Lisa struggles to manage both home-schooling her children and completing her own studies amidst the ongoing global crisis. Navigating these challenges as a single mother and Taiwanese New Zealander leads to a powerful personal awakening.

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Click the expansion arrow to open this slideshow in full-window view. The panels in the English-language comics have a descriptive caption for screenreaders.

Panel 1

It’s night time. We see a house with its lights on. There’s a full moon in the sky, and a streetlight illuminates the scene.

Narration: “During lockdown, I had to adapt to studying from home with my two children.”

Panel 2

A woman is tucking her two children into bed. They sleep in separate beds on opposite sides of the room. Lisa is listening to something on her phone.

Narration: “After putting them to bed, I’d sneak time to listen to podcasts about Māori language revial for class.”

Sound of the podcast coming out of her phone: “We were beaten for speaking our language. There is a whole generation that couldn’t speak it.”

Panel 3

With her children in bed, Lisa sits at her desk, with her laptop open, listening to her podcast.

Podcast audio: “It is only now with kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa that more of us are now speaking our language again.”

Panel 4

We see that Lisa is browsing the internet. She is about to watch a video on the Treaty of Waitangi | te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Narration: “I’m a student of linguistics. Learning about te reo Māori suppression reminded me of how the Japanese and KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party] did this in Taiwan to indigenous nations too. The KMT policies also meant my Chinese grandparents were banned from speaking Hokkien.”

Panel 1

A close-up of Lisa’s notebook. She’s taking notes about the video.

Narration: “To understand my place here, I took a course on te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

Panels 2 and 3

Lisa is in bed, reading on her phone.

Narration: “The internet was my window to the world, but it was annoying to see the comments about Taiwan.”

She reads a comment.

“the taiwanese culture is submissive, that’s why ppl listen to the govt and cases are low”

She drafts a reply.

“It’s not a ‘submissive culture’, the response has been LED BY the PUBLIC!! People are looking out for each other! You don’t need an authoritarian government to have people do the right thing”

Her thumb is on the ‘Send’ button.

Panel 4

Lisa’s phone is on her bedside table. She sighs, and turns off the light.

Panel 1

It’s morning. Lisa’s children are jumping on her bed to wake her up.

Narration: “My children never let me sleep in.”

Chris: “Mama, I’m hungry! Can we have choco pops?”


Lisa, with her eyes still closed: “No time to make pancakes today, maybe on Saturday morning, okay Kevin?”

Panel 2

Lisa is up, putting on her slippers. She holds her side; she’s tired. The children are still on her bed. Kevin looks upset that he’s not getting pancakes.

Panel 3

Lisa grabs a box from the pantry.

“If I let you have choco pops this morning, you have to have some fruit this afternoon, okay?”

Panel 4

The two boys are playing.

“Okay,” Kevin replies, then he turns to Chris. “That’s my truck Chris, put it down!”

Lisa: “Breakfast is ready. Come eat!”

Panels 1–4

The family is eating breakfast together at their table.

Lisa: “We’re starting a new family routine. Every morning, Mama will teach you more Hokkien and you’ll learn news words.”

Kevin: “Oh but none of my friends speak it, do we have to learn?”

Lisa: “Of course Kevin, you’ll regret it if you don’t.

“Did you know in this country, your Māori friends’ ancestors were punished by the Pākehā government for speaking their language?

“Did I tell you that in Taiwan, your great grandparents weren’t allowed to speak Hokkien by the government there? Our languages are precious, never forget that.”

Chris: “That’s no fair, I wanna speak our langwich!”

Lisa: “Okay, let’s start. Hó-chia̍h 好食 means delicious.”

Chris and Kevin: “Hó-chia̍h! 好食”

An aerial view of a deep-blue river cutting through a lush green landscape. Clouds hover in the air above.

Narration: “Studying Aotearoa’s history and following Taiwan through the pandemic, my own political voice has grown louder as I’ve learnt from Māori.

“I’m still learning about how to use my newfound voice on issues affecting Taiwan, and locally to better honour te Tiriti.

“But it seems that, though I’d never thought of myself as political, this pandemic has awakened me.”