Premiere Season of The Mooncake and the Kūmara Live Performance


NameThe Mooncake and the Kūmara
PlaywrightMei-Lin Te Puea Hansen
Start Date5 March 2015
End Date10 March 2015
Organiser / VenueQ Theatre Loft
Director(s)Katie Wolfe
Auckland Arts Festival
Auckland Arts Festival
The Oryza Foundation
Betsy & Mana Productions Ltd
Key Cast
Waimihi Hotere
Kip Chapman
Chye-Ling Huang
Yoson An
Awhina-Rose Ashby
Charles Chan
Creative Team
Set Designer: John Verryt
Sound Designer: Drew McMillan
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Whiting
Lighting Designer: Paul Lim
CityTāmaki Makaurau Auckland


Presented and co-produced by Auckland Arts Festival 2015, the sold-out premiere season of Mei-Lin Te Puea Hansen’s The Mooncake and the Kūmara was the first play in Aotearoa by a Māori-Chinese playwright exploring Māori-Chinese relationships.

Weaving together three languages — English, Māori and Cantonese — it is loosely based on the story of how Hansen’s maternal goong-goong, Joe Kum Chee, travelled to Aotearoa from Guangzhou in the 1920s and met her nan, Alice Williams (Tainui) in the market gardens in the Stratford area.

Reviewers responded positively to the premiere season, with the NZ Herald describing it as “a compelling challenge to the stark black and whites that have dominated the officially sanctioned bicultural version of New Zealand history” and Maria Ji from Tearaway describing it as “the cutting edge of social progress”, praising the show for resisting translations and instead allowing context to give clarity to the trilingual play.

Following its premiere, The Mooncake and the Kūmara was supported by Performing Arts Network New Zealand (PANNZ) through its National Touring Programme to tour through Aotearoa.

Length: 1 hour 40 mins (no interval)


Key works / presentations

Tauranga Arts Festival
Addison Theatre, Baycourt
Oct 25, 2015

Hamilton Gallagher Performing Arts Centre
Oct 21–22, 2015

Nelson Arts Festival
Theatre Royal Nelson, Whakatū
Oct 14–15, 2015

Oamaru Opera House
Oct 10, 2015

Taranaki International Arts Festival
Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace
August 21–22, 2015

Related entries

Last updated: 5 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


A group of actors posing for the camera

The Mooncake and the Kūmara, original cast, 2015

three ticket stubs

The Mooncake and the Kūmara, tickets for shows, 2015 and 2017

Brown pencil sketch

John Verryt, The Mooncake and the Kūmara, sketch of proposed set, 2014

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Image of couple with text overlaid

The Mooncake and the Kūmara, Auckland Arts Festival Brochure, 2015

Programme cover page

The Mooncake and the Kūmara, Auckland Arts Festival programme, 2015

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