Auckland University Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon has said that as China becomes a world leader in research, it is important for a research university to be fully engaged with China.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Wednesday (July 14), McCutcheon noted that Confucius Institute is a key part of Auckland University's strategy to engage actively with China.
McCutcheon said that Auckland University has sought to create active partnership with China, including establishment of New Zealand Center at Peking University, project to support development of Qinghai University in partnership with Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese University of Geosciences.
Auckland University Confucius Institute was established four years ago and launched by then New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. It is the first Confucius Institute in New Zealand which has now three Confucius Institutes.
McCutcheon said the development of Auckland University's Confucius Institute is an extraordinary success. In collaboration with Chinese Language Foundation, Auckland University's Confucius Institute has become a key player in helping New Zealanders to learn Chinese language and culture.
McCutcheon said: "Auckland Confucius Institute has actively supported the promotion of Chinese teaching in New Zealand schools, including sending school principals to China to help build long term relationship between our two education systems."
Auckland University Confucius Institute will also help strengthen New Zealand business links with China following the signing of New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement, he added.
"Now our initiative is being strongly supported at the political level with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key emphasizing the importance of New Zealanders learning Chinese, learning about China," said McCutcheon.
The annual Oceania, West and South Asia Regional Meetings of Confucius Institutes was held in Auckland on July 13-14.