Edinburgh Research Explorer

From sojourners to citizens: The poetics of space and ontology in diasporic Chinese literature from Aotearoa/New Zealand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-823
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number6
Early online date27 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


This essay analyses the work of two contemporary Chinese New Zealand poets, Renee Liang and Alison Wong, who explore the historical and contemporary experiences of the Chinese diasporic community in New Zealand. Written in the aftermath of the New Zealand government’s 2002 apology for the discriminatory poll tax levied on Chinese gold miners in the 19th century, Wong’s poetry meditates upon the attenuated lives of Cantonese immigrants subjected to racial abuse and geographical segregation by the dominant Pākehā (European New Zealand) community. Liang, on the other hand, explores changing attitudes towards New Zealand’s long-established Chinese diasporic community in the wake of the 1987 Immigration Control Act, which allowed thousands of new Asian immigrants to enter and work in New Zealand. Both poets use architectural and phenomenological imagery to explore the ways in which Chinese migrants have transformed from a putatively temporary labour force (sojourners) into an established diasporic community (citizens).

    Research areas

  • Chinese diaspora, Alison Wong, Renee Liang, gold mining, phenomenology, architecture

ID: 117285631