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Chinese Music in New Zealand

Conference presentation

Conference presentation

Korea, China, Japan

University of Otago students: Hyunah Cho (left) on kayagum; Keran Li (centre) on yangqin; Bethany Waugh (right) on koto. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, NZ Music Month performance, 25 May 2021. Photo by Henry Johnson, 25 May 2021.

Yangqin performance

Keran Li playing the yangqin at a research seminar for the Friends of the Hocken Collections, 18 May 2021.

Hocken Library research seminar presentation

Hocken Library research seminar presentation

“Fluttering Tones”

Keran Li rehearsing the yangqin (Chinese dulcimer – the “butterfly zither”) before a research seminar. Keran is in her second year of a PhD researching Chinese music and identity in modern-day Aotearoa New Zealand. Photo © Henry Johnson, 2021.

Chinese Performance and Inter-Community Relations in a 19th-Century New Zealand Gold-Mining Setting


Dunedin Senior Citizens Chinese Association, waist drum dancers

Waist drumDunedin Senior Citizens Chinese Association, waist drum (yao gu) dancers. 21 March 2021, Dunedin Multiethnic Council, Race Relations Day, Otago Museum. Photo © Henry Johnson.

“Waist drum is a fun exercise activity that build fitness and cultivates sentiment. It brings happiness and productivity, especially after retirement. Many members of the Association experienced an increase in energy, good health and vitality after joining the waist drum team.“ (

“Since bringing the waist drum to Dunedin in 2015, the Dunedin Senior Citizens Chinese Association have performed it on various stages around the community. These performances are enjoyed by all those who attend.” (

George Chan (lion dance)