About The Pandemic Chronicles

An introduction from Grace Gassin, Curator Asian New Zealand Histories.

These comics offer a glimpse into the experiences of people of ethnic Chinese background who lived through the Covid-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand. While the characters and storylines are fictionalised, they take inspiration from the real-life experiences of the participants who were interviewed between May 2020 and early 2021 as part of Te Papa’s Making Histories Covid-19 project.

Among the interviewees were third-generation Cantonese Chinese New Zealanders, international students from Wuhan, people of Taiwanese and Singaporean Chinese backgrounds, senior citizens, single mothers, and business owners. Added to the participants’ voices here are my own, and those of the two talented illustrators who helped bring these stories to life: MZ and Chloe de la Lune. In our interviews and conversations together, we traversed much honest and wide-ranging territory, from teddy bears and lockdown crafts to anti-Chinese racism.

These comics do not represent ‘typical’ or ‘representative’ Chinese New Zealand stories. Rather, they incorporate highlights drawn from the interviews and subsequent comic collaborations in what we hope is an engaging and safe manner, enabling interviewees who wished to remain anonymous to do so.

We hope these comics offer rich food for discussion and add to our collective memory of this historic moment in time.

You can browse the comics on this website in English, traditional Chinese (Mandarin), and simplified Chinese (Mandarin).

Special thanks to Yu-Feng (Ester) Wang 王俞丰 for providing the Chinese comic translations.

You can also download the comics as a PDF to print out:

Download the Pandemic Chronicles zine (27.56 MB)