People of Chinese ancestry are the largest Asian ethnic group in Aotearoa, making up roughly 5% of New Zealand’s population.
While often spoken of as one, homogenous ‘Chinese community’, there is in fact no such thing.
Te Papa’s Chinese Languages in Aotearoa project raises the bar for inclusive, nuanced representations of people of Chinese heritage in Aotearoa by shining a light on the myriad linguistic and cultural identities that inform our lives.
For this project, we collaborated with filmmakers and illustrators of diverse Chinese backgrounds to bring these narratives and related conversations around language loss and revitalisation to the forefront.
We also invited members of the public to share with us stories centred on their own personal relationship with their various heritage languages – whether Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Mandarin, Teochew, or another language entirely.
This zine, which contains many of these stories, is a tribute to all who have shared their experiences with us.
We hope it will give readers an insight into the many conversations happening in this space.
– Grace Gassin, Curator Asian New Zealand Histories
Conversations about language, power, and identity are constantly evolving and in flux. Flip through these pages and you’ll find not only different languages bolded on each page, but a range of different, often contradictory meanings attached to seemingly everyday words like ‘kiwi’, ‘Chinese’, ‘dialect’, ‘language’.
In keeping with the tradition of zine-making, we have kept our editing as minimal as possible. Instead, we encourage readers to think critically about what these dissonances might reveal about language, and cultural and national identity in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Chinese Languages in Aotearoa zine
Zine for reading on a computer
This PDF replicates the order of the stories, allowing you to read it on your computer as you would a physical copy.
Zine for printing
This PDF is for those of you who wish to print out a copy. Open in Adobe Acrobat and select ‘flip on short edge’, and print double-sided.