Julie Zhu / Loading Docs

East Meets East

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79-year-old Fang Ruzhen immigrated to Auckland to help raise her grandchildren. Fifteen years on English is still a foreign language, but she has found community with other elderly Chinese expats on her weekly bus rides to the Asian supermarkets of East Auckland.

Aotearoa is home for these grandparents, even though their sense of belonging remains elusive in a country that is both familiar and foreign.

Our 3-minute documentary East Meets East has been generously supported by the Loading Docs initiative, along with principal partner NZ on Air, the New Zealand Film Commission, and Te Māngai Pāho.

This suppport means that Loading Docs will give us a total of $4000 plus support with post-production to start us off, but we can't get all of this incredible support without first reaching our Boosted goal of $2000. You can be part of this project too. Your contributions will allow us to hire gear, get professional translations, and pay our talented crew for their time.

Help us give a voice to this humble East Auckland community. Your support means everything. Xie xie ni.

Julie and Tema


Julie Zhu is a fllmmaker, theatre producer and photographer born in Xi'an, China and raised in Auckland. She has a BA (Hons) in Screen Production and a Diploma of Language in Te Reo Māori. Julie has written and directed several short films and was the DOP on Todd Karehana's The Spectacular Imagination of the Pōhara Brothers, which screened in NZIFF 2016 and several indigenous film festivals internationally. She was the 2016 Producer in Residence at Basement Theatre and is highly passionate about using the power of art and storytelling to enable positive social change.

Tema Pua is a writer and producer born in New Zealand of Malaysian-Chinese heritage. She produced and co-directed her first short documentary, Thin Ice, in 2011. More recently, she co-produced Last Late Night Ride, a short comedy thriller, and was the production assistant on Farewell, a moving short docudrama raising awareness on palliative care in New Zealand. Tema works as the marketing and events coordinator for the Directors & Editors Guild of New Zealand. She also has an interest in directing drama and is currently writing two short films.


  • Update #2


    3 days to go! Help us reach $3000!

    We can't say thank you enough to all the wonderful people who have given big or small to support us on our filmmaking journey. It has been amazing to hear from friends and strangers alike how they have personally connected with the story of these Chinese grandparents. Here's one we'd like to share:

    "I think what you guys are doing is really cool and such an important story to tell. I am a Chinese New Zealander as well and my parents still live out east, it's where I grew up most of my youth. Seeing your video makes me think of my grandparents who have passed and I love to hear more from and about other Chinese elders in our communities. All the best with your work and looking forward to the full doco :)"

    We want to do justice to this story and community and to do every one of you proud. We have 3 days left and still want to reach $4000 - nearly there! Please share with and rally your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you again!

    Update #2
  • UPDATE #1


    We reached $2000!

    We can't believe we reached our base goal in just four short days. We are absolutely blown away and incredibly humbled by everyone's support.

    $2000 was our base target which Loading Docs will match dollar for dollar, but our real goal is to reach $4000 (or more!). This money will still go towards hiring the right camera and lenses for our on location shoots around East Auckland, for professional transcriptions and translations, and paying our talented crew for their time.

    We really want this project to go further than just this three minute film. We want to engage different Chinese and migrant communities in meaningful conversations around identity, belonging, and what it means to be an immigrant in Aotearoa NZ today. In order to do this we'd love to hold free screenings and work with different community groups to hold forums and hui after the film is completed. Your donations will continue to support these ongoing dialogues and important kōrero to happen. We believe these are vital in changing mainstream anti-immigration sentiments.

    You can follow our other project updates on our Facebook page for East Meets East here.


    P.S. A few people have asked how the Boosted website works – the main thing to know is that in order to make a donation, you need to ‘join’ Boosted (which is like ‘registering’).

    The reason for this is so the NZ Arts Foundation which supports Boosted can legally send you a receipt. As they are a registered charity, this means that you can legally claim 1/3 of your donations back at the end of the tax year (which is coming up very soon might we add!).

    UPDATE #1

Loading Docs

Loading Docs is a unique New Zealand documentary initiative that aims to captivate and inspire audiences as well as develop and promote New Zealand filmmaking talent. Since launching in 2014 Loading Docs has touched audiences all over the world. Our films have been seen online, on TV, in film festivals... even on airplanes!

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