Marking milestones at Moon Festival 2019

Celebrating the third anniversary of the arrival of the Chinese heritage types.

Now a beloved Wai-te-ata Press tradition, more than 30 guests gathered on Friday 13th September, 2019, to celebrate the Moon Festival (中秋節) and Chinese Scholar Studio project milestones.

The Printer, Dr. Sydney Shep, opened the celebrations with a few words and welcomed our friends and supporters, old and new, including our Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Sarah Leggott, guests and friends from the Chinese Heritage Poll Tax Trust, New Zealand Chinese Friendship Society, NZ Chinese Cultural Arts Association, the Wellington Xiamen Association, the Confucius Institute, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, and many others.

Composition featuring 3D-printed type
The hanzi characters 秋/autumn, 雨/rain, 天/sky and 明/bright were selected by graphic designer Michelle Huang from a classic Tang poem, Staying in the Mountains on an Autumn Night《山居秋暝》 by Wang-Wei (王維). Image credit: Ya-Wen Ho.
A guest prints a keepsake on a portable letterpress kit
The pictured kit is an early version of the highly successful portable kits developed by Mr. Gao Peng-Xiang, Taiwan. Image credit: Ya-Wen Ho.

The Moon Festival celebrations are always lively gatherings full of activities. This year, guests could print a token which features 3D-printed type, manufactured in collaboration with Leo Browning, as an exploration of the digital handmade and could print with a range of portable kits. The characters capture the essence of a classic Tang poem, Staying in the Mountains on an Autumn Night:


Mountains empty after a fresh rain,
At nightfall, the weather feels like autumn.
A bright moon shines through pines;
A clear spring flows over rocks.
Bamboos echo as women return from washing;
Lotus move as boats come home from fishing.
Spring grasses always wither when autumn comes.
Will you be staying longer, my fine young friend?

Translated by Geoffrey Waters, Michael Farman and David Lunde, collected in 300 Tang Poems.

A delicious offering of moon cakes, in many flavours
A delicious offering of treats – moon cakes in many flavours. Image credit: Chrissy Boulton.

Of course, no Moon Festival celebration would be complete without moon cakes! It was wonderful to spend an afternoon in good company, with good food and even better cheer. We’re already looking forward to next year’s celebrations!

Guests read their Moon Festival keepsakes
(from left) Guests Lynda Park and Keith Chan with their Moon Festival token. Image credit: Chrissy Boulton

As it was also the third anniversary of the arrival of the Chinese heritage types, Dr. Shep also warmly acknowledged the Chan family, who have been staunch supporters of our various curatorial, research, and engagement activities and the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers, She also acknowledged the ongoing involvement of the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers, whose type forms the basis of our unique collection and on whose behalf we are shaping a dynamic future for their legacy.

Guests converse with each other at Wai-te-ata Press' Moon Festival celebrations
Printer's Devils Fridays old hands share their printing skills with Moon Festival guests. Image credit: Chrissy Boulton.

Research assistant Ya-Wen Ho also shared an abundance of celebration-worthy milestones such as the Chinese heritage type collection’s growing international recognition.

The collection is attracting overseas researchers and institutions to visit Wai-te-ata Press. We are eagerly anticipating a consultation visit from several Taiwanese experts, who will also be presenting at a special panel on the transmission and localisation of Chinese letterpress fonts and artefacts at the Dragon Tails conference on 20–23 November, 2019. You can read the draft programme and register now.

Opportunities have arisen to weave Wai-te-ata Press’ collection into expansive, global diaspora stories to be told through international platforms. During her research trip to Wellington, Hong Kong Open Printshop’s Programme Director, Sau-Mui Yung, visited Wai-te-ata Press and commended the completeness and quality of the Growers Journal documentation archived at the National Library. Given our heritage types’ origins in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Open Printshop has invited Wai-te-ata Press to tell our collection’s story at Impact 11, an international printmaking conference to be held in Hong Kong, September 2020.