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Chinese History In Aotearoa Reclaimed Through This Timeless Theatrical Experience

Proudly Asian Theatre and Hand Pulled Collective present


This groundbreaking new play will transport audiences to 1891, San Gam San (New Gold Mountain), as the writing and directing debut of visionary artist, Talia Pua. Pork and Poll Taxes will premiere at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre from 10-14 August. Audiences will be immersed in this rich family drama that delves into changing family dynamics, migration, and racism in Aotearoa.

“ San Gam Saan, New Gold Mountain - it makes you believe gold simply sprouts up from the ground ready to be harvested.”

The men were sent to New Gold Mountain (Aotearoa) to help their struggling family forge a better life. But, unlike the name suggests, gold does not sprout up from the ground ready to be harvested. With increasing civil unrest back home, and mounting racial tensions in New Gold Mountain, a family must reconsider their beliefs on belonging, sacrifice, and family when the father chooses to immigrate.

Inspired by the history of Chinese market gardeners in the poll tax era of Aotearoa, Pua brings this story to life through cyclic movement, captivating design, music, and heart-wrenching performances. The poll tax era is an often untold story in our nation’s history, but a timely one to tell in the era of heightened racism against Asians around the world.

Talia Pua is a visionary theatre-maker, performer, and award-winning designer of playful interactions. She has a passion for devised physical theatre and has performed in dance theatre shows including 'AKL, Babel' and 'Iron Eyes'. With a degree in Creative Technologies, Talia has an eye for striking imagery when in her theatre-making, having designed for ‘AKL, Babel’ and ‘Our Modern Earth (is a f*cking mess)’. Throughout her creative practice, cultural identity has been a key area of exploration. A promising new talent, she has received support for development of Pork and Poll Taxes from the Poll Tax Heritage Trust, Red Leap Theatre, Playmarket’s Asian Ink with Eleanor Bishop, and Creative New Zealand.

A brilliant cast of five Asian performers bring this play to life, Benjamin Teh (Yellow Face, Wellington Paranormal), Celine Dam (The Eggplant, Flunk: The Exchange), and PASC & PAT Fresh Crop grads Anna Lee (Wake Up, Coney), Kelvin Ta (Tales of Nai Nai, Firsts), and Jo Lo (Xena: Warrior Princess, Mulan). Pork and Poll Taxes will be designed by Michael McCabe (A Fine Balance, UPU), Paul Bennett (PINAY, Magnificent Remains), Nikita Tu-Bryant (KITA, Tide Waits for No Man), Wilson Ong (Three Dots, INKED), and choreographed by wushu-contemporary dancer Yin-Chi Lee (Iron Eyes, NZ Wushu).

The play is produced by award-winning creative Marianne Infante (PINAY, A Freakin Dangerous Spacemas), and assistant produced by Natalya Mandich-Dohnt, as a collaboration between Proudly Asian Theatre and Hand Pulled Collective.

Pork and Poll Taxes plays:

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre

7pm, 10-14 August

Book at

Suitable for ages 15 and over.

Presented by Proudly Asian Theatre and Hand Pulled Collective

The production is supported by the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, Creative New Zealand, Auckland Live and Auckland Unlimited.

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