Celebrating Chinese culture

Gemma Morrow (left) and right Katie Callendar (right) from Goodwood busy making paper flowers during the Cambridge Fusion Cluster’s day of activities at Karapiro.

More than 630 kids from across Cambridge got to experience a festival of all things Chinese last month, heading out to Karapiro at the end of September to gain a deeper understanding of the culture.

Scott Cardwell, CEO of Immerse Me, with his company’s headsets that are designed to assist with language learning.

The 632 students, from Year 3 to Year 10, came from 25 classes across seven schools in the Cambridge Fusion Cluster – up by 100 on last year. All have been taking Mandarin classes at school.

The executive officer of Asian Language Learning in Schools, Ann Easter, said each school from the cluster ran a couple of activities at the Don Rowlands Centre, on what was “just a lovely day” last Wednesday. Along with Chinese costumes and paper crafts, students could try their hand at Mandarin calligraphy and traditional Chinese games such as hacky sack and a bamboo jumping game. They were also treated to dumplings and fortune cookies with language-based quotes inside. In addition, they heard from guest speaker Scott Cardwell – the CEO of Immerse Me, a virtual reality technology company that has made headsets to assist students with their language learning. Scott also played an enormous game of Paper, Scissors, Rock with the audience, with the last student standing receiving $100 of “lucky money” in a traditional red envelope.

The students also heard from Tyler Buyers (15), the 2017 recipient of a New Zealand Institute of International Understanding (NZIIU) exchange scholarship to China. Tyler attended school in Zhengzhou and spoke about his experience of living in the city of more than 9.5 million people.

Year 9 students from Cambridge High School hosted the event, while Year 10s assisted with organisation.

Aaron McCarthy got to try on a Chinese costume as part of the festival in honour of the Chinese culture


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