White/Other : : Seen

Alice Canton is one of New Zealand’s strongest emerging artists, a graduate of Toi Whakaari, who has always been politically active in her work but who has, in her words, ‘inadvertently side-stepped making something about the Asian-New Zealand Experience.’ She does it now in this passionately delivered, thought-provoking one-woman show about what it is like to be a Pakeha-Chinese born in New Zealand, forever being asked where she comes from.


Prose and movement are finely distilled, reinforcing her point, underscored rhythmically by drum loops, and riffs of David Bowie’s ‘China Girl’. She is inscrutable, she is laid back, she has become accustomed and has not become accustomed to the slights made on the Chinese community in New Zealand, from the poll tax to people blaming the Chinese for Auckland’s house prices.


She feels condemned for being too ambitious and not being ambitious enough, for assimilating or not assimilating enough. She lists and recreates the clichés of Chinese women from James Bond temptress to Dragon mother. ‘We are Siamese, if you please’, echoes again and again around the room, as she makes a sheet ripple in the air. Canton keeps herself busy. She plays the drums, she winds up cable, and lays it down. She creates sound loops, shifting microphones into place as she goes. She allows gaps for the audience to think. She wants us to think. She wants us to listen. She wants us to understand that actually all this does have an impact on a person’s sense of self.


She is confrontational in her words but as often as not will not look at the audience. She seems to be opening up a difficult conversation that is too important to turn into a fight, and her body language is soft, open and vulnerable. It is rare to see an actress more in the moment than Alice Canton last night. She is not only highly accomplished as a performer, she is courageous and in this play she finds her voice.


This play is worth seeing for the performance alone, but also for the debate that we need to have in New Zealand. The Chinese Community has long been the third largest racial group in the country, and Auckland is home to people from more places than any other city in the world.  We aspire to egalitarianism as the gap between rich and poor widens, to fair play as we offer our services as a tax haven, and racial equality, and yet, it is quite clear from this performance and other statistics, that this is not true. Kiwis pride themselves on not complaining. ‘You’ll get over it,’ usually stops a moaning child in their tracks.


And this is what proves that Alice Canton is a kiwi to me. It takes a huge amount of courage in New Zealand to stand up and say that she is not happy with the status quo and she clearly finds the whole thing upsetting. An older man, her father perhaps, comes and sings. He adores her and you can see he just wants her to be happy. She is smart, beautiful, talented and much loved. He is helpless: he would, I think, change the world if he could.


And yes, the great majority of people mean well and are kind. Yes, stoicism is part of the national character and is often a very valuable trait. Yes, people get asked where they are from a lot of the time and pay it no mind: it is a conversation starter usually. But surely we can have a debate about property speculation by non-residents without it getting stuck on race? Surely NZ children should learn NZ history and understand how we got to where we are, what we are doing right and where we want to go, what we want to be. Surely New Zealanders can cut out the gentle and not so gentle generalised insults and consider different ways people can do things? We feel threatened perhaps, and maybe it is our turn to show our vulnerability and courage to find out the real reasons why that is so.




  1. minecraft 11 April, 2019 at 21:58 Reply

    It’s truly a great and helpful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. minecraft 20 April, 2019 at 05:24 Reply

    I am really loving the theme/design of your blog.
    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
    A couple of my blog visitors have complained
    about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.

    Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

  3. Nike VaporMax Flyknit 25 April, 2019 at 11:16 Reply

    Analysts had expected that the increase in production would make Boeing deliver nearly 600 737 aircraft this year, 90% of which are MAX models. Boeing’s share price fell more than 2% in the hours after it announced the news on Friday, and the company’s current market value is $216 billion. Boeing’s market value has evaporated by more than $25 billion since last month’s fatal crash on a 737 MAX aircraft from Ethiopian Airlines.

  4. Yeezy UK 28 April, 2019 at 06:52 Reply

    I think in two weeks, I will be 100 percent, he told TideSports.com. They won’t let me play golf for six weeks for some reason, but I am going to try and get that reduced.

  5. React Element 87 30 April, 2019 at 06:25 Reply

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden raised $6.3 million online in first 24 hours of his campaign and 90 percent of those donations were under $200, MSNBC reported on Friday.

  6. gamefly free trial 2 May, 2019 at 00:25 Reply

    You can definitely see your skills in the work you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not
    afraid to say how they believe. At all times
    go after your heart.

  7. gamefly 2 May, 2019 at 01:06 Reply

    What i do not realize is in fact how you’re no longer
    actually much more well-favored than you might be right now.
    You are so intelligent. You realize therefore significantly
    in terms of this matter, made me personally consider it from a lot of numerous angles.
    Its like men and women aren’t involved until it is one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga!
    Your individual stuffs nice. Always take care of it up!

  8. gamefly free trial 4 May, 2019 at 22:03 Reply

    I’ll right away snatch your rss feed as I can not
    in finding your email subscription link or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly permit me recognize in order that
    I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  9. Cheap Authentic Nfl Jerseys 5 May, 2019 at 17:20 Reply

    My roommate came with me to my first IVF class. We took our seats between a couple and a woman there on her own. She had a folder full of information, her eagerness apparent in the tapping of her foot, her informed questions, her careful note taking. The couple held hands and smiled. With my hands under the table, I texted the friend who’d be picking me up for the next doctor’s appointment. I’ll be late. People have lots of questions.

  10. Cheap Yeezy Boost 7 May, 2019 at 16:11 Reply

    In Los Angeles County, health officials said international travelers, healthcare workers and those who care for young children should consider a second vaccination. One of the confirmed university cases “did travel internationally prior to coming down with measles,” Ferrer said.

  11. Nike Shoes 8 May, 2019 at 02:09 Reply

    But the issues with this team run deeper than can be solved with a single change. The Warriors have not been able to sustain the “killer instinct” required on championship teams. They’ve had it in the past, so it’s still somewhere within their collective DNA

  12. minecraft download mojang 9 May, 2019 at 03:15 Reply

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A couple of my blog visitors have complained about my website not operating correctly
    in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

  13. Cheap NFL Jerseys 9 May, 2019 at 21:12 Reply

    Trump, who has nearly 60 million followers on the service, complained about losing followers back in October after Twitter purged a number of suspended accounts, resulting in a decline of followers across the political spectrum, with Trump losing 200,000 and former President Barack Obama losing 2 million.

  14. Yeezy Boost 700 12 May, 2019 at 07:40 Reply

    For several minutes, the Portland Trail Blazers’ star guard sat quietly on his sofa, chowing down on fried catfish, red beans and rice, and broccoli. And then suddenly, he spoke: I’m getting rid of these mother——- tomorrow.

  15. g 13 May, 2019 at 23:39 Reply

    It’s wonderful that you are getting ideas from this
    post as well as from our discussion made at this place.

  16. g 14 May, 2019 at 06:39 Reply

    Ahaa, its fastidious dialogue concerning
    this paragraph at this place at this blog, I have read all that, so
    at this time me also commenting at this place.

Leave a reply