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.

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