Eight Pan-Asian female filmmakers’ powerful anthology film illuminates the immigrant experience in Aotearoa New Zealand through the lives of eight Asian women connected by the house they call home.
Following the success of Waru (NZIFF 2017) and Vai (2019), the production team completes the trilogy with anthology film Kāinga, bringing in underrepresented Asian filmmakers to craft eight unique stories chronicling the diverse, ever-changing, yet familiar experiences of Asians trying to make Aotearoa New Zealand their home through five decades.
The house at 11 Rua Road bears witness to a visiting Chinese daughter hoping to see her father; a young Japanese mother’s loneliness and isolation; a Filipino nurse trying to support both her adopted Aotearoa family and her real one in the Philippines; a young Korean girl’s confusion with strangers nosing through her house; an Indian daughter trying to connect with her elderly father through technology, an Iranian wife growing restless with the lack of opportunities as an immigrant; a Tamil Eelam sister looking for old memories and a young Chinese-Kiwi mother’s confrontation with her neighbour.
Kāinga powerfully chronicles the challenges of the immigrant experience in Aotearoa across diverse Asian communities: the inevitability of family separation, the difficulty of reconnecting with your old home while trying to build a new one, the dissatisfaction of being forced to take jobs below the level of your qualifications, and being viewed by some as “The Other,” no matter how Kiwi you are and how long New Zealand has been your home.
Throughout the challenges, these talented filmmakers never lose sight of the joy, love, celebration and belonging as a new future blossoms. Kāinga is a gorgeous celebration of Asian life, as told by the many talented Asian female filmmakers in Aotearoa. — Vicci Ho