different reason to learn Mandarin, but all of them encourage others to have a go themselves.

NZCLW can help with that, with resources designed to make it easier to practice helpful phrases provided by the trust through its website

The trust also publishes a trilingual children’s book, using Mandarin, Te Reo, and English. This year’s book, Ruru’s Hangi, is available free to all schools and libraries. More than 200 copies have already been sent out. Requests for the book can be made to

There are helpful phrase guides and posters available to download from the NZCLW website,, Jo says. People can take part in the #5Phrases5Days challenge and post on social media using #NZCLW or #NZCLWDumplingDay hashtags.

“We hope to help more Kiwis ‘give Chinese a go’ by taking part in an event, taking the #5Phrases5Days challenge, or eating some dumplings. It’s a great excuse to enjoy some good Chinese food made with great New Zealand products.

“While we aren’t able to travel between New Zealand and China at the moment, there is lots of shared history and culture - particularly food culture - to celebrate within New Zealand. We encourage the public and local business community to get involved, host an event, and help inspire New Zealanders to better understand and connect with our Chinese friends and partners.”

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