Our Mandarin Language Assistant programme is one of our most popular and successful programmes to support Chinese in schools.

As part of the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, the New Zealand (NZ) and Chinese Education Ministries agreed that Mandarin Language Assistants (MLAs) were to be placed in NZ schools for an academic year. The MLA's role is to help promote the learning of Mandarin and to raise the quality of Mandarin language provision in NZ schools. The programme also provides MLAs with an opportunity to improve their English and to work collaboratively with experienced NZ teachers.

In 2008, the Ministries have partnered with the Office of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in China and Confucius Institute (CI) in Auckland (at the University of Auckland) to implement this initiative. The Confucius Institute selects eligible schools, provides an orientation programme for the incoming MLAs and monitors progress during the school year.

The Confucius Institute in Auckland oversees the programme, ensuring that the host school and MLAs are operating in line with expectations and requirements. 

In 2010, six Mandarin Language Assistants were placed into NZ schools for the first time. Since then, the initiative has successfully promoted the learning of Mandarin and raised the quality of Mandarin language provision in NZ schools. This year, 2017, Confucius Institute in Auckland has assigned 48 MLAs to 137 schools in Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions. Meanwhile in the whole country, in collaboration with the Confucius Institutes in Victoria University and Canterbury University, there is a total of 144 MLAs working in New Zealand schools.