Friday, October 28, 2011

New Zealand Poll Tax Payers

Poll Tax Family History Research

Remaining legible Poll Tax payer records for the period 1888 to 1930, collected at the Port of Wellington.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pioneers from the East: First Chinese Families in Austin

According to the 1875 Census there were 20 Chinese living in Austin. Most of these were men who left China to find work in order to support their families. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, they could not bring over their wives or children. These men worked mainly in the laundry or restaurant business. That was the beginning of Asian presence in our city.

As displayed in this photo exhibit, the individuals and families who ended up in Austin built a life for themselves by opening up businesses and immersing themselves into the community. All of their hard work paved the way for future immigrants and Asian Americans who settled down in Austin.

Beginning in the 1870's the Chinese population in Travis County grew rather slowly until there was a large jump from 94 to 332 in the 1960's to the 1970's. Today, we have over 10,000 Chinese Americans in Austin working in many different industries. They share their culture and heritage and are constantly contributing to the great success of our city.

All of the families featured in the photo exhibit have archival collections or biography files at the Austin History Center. These donated items were acquired through the Asian American Liaison program and can be accessed in our Reading Room by utilizing the Asian American Resource Guide.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The History of Chinese Growers in New Zealand

The Dominion Federation of NZ Chinese Commercial Growers Inc. have nearly completed a set of books about the history of New Zealand Chinese Growers from 1866-2011.


Chinese Market Gardeners in New Zealand

The book travels through each major region where there were communities of Chinese market gardeners. In the growers’ own words, the book presents their stories, their experiences and their thoughts on the life of a grower.


A History of the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers

The Dominion Federation was established in 1943 and since then it has been the representative body of Chinese market gardeners throughout New Zealand. This book covers the Federation’s history including its formation, the challenges it has faced and its achievements over the years.

Both of these books will be of interest to Chinese growers and their families; those associated with the vegetable growing industry, members of the Chinese community, and the general public.

Pre-orders available now

Howe Young, 153 Union Road, R.D. 3, PUKEKOHE, 2678 New Zealand 09 2389612 , fax: 09 2388813

Profile of Authors:

Lily Lee

Lily Lee (Ho Li Li) born in Auckland in 1940 is a second generation Chinese New Zealander. Her mother and sister arrived as war refugees. Lily grew up on a market garden in Mangere during the late 1940s to 1960s. Lily graduated in Geography from Auckland University in 1961. She taught in primary and secondary schools for a number of years before joining the Ministry of Education as a Liaison Officer in 1989. She spent 17 years working in the school sector before retiring in 2005. In 2008 to 2010 she was invited to work with Asian communities for the Ministry of Social Development. In 1963, Lily visited her parent’s village of Gum Kei, Zhong Shan and gained a better appreciation of her culture, language and heritage. Over the years she has returned a number of times to China documenting her family history.

Ruth Lam

Ruth Lam, born in 1956, is a third generation Chinese New Zealander of Jung Seng descent. She is married to Alex (Pak Hung) who for many years has been market gardening successfully at Pukekawa. Ruth often assisted in the garden while bringing up their family of four children. Ruth has also been involved with local community groups including the Plunket Society and the Pukekawa School PTA. She co-edited the 1995 Pukekawa School Centenary book. In 1998, Ruth completed a Master of Arts degree in Education, with Honours from the University of Auckland. She then worked at the University on research projects to improve children’s reading. In recent years Ruth worked for the Franklin District Library Trust as a Customer Services Manager. It was during her time at the library that Ruth developed an interest in the history of Chinese market gardening in the Pukekohe district. Through this project, Ruth has enjoyed using her research skills to contribute to the preservation of the history of Chinese New Zealanders.

Nigel Murphy

Nigel Murphy is a sixth generation New Zealander of Irish-German-English descent. He was born in 1958. He holds a Master degree in History. He has studied Chinese New Zealand history for over 25 years and has been involved in the Chinese New Zealand community as secretary of the Wellington Chinese Association and chair of the Wellington Chinese Language School. His publications include ‘The Poll Tax in New Zealand: a research report’ which was published in 1993 and 2003, and a 'Guide to Laws and Policies relating to the Chinese in New Zealand 1871-1997' which was published in 2008. He co-authored the 2005 ‘Aliens at My Table: Asians as New Zealander see them’ with Manying Ip. He also contributed chapters to 'Unfolding history, emerging identity: the Chinese in New Zealand' and 'Dragon and the Taniwha: Maori and Chinese in New Zealand' published in 2009. He was a research librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library for 25 years. In 2002 he was seconded to the Office of Ethnic Affairs as a researcher and historian to support the Chinese poll tax apology reconciliation process. Between 2007 and 2010 he was an historian with the Waitangi Tribunal.

History of Chinese New Zealand Growers

The New Zealand Chinese Growers’ Federation
In 1867, just one year after the first group of Chinese goldminers arrived in Otago, the first Chinese market garden was established in New Zealand. Since then Chinese New Zealanders have formed the backbone of New Zealand’s vegetable-growing industry. Chinese growers were, and still are, an integral part of the market gardening industry in New Zealand. Their history provides multi-faceted insights into a range of social, political and community changes spanning 140 years.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1914 map of Asia

1914 map of Asia.jpg From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, October 1, 2011


(Century Magazine) Some of the keenest and purest humour and some of the wittiest sallies I have ever heard have fallen from the lips of Chinamen in lower New York. I well remember the amused and contemptuous look with which a Chinaman once said, Melican man savee [understand Chinaman allee same number one fool. Chinaman savee Melican man allee same. Chinaman every time gettee top side Melican man" which does not contain a reference to pugilism, but merely means that in a battle of wits the Chinaman "sees through" the American man, and will come out on the "top side." They are very quick at repartee, and their black eyes will sparkle with amusement and fun if you jest with them, or when they start the ball rolling among themselves. They dwell together for years in the same apartments, happy and comfortable. They minister to one another in sickness, bury a relative or neighbour when dead without calling on public charities for help, and in the case of a relative assume the support of the family of the dead man when he is gone. These people these much-derided people spend hours together in one another's apartments, conversing together, eating together, sometimes smoking the long waterpipe, always with a pot of steaming tea between them. In two years I have seen thousands of such groups, but never yet have I found these men drinking liquor together. I have found them playing games sometimes, but not always, gambling; have found them playing their musical instruments, which are harmonious to them, however much they may lack of melody to other ears; or have found them reading or discussing the last Hong Kong or Shanghai daily; but I repeat I have never found them drinking liquor, or in any degree under the influence of intoxicants. The Chinaman celebrates his wedding, not by a drunken carousal, but by the finest feast that his pocket-book can command, to which not only his immediate relatives are invited, but all who have the slightest claim of friendship upon him. A Chinaman who was recently married in Mott Street gave three large feasts in as many restaurants, entertaining several hundred people at each before he had gone the round of his acquaintances and friends. Yet this man was not one of the most prosperous ones. A child's birthday is like wise celebrated with a feast, the wife entertaining her friends in the family home, while her husband entertains his friends at his place of business or in a public restaurant. A Chinaman trusts his friends to an extent that we would consider almost imbecile. Among them money is loaned without intereet and without any Avritten acknoAvledgment or witnesses. If a man is short and appeals to his cousin or his friend to help him, that friend will divide up without specifying a time for repayment. If the man is sick or poor the creditor, in all probability, will never mention the matter again, and will certainly not ask for its return while the debtor refrains from gambbng or opium -smoking, aud honestly does his best. I have known men to be for a time without employment, and while they were trying to obtain it, if they conformed to the strict moral code of Chinese , they were helped by the various cousins with gifts of money sufficient to support them until work was obtained and not only to support themselves, but their families also. And then, as "turn about is fair play," they were expected to be equally generous with some one else. One amusing incident of Chinese generosity recently occurred under my notice. A man who had been out of work for some time, and had beeu liberally helped by his friends, tried in every possible way to earn money. One day he found an attractive Newfoundland puppy up town, and purchased the dog for a dollar. He brought it home for his wife and baby to see, gleefully announcing that he would sell the puppy for two, free dollar" to some of his countrymen. He afterwards started out, with the dog under his arm, in search of his hoped-for customer. He was soon surrounded by admiring Chinese, and the first man who got the dog in his arms, quite unaware of his friend's financial scheme, begged him to give it to him. Thereupon the would-be dog merchant cheerfully presented the canine to his friend, explaining to his wife afterwards "Of course, he askee dog, me give him. Me no got bad heart for friend." It was perfectly proper that he should make a present of the dog at his friend's request, and he did so without hesitation. Perhaps in these things I need not stoop to contrast tho Chinese with the lower classes of Irish, Italians, Hebrews or Germans, but may go somewhat higher and compare them with the American's, who are the outcome of generations of enlightenment, the progeny of ancestors of strict piety and principles of honesty and integrity, and may point out that in generosity and kindness to his brother the Chinese strangely outstrip us. 'Some of our immigrants become paupers, or dependents on public or private charity in some form, and many others are, or become, criminals. The percentage of foreigners in our hospitals, asylums and penal institutions is overwhelming. But the Chinese make little call upon us for philanthropy, and that only for medical help. Little by little these people are coming to see the superiority of our medical treatment, and in cases of severe sickness they will sometimes turn to our hospitals for help. But they ask no other aid from us. If a Chinaman needs any monetary assistance, his countrymen help him without burdening our public philanthropies. It is not uncommon for the men of one clan, or friends from diiierent clans, to band together to establish a loan fund, every man giving so much towards it week by week. This is loaned to needy men, without security or interest, and when repaid it is loaned again and thus many a man is carried through a sickness or set up in business, ancl outsiders are none the wiser. Let us contrast these foreign immigrants from another point of view that of their value in the labour market. Of late years there has been a constant cry against "Chinese cheap labour." Whatever may have been the price put upon Chinese labour when the great raihvays of the West were built by these people, to-day it is evident to all who have studied the question that there is no such thing as Chinese cheap labour." Chinese laundries charge higher rates than domestic laundries. Chineselaundrymen command higher prices than laundresses of other nationalties. A Chinaman earns ordinarily from eight to fifteen dollars a week and his board and lodging. The white or coloured laundress makes from four to ten dollars a week, without board or lodging. The Chinaman works from eight o'clock in the morning until one or two o'clock at night. Sometimes he washes, sometimes he starches, sometimes he irons; but he is always at it, not tireless, but persevering in spite of weariness and exhaustion. Other labourers clamour for a working-day of eight hours. The Chinaman patiently works seventeen, takes care of his relatives in China, looks after his own poor in America, and pays his bills as he goes along. In the Chinese store ten dollars per week is the lowest sum paid for a man of all work. In a Chinese restaurant the lowest wage paid to a kitchen boy is twenty dollars per month and board. Chinese cooks will not go to American families for less than forty dollars per month, and they rarely ever stay for that sum. This, then, is Chinese cheap labour a cheap labour of which ordinary people cannot avail themselves. But," perhaps you may say, in considering this topic, there are certainly many evils in Chinatown." So there are. Gambling is an evil, whether the gambler be a white, black or yellow man. But to show you that the yellow gambler is at least no worse than the black or the white gambler, I will say that as a Christian missionary I am able to enter freely all the gambling rooms of Chinatown, and go among the men, being treated everyAvhere with respect and courtesy, a thing which I could not do among any other people on the continent. Again, opium-smoking is an evil an evil offset by the use of intoxicants among our natives and among foreign peoples of other climes. Among the opium-smokers I can go with perfect freedom, bearing Christian literature, and with an invitation to our mission upon my lips. But I could not go into an American saloon with the same safety or impunity Among the Chinese I am safe from fear of insult or annoyance, be they good or bad men. It is not so among some white peoples. There the missionary must curtail many efforts and walk with cautious steps. But you say, There is the terrible Hip Shing Tong, the high-binders' society." Yes, even in New York this branch of the evil society exists; but against that let me place the imported Mafia of Italy, the Nihilism of Russia, the anarchism of Germany and Italy and while they weigh one against the other, let us remember that while the Hip Shing Tong may sometimes become the instrument of private vengeance for personal wrongs, tho Anarchist Club and the Nihilist Society hul their death-dealing ways at great social and political institutions, and attack and destroy the pure and innocent without reason or cause.

Star , Issue 5778, 23 January 1897, Page 2



Restaurants are very numerous in Chinese cities. The cook stands almost on the sidewalk and fries the food in great pots of boiling fat to a beautiful brown and places it on trays to tempt the passerby. All the food is eaten with chop-sticks from bowls. Rice is served in buckets, and an average Chinaman will eat great quantities of rice mixed with cooked meat and vegetables, and many cups of tea. They eat very rapidly, holding the bowl up to the mouth; they seem to push the rice in the mouth and swallow it. The Chinese are fond of eggs that have been packed in salt and ashes from ten to twenty years. When these eggs are exposed for sale they are as black as coal. Birds-nest soup is another dainty. There is a certain bird that builds her nest high on the cliffs. She fastens her nest to the rocks with a sort of gelatine made in her mouth. It is this jelly that is used to make the soup. Fish is much used, salted and 'sun-dried and fresh. Also squids and the arms of the octopus. Chicken and pork are largely used, cut m small pieces, as well as vegetables, also cut to fit chop-sticks.

The Chinese can do wonderful work. They embroider on. silk in gold or natural colors. They make delicate filigree silver work. They carve ivory balls, and five or six balls within each other, with fine and accurate workmanship. Of course, the inside balls have all to be carved through the small openings in the outside balls. Whole elephants' tusks are carved with trees and animals and landscapes. They cut and carve the jade stone into wonderful and curious shapes. Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 7 October 1914, Page 3



A large meeting of hotel and restaurant employe's was lately held at Central Hotel, to take steps for prevtfnting the wholesale employment of Chinese in hotels and restaurants. It was pointed out in forcible language by the various speakers that the Chinese were squeezing themselves into positions hitherto occupied by Europeans only, and that if vigorous action were not taken, in the course of a few' years New Zealand would be as badly off as is California at the present time, where the Chinese take the place of European cooks, waiters, and. even laundresses. A resolution was passed by the meeting thanking the proprietors of the Evening Chronide for sending a reporter to the meeting) and soliciting the support of that journal in aid of the movement to stem the advance of the "Yellow Agony" in New Zealand. We have already written with great emphasis, on this burning question. We shall continue to use every lawful means to keep the' Chinese from ruining the industrial classes of this fair young colony. The Chinese cook or waiter works for smaller pay then a European could live upon. The Mongolian has only himself to maintain, whilst the European has a wife and family to support. Moreover the Chinaman will be as humble as a slave, whilst the. European, -whilst doing his work like a man, will not submit to be trampled on by his master. It is the duty of the people of New Zealand to discountenance this slavish spirit. We area nation of freemen, and we must cultivate the feelings of freeman through all ranks of Bociety even to the verv humblest. Again the money saved by the European is spent in the colony whilst the Chinaman hoards up his earnings to the last farthing and takes them back to China. We call upon the public of New Zealand to show in an unmistakeable manner their disapprobation of the conduct of those hotelkeepers who employ Chinese labor.
Poverty Bay Herald, Volume VI, Issue 911, 3 October 1879, Page 2


Americans who have been influenced by the Orient to the extent of taking their tea clear, without milk or sugar, will be astonished to lea.m that the Occident is now bent on teaching the Chinese to use milk with their decoction of tea leaves^— and condensed milk at that (says an American exchange). An enterprising condensed-milk company is pushing the campaign, and expects to be successful. This concern already has introduced condensed-milk ice cream to the Chinese, and they like it so well that many of the restaurants keep it always ready. Practically no fresh milk is to be had in China, although the natives seem familiar enough with the virtues of both the fresh and the condensed article. Perhaps after all the. Orientals have taken their tea clear because there was no milk to put in it, and not because they thought the addition of milk ruined the beverage. Evening Post, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 90, 17 April 1915, Page 11