Wānaka Sun       

Locals embrace Chinese language week

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 03 Oct, 2019 | By Ollie Blyth

Last week, locals across the Upper Clutha banded together to embrace Chinese Language Week. Derek Melnick from Skydive Wānaka was heavily involved in raising Chinese language awareness, and thinks that learning basic phrases will go a long way. “China is New Zealand's second largest visitor market, and without them visiting our region businesses would suffer significantly and so too would the local job market,” he said.

Melnick does a fair amount of business between his local businesses and his Chinese business partners. He says that his ties in China have, “been one of the most significant markets supporting our success in recent years, aiding in our ability to employ over 200 staff in the region.”

He says that in order to learn a few everyday Chinese terms and phrases, locals should visit the Chinese Language Week website which has a number of great resources available. He added that, “another thing that really helps [to learn the language] is to engage more with the local Chinese living and working amongst our community. They are some of the most valued resources to help us bridge the gap in understanding the culture and language.” 

His team at Skydive Wānaka produced five business card-sized reference cards for their staff to use with customers. Related to everyday business life, the cards helped to bring a more authentic experience between Melnick's staff and his Chinese customers. 

He concluded that, “at the end of the day, China is very much a global player and trade partner of New Zealand's and geographically a very close neighbour too. Building closer ties and developing mutual understanding is without a doubt a lot more possible if you can break down barriers and connect better — something language is a fundamental element toward achieving.”

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