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  • The New Zealand Centre at the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) International Culture Festival 2014

    New Zealand tent volunteers introduce a Chinese visitor to Arana the Kiwi.

    Visitors were able to sample New Zealand cheddar cheeses at the tent.


    27/04/2014 - The New Zealand Centre at the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) International Culture Festival 2014, attended by Kiwi volunteers and New Zealand Centre mascot "Arana the Kiwi".

    Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), one of China's most prestigious univerisities and based close by to Peking University (home to the New Zealand Centre), hosted its annual International Culture Festival on a beautiful, clear sunny day for the year of 2014. The New Zealand Centre was in attendance, supplying information and decorations for the New Zealand tent. Kiwi volunteers from BLCU and surrounding Peking and Tsinghua universities attended, helping Chinese visitors learn more about New Zealand and dishing up premium squares of New Zealand cheddar to revellers (funds for cheese and refreshments were kindly supplied by BLCU).

    The New Zealand Tent was stocked with university prospectuses from all of the New Zealand Centre partner institutions, including the University of Auckland, University of Otago, Waikato University, Canterbury University, and Victoria University. The tent was also supplied with New Zealand memorabilia and trinkets kindly supplied by the New Zealand Embassy based in Sanlitun, Beijing. In spite of the hot weather, Chinese visitors from within and outside BLCU passed through the New Zealand Tent in a steady stream.

    Volunteer Sophie Mazzone-Olissoff on academic exchange to Tsinghua University proved especially popular with revellers, often posing for pictures with visitors holding the New Zealand Centre mascot Arana the Kiwi (pictured left), leading to her and Arana "trending" on Chinese social media platform "Weibo" later in the day.

    Chinese visitors to the festival were provided with replica passports in which they could receive a stamp from each individual countries' tents, and upon completion of said passport could go in the draw to win a prize. Volunteers Ashton Jones and Daniel Kerr (both students at BLCU) demonstrated great fortitude and tremendous stoicism in stamping literally thousands of passports in the heat of the day. All in all, the event was good fun for all involved and provided a valuable opportunity to raise the profile of the New Zealand Centre at a neighboring institution of tertiary education. The event was well attended, and the sincere interest in continuing education in New Zealand has led to a request to all New Zealand Centre partner institutions to replenish their prospectuses and pamphlets at the Centre.

    Volunteers of the event (3 of 4 pictured in first photograph above) included Charles Rowe (pictured left), Liaison Officer for the New Zealand Centre and recipient of the China Government Scholarship for Masters Study at Peking University, Sophie Mazzone-Olissoff (pictured centre-right), exchange student at Tsinghua University and recipient of the Confucius Institute Scholarship (CIS), Ashton Jones (pictured right) of Beijing Language and Culture University also recipient of the CIS, and Daniel Kerr of Beijing Language and Culture University also recipient of the CIS.

    If you represent a New Zealand business or non-governmental organization in the Beijing area and are interested in being involved in the next New Zealand Tent at the annual Beijing Language and Culture University International Culture Festival (every April), or the Peking University International Culture Festival (every September), please don't hesitate to contact The New Zealand Centre liaison officers who can forward your details to the organizers of the next event. Your interest and support are welcome, helping to raise the profile of New Zealand at special and meaningful events hosted at some of China's most prestigious academic institutions.

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