Saturday, 3 August 2013

New Zealand Family History Fair: Chinese Research

I met up with a very interesting lady, Helen Wong, today at the Fair.

Helen has written a booklet: Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Resources in New Zealand and New Zealand Chinese Celebrating New Year Past and Present. These were expanded from two presentations Helen has done previously at the Auckland City Library.

These are subjects that I don’t know much about and it was interesting talking with her. The booklet tells a bit of the history of the Chinese in New Zealand.

It says that in 1866, 12 Chinese came over from Victoria, Australia. By 1869 it says there were 20, 000 Chinese in New Zealand.

I knew of the White Australia policy and the problems it had created there and by the sounds of it there were similar thoughts in New Zealand although it looks as though they handled it differently, again not fairly but differently.

The following information is also taken from Helen’s book: “The New Zealand Government instituted a Poll Tax which was meant to restrict Chinese immigration. In 1881 it was ten pounds per Chinese person and by 1896 it was 100 pounds which was the equivalent to around six years earnings for the average Chinese person”

Helen was giving a presentation at the Fair on Chinese research and judging by the number of people who told me they were researching Chinese ancestry should have been well attended.

Helen has written another book about Chinese in the Taranaki area. Helen also maintains a message board for Chinese research.

I did a bit of Googling as this topic sounded interesting and found another website which has a range of resources relating to the Chinese in New Zealand.

It is good to see such research being done and published.