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Chinese Music in New Zealand

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)

Christchurch Lion Dance Troupe visit Oamaru

On their way to Dunedin

Source: Oamaru TODAY (24 October 2020).


Christchurch Lion Dance Troupe

George Chan and the Christchurch Lion Dance Troupe.

“George Chan has devoted many years in preserving this part of Chinese culture. He travels extensively throughout NZ training people in this art form”.



The Dunedin Chinese Art/Instrument Association – guzheng

Sophia Liu playing guzheng for the 2020 online Moon Festival (Dunedin).

“The Dunedin Chinese Art/Instrument Association was founded in August 2015. The Association is involved in major events such as the Lantern Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, provides performances for local communities such as Yvette Williams Retirement Village, and organises classes and workshops for young people such as Tahuna Intermediate school. The members of this group include a variety of people studying, working and living in Dunedin” (