The COVID-19 pandemic begins Event


NameThe COVID-19 pandemic begins


First identified in Wuhan, China, the COVID-19 virus spread across the world in 2020, accompanied by a noted rise in anti-Asian sentiment. Locally, in 2021, the Human Rights Commission reported that Chinese and Māori communities experienced heightened discrimination through the pandemic.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on artists and arts organisations, with events and festivals disrupted, postponed and cancelled. The impact of this was particularly pronounced in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, where ongoing lockdowns and restrictions on gathering sizes continued well into 2022. In response to this, the New Zealand government invested $121 million into the arts sector, administered through Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage through a range of different funds.

A number of pandemic-specific creative projects emerged during this time, including the mini documentary series Portraits, showcasing different Asian creatives in Tāmaki Makaurau, and artist Vanessa Mei Crofskey’s work at Artspace Aotearoa as part of the New Artists Show 2020, Collateral Damage, which replicated “the ways that popular media has aligned images of East Asian women with Covid-19”.

The Making Histories programme at Te Papa sought to share under-represented communities experiences of the pandemic, including amplifying the stories of Asian communities in, and connected to, Aotearoa. This included workshops and interviews with groups such as migrants and international students, and communities that formed to make important COVID-19 information accessible to migrants in Aotearoa. One of the outcomes was the publication of The Pandemic Chronicles, a series of online comics based on research interviews, which offered “a glimpse into the experiences of people of ethnic Chinese background who lived through the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

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Last updated: 5 March 2024 Suggest an Edit