Saturday, June 4, 2011



Thomas Quoi is one of tho most intelligent of all the Chinese in this part of tho colony. He is a shrewd business man, and talks English like a native. He also takes a keen interest in fche welfare of his brother Chinamen, and is looked up to by them as an authority in most matters. He runs sixpenny dining-rooms at the lower end of Queen -street, and receives a large umount of patronage. Quoi is married to an Auckland girl, and Mrs Quoi appears to transact the office business, while her husband superintends the culinary department. The dining rooms are scrupulously clean, and the attendants aro obliging and active. All this was taken in at a glance when our reporter called upon tho proprietor yesterday afternoon, and something else was also observed. Ab the rear of the dining rooms there stood a perambulator, evidently a product of local industry, but the juvenile Quoi was not visible. In fche office, where fche reporter was introduced to Mrs Quoi, were a handsome piano and a variety of ornaments. Mrs Quoi is a musician.

Tho reporter did not call upon Mr and Mrs Quoi to pry into their business and private afiairs, however. He wanted some information on the Chinese question, as it is now rather unpleasantly forced upon us, and he went to the right shop.

THE TE ANAU'S CONSIGNMENT. Can you tell me something about the Chinese influx? asked the reporter as he sat comfortably at a table with note-book spread open. Oh, yes, replied the obliging Thomas, I can do that. Do you know anything aboub tho 100 Chinese coming by the Te Anau ? No; I know nothing about them. I heard about it. Do you-think any of them are coming to Auckland ? Not to my knowledge, and I generally hear when any new chums aro coming out. Do you know that the Chinee are likely to be prevented from landing in the colonies? Well, now, look here (laughing). The Europeans are frightened that more Chinese should come here, ain't they . Yes.

And our peoplo more so. I see, a fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind. I suppose there's not enough work for the Chinamen already in the colony, ls that so.


That's so. Tho few Chinese that are here now can barely get a living, How many Chinese are there in Auckland ?

About 100.How are they employed ?At gardening principally. What do they earn by gardening as a rule ?

They used to earn on an average from £2 to £3 a week." Now they do not earn 10s. The new chums will fare badly then, I reckon.

They cannot a living if they do come out. Tho Chincse at Arch Hill are in a very bad state just now. They aro not earning tucker. How is it that Chinese work is so much cheaper than Europeans? . As gardeners they work harder. They work from daylights to dark—they do not look at the clock to see when it is time to stop. You cannot get Europeans to work in gardens. The job is not good enough for them. They would rather loaf about the streets hungry. I know of it in my own business. Europeans come to me time after time, say they are starving, and that they will work willingly for three meals a day and their board. And I suppose you give them a chance at that?

Yes, and when I give them a show they work two days and then they are full up. How long have you been in the colonies ? About sixteen years. You have made your fortune, have you not?

I lost £1,400 in the Metropolitan Club. You refer to the dining-rooms in Victoria streets East ?

Yes. I was doing well when I shut out the public, and let some gents rent the place. I was to get £21 for the diningroom and £7 a week rental for the building, but I never got as many shillings. It was not a success. THE POLL TAX. Now, said the reporter, what abou tthe poll tax ? I see £10 a head won't keep your people out. Neither will £20 or £30 or Oh, but £100 has been suggested. I suppose that would be a clincher? No: £100 would not keep the Chinese out if they want to come here. And yet you say the Chinese are starving in the colony ? That will not be for long, and times may get better. But if the Chinese can raise these large sums of money, why. do they not stay at home and enjoy themselves ? Some of them have to clear out, you see.

What! criminals?

No ! Not criminals. No criminals have come to the colonies—well, except one or two.

Why have they to leave China then ? Well, I'll tell you. In China there are powerful people that come of distinct races. If one tribe is stronger than the other then the weaker must suffer. These weaker ones are so persecuted that they prefer to come to the colonies to get greater liberty. Then some of your immigrants may be moned men ?

Yes, a great many that como out to Australia and New Zealand have heaps of money and come out here to start business. Then where does the criminal class immigrate to ? Not to the colonies, but to some place near Honolulu — I forgot the name ; these people are mostly slaves bound in Hong Kong, and they go away 200 or 300 at a time in vessels. You'll only find one of these in New Zealand. In Auckland ?. No; atOtaki. Ho is frightened to go home. Well, let's get back to the poll-tax. I think it is a mistake. Why ? Because, as I said before, no tax will keep the Chinese out if they want to come here. RATHER SELFISH. What would you suggest; yourself now ? Why not say that no Chinese shall come to the colony ? I'm afraid you are selfish, Quoi: Well, you say there are too many here now. Well, stop it. You object to the poll-tax ? I think it is very wrong altogether. England and China are supposed to be friendly nations. England is a clever nation —I call her a clever rogue. How is this, Mr Quoi ? We do not require to be protected from Europeans in China. We do not stop them coming into China with a £10 poll tax.
A very good argument Mr Quoi. But Europeans do not work so desperately cheap that you Chinese cannot get a living do they? Since the tax was raised to £10 a head in 1880 or 1881 thousands of Chinese have come to New Zealand and Australia.

How does a poor Chinaman manage to emigrate ?

Oh people can raise money at heme, and pay it back after they come out. They have clubs at home for that purpose. But if they starve here how are they going to pay then' money back ? Well, that game is played out now, lt only means starvation for new chums.


Do you know anything about these false naturalisation papers?

Yes, that's worked right enough. I blamo tho Custom-house officers. They're not smart enough.

But Custom-house officers find a difficulty in distinguishing one Chinaman from an other, you see. Nonsense ! You tell me that if I went home any other Chinamen could come out here under my name ?

Probably not, because you. talk first class English. And every Chinaman that goes home can talk some English. The Chinamen that comw out are nearly all brand new chums.

Well, how would you trip the swindlers up? I would ask them a few questions—what part of the colony thoy were in before, what people they knew there, and if thoy could not give sensible answers in English I would know that they were cheats. I know one set of naturalisation papers that went from here to China and back again three times. Every timo I expected the newchum to be collared, but he got in safe enough, and nobody was more surprised than myself. I'm afraid we'll have to keep you all out. Well, suppose all the Chinamen leave the colony, you'll find you'll be ten times worse off than you are now. You would not be able to buy a bit of greenstuff for lovo or money—the Europeans will not grow it. A few years ago you had tpay 4s and 5s for a dozen of cabbages; now you can get a dozen for ls, or even 6d.


People say, continued Mr Quoi, that Chinamen are no good. They say that Chinamen are dirty. Good heavens! I have seen some English families, and, by Jove, I was disgusted. I have seen such dirty people amongst the Maoris and amongst the Europeans that I could hardly credit it. I have seen Europeans living in a houso with fowls in one corner, a pig in another, and the people looked as if thoy did not wash themselves once in twelve months. One day I was out shooting in the country near ,and I became very hungry, 1 went into a farmhouse, and the people were so dirty that I could not oat with them. I went out into a field and made a meal on turnips. You'll find dirty peoplo in all classes. Once you give a dog a bad name "—you know the rest —everybody goes for him and gives him a kick. The Chinaman has got a bad name.


"You hear people say," continued Mr Quoi, " Why don't Chinamen settle down and get married and spend their money in the country?" Chinamen have to pay their rent like other people, they have to buy clothes and tucker— is that not spending their money ? And why will they not marry in the colonies? I'll tell you. Suppose a Chinaman gets acquainted with a nice European girl and he says to himsolf, " I'd like to marry that girl." He goes out with her for a walk, and all her friends jeer and laugh at her, and make her ashamed. How can a Chinaman get a wife when people act like that ? Tho reporter "gave it up," and having obtained all that he wanted from Mr Quoi bade that courteous gentleman adieu. Auckland Star, Volume XIX, Issue 106, 5 May 1888, Page 5

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