CHINESE language speakers in Hong Kong and New Zealand can soon read about the history of mixed Maori-Chinese families who have had an impact on this country’s history.
Song Lam, an English language educational adviser and Chinese community leader, has published her seventh book, Being Maori Chinese: Mixed Identities, which tells the stories of seven families.
The book was originally written by Dr Manying Ip, an associate professor of Chinese at the University of Auckland, and was first published in English in June 2008.
That year Ms Lam received the go-ahead to translate it into Chinese, which took her two years of reading and researching, translating it into Chinese, then re-reading it to ensure that she had the correct grammar so Mandarin readers could understand.
“Doing translation work is not easy,” explains Ms Lam.
“You have to be fluent in both languages.
“Some Chinese relatives [of people mentioned in the book] still live in China and can’t speak English.
“Even a lot of Chinese people in New Zealand can’t speak English.”
Ms Lam, who lives in Howick, believes the stories need to be shared with relatives of people in the book, and to as many Chinese as the book can reach.
She has spent 16 years teaching English to Asian immigrants, while during the past decade she’s had a keen interest in te reo Maori.
“There are a lot of similarities between the Maori and Chinese cultures.”
Last year, Ms Lam gave te reo lessons in Chinese on Chinese Radio 936AM on Thursday mornings.
Being Maori: Mixed Identities will be distributed in Hong Kong and New Zealand.