Illustrating tales of Chinese Kiwis
A new photo exhibition illustrating the stories of Chinese New Zealanders opens at Auckland War Memorial Museum next month.
The show, Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A photographic journey, contains nearly 100 rarely-seen pictures.
They’re selected from a pool of nearly 10,000 pieces from 16 public institutions including Archives New Zealand, the National Library, and private family collections.
Social historian Dr Phoebe Li, who curates the exhibition in collaboration with photographic historian John B. Turner, says viewers will be able to explore the ‘‘dynamic stories of Chinese life in New Zealand’’.
They include from the time of the first settler Appo Hocton, who arrived in 1842, to the new migrants of the 1990s and 2000s, from pioneering goldminers and merchants to architects and entrepreneurs, from early settlers to established communities.
‘‘Through hard physical labour, self-sacrifice, determination and innovation, the Chinese, from the very beginning, have participated in and contributed to the building of New Zealand as a young modern nation,’’ Li says.
‘‘Using fine photographs to tell and retell the stories of Chinese in NZ, we aim to give an introduction to this complicated history as viewed from various angles, yet with a positive attitude to the future of our diverse country.’’ The exhibition also includes a new series of contemporary artworks by renowned graphic artist Ant Sang ( and writer Helene Wong kaitiaki (guardian) of an extensive collection of Chinese objects through to our annual cultural festival.’’
Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A photographic journey is open daily from February 10 in the Sainsbury Horrocks Gallery and free to view with museum entry.
The Gock family, who were innovative market gardeners in Mangere, pictured in the 1960s.