Mandarin Language Assistant Programme


Helping to promote the learning of Mandarin in NZ 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.

Due to the COVID-19 border restrictions, CI’s MLA programme has been hugely impacted. No Mandarin Language Assistants from China have been able to enter New Zealand since January 2020. Our MLA programme has been suspended since then, as well as the Chinese language teaching programmes in a number of local schools.

Now, with the New Zealand border reopened, the MLA programme will resume in 2023. We are looking forward to welcoming the young MLAs in the new year and seeing the Chinese learning in schools as robust post-COVID as it was before. 

The EOI application for hosting an MLA in 2023 is now open to schools.

Key dates:

  • Deadline for Expressions of Interest: 5 pm, Friday 9 September 2022
  • Schools notified: 30 September 2022
  • Schools MLA workshop: Thursday 10 November 2022 (TBC)
  • MLA arrival: late January 2023

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. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, in 2019, Confucius Institute in Auckland has assigned 47 MLAs to nearly 120 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 150 MLAs working in New Zealand schools.

You will find more information about the MLA programmes from the MLA Review Report files below.




Physical Address:
The University of Auckland
Pembridge House
31 Princes Street
Auckland Central 1010

Phone: +64 9 923 9955

Postal Address:
Confucius Institute in Auckland
The University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland 1142, New Zealand

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