Bringing Asia to New Zealand – arts grant recipients announced

Asia will be brought to New Zealand through art thanks to the latest round of arts grants from the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono.

The most recent projects to receive funding from the Foundation's Arts Project grants includes a Zodiac Arts Trail, and the beloved theatre work TEA making a national return following its 2018 Auckland Arts Festival success.

After such a challenging time for the arts sector in 2020, it’s inspiring to see so many exciting new projects planned for 2021," says Foundation director of arts Craig Cooper.

"It also speaks to the depth of the diverse talent we have within New Zealand that we are able to continue to present works that speak from an Asian perspective even when international travel is not possible.”   

The purpose of the Arts Project Fund is to support New Zealand professional arts companies, events and organisations to deliver projects that grow New Zealanders awareness and knowledge of Asian arts.

"The Foundation’s Arts Programme aims to bring Asian arts into the mainstream. Through our Project Grants we are able to support New Zealand practitioners to grow New Zealanders awareness and knowledge of Asia," says Cooper. 

The Foundation is excited for New Zealanders to see these works alongside other arts ventures that we’re supporting at the Auckland Arts Festival, Auckland Lantern Festival, and CubaDupa 

This latest round of grants are six diverse and engaging projects: 

Chinese New Year Zodiac Arts Trail 

Asian Events Trust 


01 February 2021 to 01 March 2021            

The Chinese New Year Zodiac Arts Trail maps out the animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac through twelve original artworks by local Wellington, New Zealand and internationally-based artists in a walkable trail through Wellington’s CBD and waterfront. Reflecting a contemporary Asian-Aotearoa New Zealand perspective, these works are created by a diverse group of artists with strong links to Asia and Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Paradise or the Impermanence of Ice Cream  

Indian Ink Theatre Company  

Wellington, Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Nelson, Oamaru, Dunedin, Christchurch.  

20 May – 01 September 2021  

One of the Foundation’s first grant recipients, international award-winning Indian Ink Theatre Company is back with a new work. Set amongst the vibrant, life-filled chaos of India’s most cosmopolitan city, Mumbai, master storyteller Jacob Rajan weaves 1980s nightclubs, mad dogs and ice cream into the mystery of India’s vanishing vultures. This New Zealand-Indian play about facing one’s own mortality, inspired by the Pulitzer prize winning ‘Denial of Death’, is full of exquisite puppetry, pathos … and Indian disco. Based on an incredible true story.  

Flowers and People – Gold 


Expressions Whirinaki Arts & Entertainment Centre 

Wellington Region (Upper Hutt) 

15 May to 05 September 2021 

This installation of interactive work comes from Japanese ‘ultra-technologist’ collective TeamLab, who combine artists with programmers, engineers, animators, mathematicians and architects to create integrative work with an information age focus. The work Flowers and People – Gold is based on the four seasons and reflects on their importance in both pre-modern Japanese art and culture and the continuing relevance in the contemporary world today.  

Digital and sculptural installation exhibition of ONEONE (Raranga) with VR   

Good Company Arts 

Christchurch Arts Centre and Yinzi Theatre, Chongqing (Installations and online VR). 

Opening 05 July 2021 for Matariki  

Led by Good Company Arts’ director, Daniel Belton, and in collaboration with China’s Yinzi Theatre, the work will be developed via web-based and hands on practice incorporating performing arts and craft from Chinese and Maori traditions featuring the Kahu Collective. Good Company Arts creates live events, exhibitions and installations through the fusion of multiple art forms and is internationally recognised for leading in arts and design innovation. 

The Inner Lives of Islands  

Te Tuhi 

Auckland Region (Pakuranga) 

30 May 2021 to 22 August 2021 

This exhibition of moving image works by Filipino artist and filmmaker Shireen Seno and New Zealand-based artist Christopher Ulutupu will explore storytelling from artists and how these might reflect nationhood, diasporic identitiesand the realities faced as Pacific and Asian peoples, enhanced by a series of public events including artist and curator talks and a programme of film screenings.  

2021 Season of TEA   


Wellington and Auckland 

17 May to 25 October 2021                             

The original production of TEA in the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival was a turning point for South Asian theatre in New Zealand. From playwright and director Ahi Karunaharan the production tells an epic story spanning thousands of years, from the colonial period of the tea estates of Sri Lanka to a distant future of environmentalism. Two seasons of TEA will perform in the 2021 Kia Mau Festival in Wellington, and at the Q Theatre in Auckland.  

Find out more

For more information, please contact 

Craig Cooper 

Director Arts