On 28th March, Premier Li Keqiang who is paying the state visit to New Zealand attended the welcoming banquet, which was held by Bill English, the Premier of New Zealand.

New Zealand government arranged delicacy and ornaments which congregated the features of China and New Zealand at the banquet. Maori actors sang Chinese songs deeply.

Bethany Robb, who is an assistant of Chinese department, the University of Auckland, representing New Zealand’s Chinese-learning students, gave an Chinese-English speech.

She used to be an elementary student for one year in Beijing when she was 7 years old and lived for a while in China, getting interested in Chinese traditional culture. She majored Chinese in the University of Auckland, joined Confucius class and took part in the Chinese speech. She got the Confucius scholarship because of excellent grades and coming to Nanjing University and Fudan University to further her Chinese study.

Bethany Robb shared her feelings and experience with New Zealand students and expressed her thanks to Confucius Institute. She told to Premier Li,

Hello, my name is Bethany Robb. After falling in love with Chinese language, people, and culture, I studied Chinese at the University of Auckland. I'm very grateful to have received a Confucius Institute Scholarship and the Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia that enabled me to go on exchange to both Nanjing and Fudan Universities. Currently I teach Chinese at the University of Auckland and hope to return to China one day.

Premier Li gave a speech at the banquet. He mentioned the exchanging program, bridging by Confucius Institute and expressed an expectation:

We should give full play to the platform of Confucius Institute and China-New Zealand mayor forum and raise the cultural brands such as “happy spring festival” mutually and encourage both sides’ universities, think tanks, media and youths to have more communications, making the friendship between China and New Zealand deepen into the heart and pass from generations to generations.

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