Meet Anna Kong, who migrated from China in 1983 to join her parents who worked in a Chinese restaurant and market garden.
Anna quickly settled down in Palmerston North and got married, raising three children and running the family’s fast-food business for 20 years.
She then decided to venture into a new business, and set up a Chinese supermarket in 2004. Working in the fast-food business had got too hectic and both she and her husband wanted a slower pace of life.
Anna made frequent trips to China to order Chinese goods and get goods freighted back to New Zealand for her supermarket.
During one trip, she saw a big group of middle-aged people dancing in a park. Suddenly an idea popped up in her head:
“I could teach Chinese traditional dancing as a way to keep the culture alive in New Zealand!”
After months of researching on the internet for the choreography dance movements, the music associated with each dance move and the costume, the dance group was formed – Chinese Association Dancing Group, Palmerston North New Zealand.
Anna is the volunteer dancing instructor, and now 20 members practise on Mondays at the Manawatu Chinese Association. The dancers perform at the Mid-Autumn Moon Cake Festival and other cultural festivals, Chinese New Year and at Christmas celebrations at rest homes and kindergartens.
Anna studied with English Language Partners online – in our ‘English Language Group’ classes. She says she wanted to learn more because, although she could get by having small chats with customers at work, she needed to communicate better on the phone with English-speaking people. She also wanted to promote her culture so more people could watch and enjoy the group’s performances.
“I can now write emails confirming my attendance at English Language Partners’ online classes!”
This Chinese New Year, the Year of the OX, her group will perform at The Square on Saturday 13 Feb 2021 for the Lunar New Year celebration.
Thanks to Jess Yap, our centre manager in Palmerston North, for this story.