Chinese identity in Aotearoa

By Renee Kahukura-Iosefa

The relationship between Chinese and Māori here in NZ is one of the topics that will be explored in a new theatre production, Other Chinese.

The producer of the show Julie Zhu has been learning te reo Māori for the past seven years, she says, "It is valuable and important that all people who migrate to Aotearoa and all New Zealanders actually know and understand the Treaty of Waitangi."

She also says, "Our show shares stories of Chinese people who all live here in New Zealand, some who have migrated here from China and some who were born here and some who have over seven generations, all born and raised here in Aotearoa."

Both the producer and director of the show Other Chinese were born in Aotearoa. 

Alice Canton, the director of Other Chinese, says, "Being in Aotearoa is about identifying what it means to be Chinese living here because I'm not in China or in Malaysia. We have a different kind of identity here and that I think is what is key in this show, is what does it means to be Chinese here in Aotearoa in 2017."

Both Canton and Zhu believe their show provides insight and an opportunity for Chinese people from all different walks of life to share their own story on stage. 

Alice says, "There is this real keenness to actually talk about what is happening here in NZ and it's a chance for them to reflect what kind of place they have in New Zealand society and also I think it’s a chance for them to reflect  on things like the treaty and what relationship do Chinese have to Māori and how do we all feel like we belong without taking it from somebody else."

This new theatre show Other Chinese will open tomorrow night at Q theatre in Auckland and will run until September 16.