Eight Tauranga Intermediate pupils have become published authors in two languages, thanks to an essay competition celebrating New Zealand identity.
The young writers will have their pieces published in Flying Kiwis, a collection of the best essays from around the country.
The book is bilingual, with the written pieces having been translated into Chinese by the Confucius Institute in Auckland, and published by China's Higher Education Press.
Entrants had to write 500 words evoking the theme of New Zealanders doing well, or exceeding expectations – i.e. ‘flying kiwis'.
The top 50 entries were selected for publication in the book, which was launched in Wellington and Auckland as part of New Zealand Chinese Language Week (October 16-22).
All of the Tauranga Intermediate pupils – five Year 7s from Totara House, and two Year 8s from Rimu House – agree the hardest part was editing their pieces down to the 500 word limit.
Their stories ranged from a roadside kiwifruit stall as a metaphor for New Zealand, to a story about a Syrian refugee settling here, and a long-lived tuatara observing the changes in New Zealand society across the decades.
Learning Mandarin Chinese is compulsory at Tauranga Intermediate, with all pupils taking one lesson a week for at least a term. Pupils in Totara House study it for six months, and learn Te Reo Maori for the remaining six months.
Flying Kiwis will be distributed as a learning resource in New Zealand, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and will also be presented as a gift to visiting Chinese students, teachers, and dignitaries.
Tauranga Intermediate pupil stories:
Flying over New Zealand, and what an observer might see.
A kiwifruit roadside stall as a metaphor for New Zealand.
A Chinese girl and a Maori girl enjoy a Kiwi Christmas.
A kiwi is inspired to fly after watching enviously as tui soars through the air.
A Syrian refugee settles in New Zealand, and earns the nickname ‘the flying kiwi'.
A long-lived tuatara considers the changes in New Zealand society over the years.
A girl moves to New Zealand and grows to love her new home.