Thursday, July 13, 2006


An Australian city founded by Hakkas and CantoneseArarat, a small city with a population of about 12,500, is situated 203kmwest of Melbourne, Australia. The area around Ararat city producesfirst-class wool, wheat and wine. Textiles are manufactured in the city,along with readymix concrete timber milling. Important local industries include light engineering, printing and a local abattoir. Ararat, the only city or town founded by the Chinese in Australia, wasestablished by Hakkas and Cantonese in March 1855, due to desperation. Gold was discovered in 1848 in California. Thousands of Chinese joined inthe gold rush starting from 1849 to California (Jiu4 Jin Shan or Old GoldMountain). A few years later, gold was also discovered in MelbourneAustralia in 1851 (Xin Jin Shan or New Gold Mountain). Hoping to make afortune, many Hakka and Cantonese from Guangdong province went toAustralia to dig for gold. An English contractor signed on about seven hundred Chinese peasants ofHakka and Cantonese descent from Dongguan county. He promised to lead themto the new gold fields not far from Melbourne. They sailed through HongKong for more than two months and finally arrived at Port Melbourne. With a pole swinging with two puddles of clothes and foodstuffs, on eachman's shoulder, they began the journey by walking to the gold fields,following their English contractor. They were walking towards the GreatDividing Range. For days, all along the way they encountered nothingexcept desolate wilderness and kangaroos. After non-stop walking for morethan 200km they were very tired and decided to rest for a day. Theythought that their destination should not be far away. When the sun rose next day they could not find their contractor who haddisappeared during the night, heading back to Melbourne alone. They werepoor and stranded in the bush, with nowhere to go. Fortunately, they hadbrought along with them enough provisions to last them for sometime. However, they were without water and they would die of thirst if they didnot find a waterhole quickly. Luckily they found found a little riverwhich was later named the Hopskin River. They decided to rest for a fewdays to recuperate before they walked back to Melbourne. They cooked theirrice near the river and did their washing in the river. "I found gold! I found gold!", a man screemed.A man, who was bathing in the river, was so happy and excited that helaughed like a Kookaburra (An Australian native bird, nicknamed thelaughing bird). In no time the 700 odd pairs of hands were panning in theriver. They panned day and night. They stopped only because they wereexhausted. Thousands of grams of gold was produced by these men. Theycalled the gold they produced Canton Lead. They built makeshift huts withthe intention to settle down there. They took them to Melbourne to selland news of their new discovery spread like wild fire. Within a short period thousands of European and Chinese swarmed into thisnew Chinese settlement. It started one of Australia's greatest goldrushes. During a peak period ninety-three kilograms of gold was taken inthree weeks. Sixty thousand people were squatting in a settlement, withone in six were either Hakka or Cantonese, eight kilometers south-eastfrom a little hill called Mount Ararat, which meant Ark (as in Noah'sArk). Later this Hakkas and Cantonese founded settlement was named Ararat. One hundred and forty years later in 1998 there are only forty Chineseliving in Ararat. They are the fifth generation Chinese in Australia.Peter O'Rorke, a gentleman of about 45 years old, is the present mayor ofArarat. The city of Ararat is planning to build a memorial museum to becalled "Chinese Golden Pagoda" to commemorate the seven hundred odd Hakkasand Cantonese who founded the city. So far they have raised over sixhundred thousand dollars. Within a year or two the Chinese Golden Pagodamuseum will be ready. CHUNG Yoon-Ngan.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

refugee status

Linda Chanwai-Earle - Writer

Some problems that chinese people overcame

Chines in NZ

The 19th century
The 19th century was the era of the Chinese goldseekers in Otago and on the West Coast. They were rural male Cantonese who first came over from Victoria, Australia, and later direct from China. Initially, in 1865, they were responding to invitations to rework the Otago goldfields; from there they spilled over to the West Coast. Their numbers reached a peak of over 5,000 between 1874-81. Despite their peasant background they were intrepid and determined adventurers. Sojourners by choice, their competitiveness, different racial origin and culture generated opposition. Their aim was to save about 100 pounds to take home to China; their strategy to adapt only as much as necessary until they left. They survived by their cooperative groupings of kinsfolk, clan and counties of origin.

DOO, UNUI 1873-1875? - 1940
Tze Ming is still struggling to live up to the Asian IT-geek stereotype. She is also far worse at math than anyone has ever realised.

Ng Waishing

Wellingford Ng-Waishing pads across his office in his socks, carrying handfuls of onions. Outside paddocks of dark furrowed soil stretch away into their green matrix: Pukekohe’s pastoral landscape. Wellingford is third generation New Zealand-born Chinese. He took over the family business with brothers Clinton and Franklin in the mid-80s. Since those days his dad’s modest holding and single packing shed have burgeoned into four cavernous processing and packing plants and 728 hectares of land producing onions, butternut squash, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, silverbeet and several lines of Bio-Gro certified organic produce. Onions represent 30 per cent of Ng-Waishing’s exports and squash comes a close second.The Ng-Waishing operation – one of the biggest of its kind – may not be as sexy as a bio-tech research lab or IT company but it’s authentically, uniquely New Zealand and it sure helps bring home the nation’s economic bacon.Ng-Waishing onions and squash contribute to the $1.9 billion a year we earn from horticultural exports – our fifth-biggest export earner after dairy, tourism, meat and forestry. Onions earn $96 million a year and rank third in the hort export lineup after kiwifruit ($585 million), apples and pears ($344 million) – and ahead of squash ($70 million). They’re a backbone crop – a core ingredient in the potential-packed, knowledge-economy food industry that generates 51 per cent of this country’s export income. Glorious good food is New Zealand’s real whiz bang business and our natural advantage.

North & South magazine’s August 2002 edition.

The Moulding of the Silent Immigrants: New Zealand Born Chinese$file/LiuShuengAppendix.pdf

NZ Chinese 2001

Chinese Ethnic Group
Chinese ethnic group is the largest Asian ethnic group, comprising 44% of the Asian population and 3% of the total NZ population in 2001.
of those identifying with the Chinese ethnic group were born in NZ.
the 78,519 people in the Chinese ethnic group who were born overseas, 12% had lived in NZ for less than one year. The majority of these people were under 25 years of age.
of all the Asian ethnic groups, the Chinese ethnic group experienced the largest numerical increase in population between 1991 and 2001, up 59,787 or 133%.
median annual income of the NZ-born Chinese population ($20,200) was higher than the median annual income for the overseas-born Chinese population ($7,900) and the total NZ population ($18,500). This reflects the higher labour force participation rate of NZ-born Chinese (75%) compared with both the overseas-born Chinese population (45%) and the total NZ population (67%).

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Our Trojan hoarse after apologetic rounds.

"It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take mean advantage of them." - P. G. Wodehouse

I was pleased as Punch that Helen of Troy apologised to the Samoans for the fatal dosages of Spanish flu that was visited upon their people by some of our thoughtless countrymen. It’s been worrying me sick for years. I think I was barely out of my bassinet when my parents told me the awful circumstances perpetrated by people, who by accident of birth, happened to be of New Zealand descent, and had caused the epidemic in the idyllic isles back in 1918.

I recall I made some uncharitable remarks about perhaps the Spanish also being culpable and should at least be taking some share of the blame only to get a cuff over the ear from my pater who told me not to be so insolent. But that’s all in the past; Helen has said sorry and I can sleep more restfully.

Last week, apparently, she also apologised to the gays on my behalf and that has lifted another burden that I had been carrying around for years. I worked out that I was heterosexual I think in about standard six. One of my mates, using the pointed steel end of his compass, managed to drill the tiniest of holes in the aging rusticated weatherboards that separated the boys and girls changing rooms in the old Ladies Bath’s that once graced that section of Queen Elizabeth park that is directly opposite Writeprice. From that tiny aperture we observed the girl’s in our class who were maturing more quickly than we boys and as a direct result we inevitably went on to court, and to marry, and to have children. I can’t swear to this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that those in the queue who missed out because the teacher caught us midstream now live in gay abandon in Parnell. But Helen’s apology has put things straight — and gay - and I am eternally grateful.

Then there was the apology to the Chinese. Again I had blood on my hands. I used to advertise my business as "Long’s, next to Wong’s" and although fruiterer Tommy Wong used to say this was good promotion for his business as well as mine underneath I am sure he was hurting as the memory of the insidious poll tax that his father had to pay for his family to settle in this country, will have lingered.

And there was more to this history. Tommy’s father, old Wong Nam, settled in Masterton and established his fruit and vegetable shop for some years before he could afford to call his wife and two sons to join him from their village in China. On the day of their arrival in, circa 1937, Wong Nam couldn’t leave the shop unattended, so my uncle Frank offered to go down to Wellington and pick them up in my grandfather’s much coveted Plymouth car. Tommy and Charlie have often told me since of the terror they felt when my uncle Frank, who was six-foot-six tall, greeted them on the wharf. The two little kids thought they had arrived in a land of giants. Naturally I was tickled pink when Helen apologised for the disgraceful behaviour of my ancestors.

The Wong’s were lucky their slow boat from China wasn’t diverted to Australia. Over there they don’t apologise for anything. They’re not sorry that they’re not signing the Kyoto protocol like we are, they’ve never felt any remorse that they unjustly hold a couple of rugby trophy’s that we rightfully consider to be ours, and they’re not the least bit penitent that they are going to host the Rugby World cup tournament on their own.

John Howard is the problem. The unrepentant little guy says there is no way he is going to apologise to the aboriginal people for the disgraceful manner in which the settlers treated them when they first arrived on the fatal shores. "The current generation cannot be held responsible for the actions of those who went before" he opines. Now, what sort of logic is that?

Meanwhile Helen ought to prepare for a major state visit. I’d lay odds that the premier of China will arrive on our shore imminently to apologise for the loss of life in this country over many years due to the Hong Kong flu.

Charlie Wong

Candidly comparing the cultural kaleidoscope.
“For one person who dreams of making fifty thousand pounds, a hundred people dream of being left fifty thousand pounds.” - A. A. Milne Last week I went to Charlie Wong’s funeral. I have known Charlie for as far back as I can remember, but it wasn’t until he died that I found out his real name was Hoy Chung. The Chinese bow to European tradition pretty readily. Old Wong Nam, Charlies father, had a fruit and vegetable shop in Queen Street and the backyard of his store backed on to the backyard of my grandfather’s butcher’s shop in Lincoln Road. On a Friday night my mother would invariably take my sister and I to town to “do the shopping.” She would park the car in the alley behind the butcher’s shop and we would access Queen Street by walking through the back of Wong Nam’s shop. The Wong family lived and breathed that business, opening seven days a week, having all their meals there and only going home to sleep. Wong Nam had two sons, Charlie and Tommy, and they would always delight in telling me in later years how in 1938 when they came out with their mother from China to join their father he was too busy looking after the shop to go down to Wellington to pick them up off their slow boat from China. Dad’s brother offered to take my grandfather’s big Plymouth car and pick the boys and their mother up off the ship. My uncle Frank Long was six foot six and Tommy, who was eleven years younger than Charlie, was petrified at the sight of the towering European and wondered if he had come to live in a land of giants. Later on that year Frank joined the Royal Air force in England and was killed when the bomber he was piloting was shot down over Germany in March 1941. Back in those days Chinese immigrants were fleeing the Japanese invasion of their land. Tommy’s wife, Jenny, told me that as a young girl she and her classmates were herded into a school hall by the Japanese and gassed. She cheated death by covering her mouth and escaping. Later, many of those who survived the brutal Japanese occupation were then shot for being property owners by the Chinese communists who showed no mercy to the bourgeoisie. The whole country was purged in their senselessly sadistic cultural revolution. Once they got to New Zealand the Chinese settlers then had to pay the insidious poll tax. But they knew what they had to do to succeed in their adopted country. They needed to work hard, live frugally and invest in property; and they would encourage their children to become high educational achievers. Today the descendants of those original Masterton Chinese families are spread far and wide, operating in some of the world’s most respected financialand educational institutions where they are earning salaries their ancestors could only have dreamed of. A few years back Winston Peters was in full tirade against immigration policies that he reckoned would see Asians ending up owning half the country. Tommy Wong, who now had his own fruit and vege shop next to our meatmarket in Queen Street, (our radio advertising slogan was “Long’s, next to Wong’s”) took me out to the middle of the road in front of our shops early one morning and pointing up and down Queen Street identified all the commercial buildings that were owned by Chinese. The number was staggering. “Asians already own half “bruddy” New Zealand” he said, with an impish giggle. After Charlie was buried at Masterton’s Riverside cemetery we had great difficulty getting back to the funeral parlour on the other side of town for afternoon tea. This was the day of the Hikoi and access to Masterton’s main street was blocked off. I saw the angry young men with their red flags and in some cases covered faces and I compared them, somewhat unfavourably, with the community I was fellowshipping at the funeral with. Worse than that, the parallel with the marchers and the Red Guards was not too big a leap to make. That night Paul Holmes wondered out loud if we might be heading for a civil war. Perhaps I’m being unfair. There was genuine passion in this demonstration, but it seemed to me like wasted energy which would have been better channelled into wealth creation for their dispossessed communities. The cause they champion is unattainable given that an overwhelming majority of the people in our legislative chamber, both Maori and Pakeha, are not the least bit convinced that the original settlers in this land have some God-given right to ownership of the seabed and the foreshore. At the Hikoi’s culmination the next day at parliament we saw placards like “Go back to England” and “Welcome to Your New Landlords” and even a sign conveying the intention to boil and eat those expressing opposition to the Maori claim which were pretty intimidating if you took them seriously. Helen called the protesters haters and wreckers making Don Brash look like one of the tangata whenua. Charlie Wong’s funeral service took less than half an hour. As we had afternoon tea later I could sense most of the participants were eying their watches knowing they needed to get back to their places of production. A few weeks previous I went to the funeral of a dear Maori gentleman at the Te Ore Ore Marae. Thousands attended and the extempore eulogising extended the service to nearly four hours. Later, the mourning will have continued well into the night. Perhaps, in a concerted effort to share more in the wealth of this country, the Maori community need to initiate their own cultural revolution. I was reminded of the old Jewish merchant lying on his deathbed surrounded by his family. With his eyes closed he wantedto know who was at the bedside. “Are you there Mordacai?” “Yes Dad,” “Are you there Ikey?” “Yes Dad.” He went through the names of all of his children to determine their presence or otherwise. When it was clear his whole family had gathered, with a pained look on his face he asked: “Then who the heck is looking after the shop?” 12/5/2004