Friday, November 20, 2015

- The 'rationale' for the Poll Tax at the time

Hi everybody, My name is Kristen, I run the NZ-China arts/culture blog, which focuses on topics from cultural identity, alternate histories, to independent music and art. I am planning to write a piece about the abolition of the Poll Tax and the impacts today, hopefully providing a fresh, modern take on an old, sad tale. For this piece, the key areas I am interested in are as follows. - The 'rationale' for the Poll Tax at the time? A white NZ stemming from the original colonial dreams of a "Britain in the south," and how those same values are still perpetuated today vis a vis the "Chinese are depriving hard working Kiwis of their dream homes" debacle (see: for a piece I wrote earlier this year). - Why was it abolished? Was there some political/economic incentive at the time to allow more migrants after the war? - Maori views on the Poll Tax, considering the enormous hypocrisy of a colonising empire that subjugated the indigenous people of the land, then complaining of a so called 'invasion' by the Chinese. - Personal family stories. The abolition of legislation did not automatically lead to acceptance of Chinese, much like the end of apartheid in South Africa did not end racism. Primary sources of people who experienced NZ before and after the Poll Tax. - The Helen Clark apology in 2002, the reaction, the implications of it today. How it fits into a greater string of apologies for NZ's cruel colonial practices against Chinese people, Maori, Samoa, the Pacific... Why have Canada and Australia not apologised for similar taxes? - The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust - the goals, the future. - Education. I know there are members of the community who are working to see Poll Tax history incorporated into the national curriculum. I would like to hear from them about this. The way NZ teaches history needs to change - it impacts the way mainstream NZ views itself, it's values, who belongs and who does not. Unfortunately the Poll Tax is only one grey area of history to be excluded from the curriculum. History needs to be taught, no matter how unflattering it is! The history will inform the future! WANTED: Digital resources! - I am looking for are the commissioned reports into the Poll Tax by Nigel Murphy in the mid-90s. I am in Chengdu and cannot get down to the archives to look at the hard copy. Anyone got a digital copy? - If there are related excerpts of Turning Stone Into Jade? Windows on a Chinese Past? - Any academic essays, research papers or articles related to these matters. Ideally I would like to publish the article for 15 December, to mark the date of the abolition, however if research and interviews are not completed by then, I could publish next year to mark the date of the apology in 2002. If you have any comments to contribute, or even just to discuss these ideas further, I'd love to hear from you here, or at I would like to speak with those knowledgable in these areas, people involved with the apology and process, Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, NZCA, NZ historians, as well as other PT descendants that were not necessarily involved in the apology. Thanks all Kristen

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