What is an Asian-New Zealand film?

by Asia Media Center — December 16, 2020

A decade ago, Dr Arezou Zalipour started investigating Asian New Zealanders’ representation on the screen and their film practices. She theorised the concept of ‘Asian-New Zealand film’ by probing the changes and effects the Asian diaspora has had on New Zealand screen culture.

With her research, she wanted to ground ‘Asian-New Zealand film’ in academic, public, and industry consciousness through both publications and community, industry, and production activities. In this piece, she explains what she found – and what could happen in the future.

Has there ever been such a thing as Asian-New Zealand film?

Since 2011, I’ve been asking whether New Zealand cinema reflects Asian-New Zealanders and investigating the ways Asian people in New Zealand are represented on our screens.

New Zealand cinema has served as the storyteller of this country. This idea of ‘New Zealand cinema’ has been characterised as including Pākehā and Māori films and, to a lesser degree, Pasifika films, which reflect parts of national and cultural identity.

ArezouZalipour 3

Dr Arezou Zalipour. Photo: Supplied