Lynda Chanwai-Earle calls them "hidden histories".
They're the parts of our shared heritage not talked about until recently, things many of us never knew about - the dawn raids, Parihaka, Poll Tax.
"It was buried, and finally it's being taught," Chanwai-Earle says.
The Havelock North High School old girl, playwright and performer is playing her part in shining a light on the dark corners of our combined history.
Her great-grandfather came from Hong Kong to New Zealand in 1907 as a poll tax immigrant, and paid £100 - $24,000 in today's money - for the privilege.
Ninety years later she began cracking open the story and now it's Hawke's Bay's chance to see the result - Ka Shue, one woman, five characters, one musician supporting with a "table of instruments from different cultures and histories".
Ka Shue was the first play by Chanwai-Earle to be published. That was back in the 1990s. It's been performed many times over the years. It's been taught in schools too, and at tertiary level as a set text, opening the door for conversations about immigration, racism, and the multi-layered complexities of our collective past.
The play is personal for the fifth-generation Chinese-New Zealander, who has plundered her family albums ("ka shue" in Cantonese) for stories, although she admits taking creative licence to help carry the narrative along.
But it's also universal, with themes and explorations that will resonate with most New Zealanders, especially those with immigrant ancestors.
"It comes from a position of self-empowerment when you don't sanitise, when you laugh. It's about speaking our truth."
It's not all love and laughs, some of the subject matter is hard hitting and unapologetically so.
"I don't wear rose-coloured glasses ... I refuse to sanitise history because that's a form of racism and misogyny. But I am paying homage to my people, acknowledging the great sacrifices grandparents and great-grandparents made to do the best for their kids.
"It's about being fearless, speaking your truth, taking artistic risks but tempered with artistic responsibility, finding the courage to challenge the audience. I hope [audiences] fall in love with the characters, get an insight, I hope they see the universal truths about migration. We all came in on some form of waka at some point in time."
Composer and musician Nikau Wi Neera, who works alongside Chanwai-Earle in the performing of the piece, is Ngati Toa and Welsh.
"There's a lot going on sonically," he says. "There are different cues for different characters – motifs, signatures – in that way the audience knows where they are, when they are, and who they're with. I hold the audience's hand a little bit."
Chanwai-Earle describes the collaboration between actor and musician, writer and composer as a beautiful relationship: "The music is another character, responding. It's a conversation."
Through the work, Neera plays pipa, taonga puoro, guitar, medicine balls, chimes, gong and a small clay bird flute Chanwai-Earle brought home from China.
Ka Shue gives the audience much to consider and to converse about afterwards. Chanwai-Earle shares these stories with our audiences for the first time.
For more information go to hbaf.co.nz