Watch: Chinese store owners surprised by Māori teen speaking perfect Mandarin

A Māori teen has astounded store owners at an outdoor market in Auckland by speaking fluent Mandarin.

In a video uploaded on social media, 19-year-old Jimah Ruland-Umata was captured chatting away to Chinese stall-holders at the Avondale Sunday Market last week.

"You don't look like you speak Chinese, but you speak it better than I do," a lady responded.

"I can't believe it," another said. "Your Mandarin is superb".

Ruland-Umata started learning Mandarin when he was 11, when he wanted to help a new classmate, who spoke limited English, feel welcome.

"I thought that by learning Chinese, I'd at least be able to help him try and understand what was being taught," he told the New Zealand Chinese Language Week website.

"Chinese is a hard language, don't get me wrong, but if you are whole-heartedly dedicated to the language, you will reap the rewards of the language."

In 2019, Rutland-Umata was recognised as a youth ambassador for the New Zealand Chinese Language Week.

The video, captured by content creator Torrell Tafa, has received over 300k views across Facebook and Youtube.

Tafa has also shared a video of a "white guy" speaking Samoan at the Otara Markets earlier this year.