Poll Tax Descendant (Early Settler) Community: Key Facts
Community dates back to: 1866
Population: ca 18,000 in 2003 (total NZ Chinese population 2003: 105,000)
Fewer than 5,000 between 1867-1945. Did not exceed 10,000 till 1966
Place of origin in China: Three main areas of Guangdong Province (Canton): Seyip (Four Counties); Poon Yu and Fah Yuen counties; Jung Seng and Tung Goon counties
Heritage language: Cantonese (Yue, Guangdong hua)
Traditional occupations: Goldmining (19th century), Laundries, Market gardening (over half until WWII), Fruitshops/greengrocers
Culture: The Poll Tax descendant community is the early settler Chinese community, comprising Poll Tax payers, their descendants and close family members who were reunited with their families after WWII. From 1866-1960 the Chinese New Zealand community was homogenous, linked by complex family and village networks, and united by common New Zealand experience. The vast majority of early settlers came from Guangdong (Canton) province.
The Poll Tax descendant community has a uniquely Chinese New Zealand culture. It strongly identifies with its New Zealand history (many are now 5th generation New Zealanders and over), and its culture has been greatly influenced by the experience of living in New Zealand and being Chinese. When referring to history, culture and language, the community is particularly referring to its New Zealand history, traditional Chinese culture as well as Chinese New Zealand culture, and its heritage language Cantonese (as distinct from China’s official language, Mandarin).
The culture of the early settler community is very different from the cultures and customs of newer Chinese migrants.