Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Return of the Free China Junk 2015

Directed by Robin Greenberg Aotearoa

A historic wooden Chinese sailing junk that crossed the Pacific in 1955 makes an even more improbable return journey after the family of its original sailors campaign to save it from the scrapheap and bring it home.

Jul 26

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Aug 04

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Aotearoa New Zealand In English and Mandarin with English subtitles
96 minutes DCP

Director, Producer


Chen Wen-chin
John Chrisstoffels


Peter Metcalf


Chen Deng-hui


James Kimo West


Dione Chen
Reno Chen
Wen-Yan Chiau
Paul Chow
Marco Chung
Loo-Chi Hu aka 'Huloo'
Laurence Lwun-syin Lwo
Calvin Mehlert
Diane Shipway
Lung Yingtai
Hans Van Tilburg


Featuring a Q+A with director and producer Robin Greenberg.

World Premiere

When Robin Greenberg embarked on Huloo (2008), her loving film portrait of the Christchurch tai chi master Loo-Chi Hu (aka Huloo), she took on a much bigger story than she knew. In her next film, The Free China Junk (2010), she traced the amazing journey he and five mates made from Taiwan to San Francisco in 1955, crossing the Pacific in a wooden Chinese sailing junk. In effect escaping martial law in Taiwan, they had the nerve to persuade the authorities to back their adventure, making their boat the national entrant in a Trans-Atlantic (sic) race.

In this new film Dione Chen, the daughter of Huloo’s junk-mate Reno, heads an international effort to rescue the historic junk before it’s turned into firewood in California and return it to Taiwan. It takes heroic persistence to make it happen, but Dione’s project finds support on both sides of the Pacific, and crucially from a Taiwan ready to embrace its conflicted past. By the time Huloo and his two surviving junkmates, all in their 80s, rejoin the junk at their original point of departure, you may be as moved as they are by the cohesion of resources and goodwill that’s gone into keeping their legend alive.