Sunday, March 27, 2011


CHINATOWN IN WELLINGTON. SOMETHING ABOUT "JOHN'S" HOME LIFE. SQUALOUR/ OVERCROWDING, AND SMELLS. "We'll have a look round Hainings.treet after we have done with the fruitshops," said Mr. J. Doyle, Corporation Inspector, when starting on a two-hours' tour of Wellington's Chinatown with a Post reporter. "There are over 200 Chinese in the city," he added. Although it was a* magnificent after! noon, clean and bright, the two hours spent in pottering about amongst the dark and odorous homes of John! Chinaman, were not entirely wasted. They brought to light a new and unsuspected mode of life, and at every turn there was something to wonder at and something to make one think. Stepping out of the blazing sunshine of the street we enter a neat fruit shop, and as it is not very different from -any of the others, it may be taken as typical. "Just going to have a look round," says the Inspector. "Li", all li," replies the shopkeeper, and a door at the back of the shop admits us to the kitchen. Five Chinese are eating rice and curry, and using their chopsticks with wonderful dexterity. The eating ute^rls are very clean, but the kitchen is littered with all kinds of rubbish and the floor is appallingly dirty. A strange smell of commingled Chinaman, opium smoke, decayed fruit and baiyuia sfctuks, with an elusive sub-odour, permeates the whole place. A tour of the premises reveals unsuspected dark comers, tiny rooms, and mouldy recesses, all packed with bales of tea and groceries and bags of fungus and a hundred other things. The floor is sunken in some of the mouldered rooms, the ceiiings are mossy and dTaped with cobwebs, the staircase is ateep anid unsteady, and everywhere there are dirty old coats and towels and piles upon piles of straw shoes. Most of the rooms are very dark, and everywhere the acrid smell' pursues the visitor. The backyard is a forsaken chaos of firewood, disused fruit cases, piles and boxes of discarded aud damaged fruit and banana stalks. A Chinaman glides along a pace or two behind during the inspection. "Look here, you must clear this rubbish out," says the Inspector. A voluble explanation from John that it is only that day's collection ends with "All li. Clear 'im out. Thank you." The whole of the tumbledown premises are ripe for destruction, but the Inspector explains that it is almost impossible to prove that any. given- place is a menace to the public health. Twb, three, and even four beds go to each bedroom. What strikes the visitor to Chinatown most forcibly is the large number of unsu&pected mobs of Chinese in the buildings. Some of them are perfect rabbit warcens. In one place, for instance, there were three Chinese in the shop. In the kitchen were four more Chinamen, one engaged in cooking over a huge fire, while in the yard was a little Chinese lady and her family — a crowd of jolly little childre — and an aged Chinaman. Ducks are held in high esteem by the Chinese. They form almost the only link that binds the West to the inscrutable and unintelligible East, and several fat but dirty and melancholy members of the species were packed in crates in every backyard, and quacked a dismal corroborationof their owners' eager assurance that they were only being kept for "Clismas." Some of the ducks had already been slaughtered, and in one or two kitchens their mortal remains were to be seen beautifully prepared and amazingly clean and attractive. Haining-street in the afternoon is conducive to a fit of melancholia. It consists, in brief, of two rows of cottages for the most part miserably insanitary, dark and dirty, and frequented by .listless and unclean Chinese. In nearly every house there were Celestials engaged in sorting and examining pakapoo tickets. In one place five men were engaged in playing what appeared to be a species of card dominoes, staking "cash" and shells, while a score of idle vagabonds looked on interestedly and chattered noisily, whooping at any good move. Sanitation is almost unknown in part of Haining-street. The rooms are email and dark, the furniture of the most simple and primitive sort, the beds dirty, and the floor clamouring for a wash. And over it all broods the sour smell of Asia. ' What strikes one afresh at e^ry turn is the way in which, in almost everything, the Chinaman adheres to the customs of his race. Apparently it never occurs to him to adopt the customs of the European. He only adopts the European coat and vest and pants, and he makes a concession to Caucasian prejudices by wearing shirts — dirty shirts. The strange garments and weird foods force on one a conviction of the utter immiscibility of the two races. Chinese food is supposed to be good, but it is strange and uncanny. In one cookshop the kitchen was full of mysteries. In a bawl of clean waiter there were several things that looked like the specimens that are kept in gpirits in surgeons' museums. "Fish !'* explained the cook. "What sort?" "Oh! Chinese fish !" They import these fearful-looking things as a great delicacy. Another cook was slicing up three foreign substances and making them into- sandwiches. He explained that they were pork, eggs, and some other material that apparently has no English name. In many •of the fruit shops and the squalid dens of Haining-street there Mere strange-looking banjos hanging on the walls. In one bedroom there was a gramaphone. It was in this room that there was actually a Sandow developer i The Chinese are not fond of the. sunlight, and most of the rooms -are dark and depressing. How the children can grow up healthy is one of the secrets of this strange race. Rambling through a ramshackle shop hi Cuba-street, groping along the gloom upstairs, the visitors stumbled into a large room, almost in complete darkness. A heavy blind oyer the window effectually shut out the germkilling sunlight. Four or five little tots were playing on the floor, and seated on a bed was an old, old man clasping a baby in his arms. These children grow up in the darkness and the smell and take their exercise in a tiny backyard among the rubbish. But they seem happy enough. It was in Haining-atreet that an opium den was encountered. In the darkest corner of the dark and squalid kitchen a door gaped black and mysterious. The gloom was impenetrable inside. A match brought a white-faced Chinaman to the door. Inside a white wastrel was asleep, his pipe in a limp hand, his soul in some purple Paradise. And the heavy fumes of the drug caught at one's throat. House after house was visited, -and the dirt grew and accumulated, till one'a senses were numb and dulled. At last one house was entered in which the floors were scrubbed. The rooms were papered, and everywhere, hi spite of the poorness of the furniture, there was an unusual orderliness— a neatness conspicuously distinct from any of the other premises. Marvelling, the visitors went through the house, meeting no one until the backyard was reached. There a' white woman was washing some poor clothes. Her saffron-lmed lord and master was chopping wood. Unkempt and unlovely, her past could be guessed at. Complimented on the neatness of the house, she said: "Yes, I'm glad you think it is clean. God knowe, water's cheap enough. And her eyes grew weary. plenty time. Plenty time, God knows." That was enough of Chinatown, and it was good to get back again to the sunlight and to see the ladies in their summer frocks in the bustling streets. Evening Post, Volume LXVIII, Issue 152, 24 December 1904, Page 5

The abolition of the auction system of selling vegetables and fruit, and the institution of a price-fixing scheme, with direct deliveries to the retailers, were among the recommendations made to the Price Tribunal today by Auckland retailers as a means of correcting the present position in regard to vegetable prices. They also suggested the licensing of all retail shops, and the closing of all alien and asiatic shops opening since the war, except in cases where they were shown to be economic. It was urged also that merchant-auctioneers should, not bid at their own auctions, should not finance shops or grant extended credits, that all transactions should be on a cash basis or/oh weekly account, and that the rents of shops and market gardens should be stabilised. The Auckland retailers put* a very complete case, submitting a mass of evidence. Certain reference to Chinese fruit retailers by the main witness drew protests from Mr. W. Wah, the secretary of the local Chinese fruiterers' organisation, and the chairman (Mr. Justice Hunter) had to warn him sharply against interrupting. In addition to his Honour, there were on the Tribunal Mr. H. L. Wise, member, and Mr. L. Munro, associate member. Setting out the case for the Auckland retailers, Mr. S. Coleman said that the wholesale fruit and vegetable business in Auckland was practically governed by two firms, and no other firm could enter into the wholesale business because the Internal Marketing Division, which controlled something like 80 per cent, of the total fruits in the Dominion, refused to place any new firm on its wholesale list.: He quoted from the rejbort of the 1937 Fruit Marketing Committee, which had suggested a reduction in the number of retailers throughout the Dominion as one means of cheapening fruit to the public and improving prices to the growers. Since that report was issued, continued Mr. Coleman, there had been a very large increase in the number of fruit shops in the Auckland Province, especially those operated by Asiatics. In 1937, it was stated, there were 58; today the total was 107—76 Chinese and 31 Hindus. The number of Chinese fruitshops in the Auckland Province since the war had increased by 42,. of which 33 were new to the trade. These new shops must increase the prices of fruit and veegtables for two reasons, firstly, by loading all sales with an undue percentage of overheads, and, secondly, the extra trading forced auction prices to an unduly high level. A SUBSTANTIAL RISE. Compared with the market report of a year previously, the 13 major lines of vegetables showed ari average rise of 115 per cent. Thus vegetables today carried a 115 per cent, rise in prime costs, plus an increase in overheads. In many cases shop rents had been raised because landlords had no
Evening Post, Volume CXXXII, Issue 121, 18 November 1941, Page 8

Robert James Lucas is a fruit dealer in Symonds Street, Auckland, says the New; Zealand Herald. About the middle of last month there were indications that the competition against him.was to be increased by a shop hard by being opened for the retailing, of fruit, and in due time the name of the tenant appeared on the signboard Low King. Lucas evidently thought he had better start the fight early, and on the afternoon when the new shop opened he invoked the cartoonist to his aid, and displayed in his window a placard bearing the following words:— "l don't want the earth. I only want a small profit: So don't patronise the Chow Your own colour first. 'Phone, 2782." The placard was adorned with a cartoon of an unprepossessing Chinaman with a pronounced pig-tail.The Chinese residents of the city very strongly objected to the cartoon, and after the advice of the Consul in Wellington had been taken it was resolved to lay an information under section 12 of the Justices of the Peace Act against Lucas, praying that he should be bound over not to exhibit such cartoons, which were calculated to cause a breach of the peace. Accordingly Lucas was charged at the Police Court. Mr C. C. Kettle, S.M., was on the Bench. Mr W. J. Napieiv appeared for complainant, and the defendant was present in person, and admitted displaying the cartoon.

which he did not consider at the time to be insulting. Mr Napier said the cartoon had a great deal of indignation amongst the Chinese in AucHiand; and it required the efforts of the most influential amongst them to, prevent them from showing their resentment in a practical manner. No matter, how strongly one, might feel against the Chinese, continued Mr Napier, he was not entitled to break the law, which protected them in exactly the same manner as it protected white men. This cartoon was calculated ; to stir up racial hatred for the purpose of defendants private pain. The Act properly prescribed penalties for those who were inclined to stir up the hoodlum's. This cartoon had a sordid motive. It wanted to prevent white people dealing with the Chinese, because of their colour, and the picture was evidently intended to suggest the man next door. "If said Mr Napier, "we place ourselves in the position of the Chinese —" The Magistrate: I quite agree with you that the Chinese are entitled to the same protection from me law as the British. The whole question' is as to the nature of the cartoon.

Defendant said' he withdrew the cartoon when he 'understood that the Chinese took exception to it. Mr Napier said that was hardly so. Defendant kept it in the window for four days, and it was finally taken down through the intervention of a white man, who pitied the way the Chinese were being persecuted. Defendant said the competition of the Chinese was crushing. The Magistrate:, That has nothing at all to do with it. The Chinese are entitled to protection the same as you are. They get no privileges above the British, but they get the same privileges under the law exactly. This is a very offensive thing as you must see for yourself. I do not know who drew it, but the artist should be brought before the Court for aiding and abetting. Mr Napier referred to a Wellington prosecution, in which the cartoon was not so offensive as this, being more in the nature of a skit.

The Magistrate: There can be no objection at all to a humorous picture; but when it comes to this it must be stopped. If the man promises not to repeat the offence, will you be satisfied with that? Mr Napier: My instructions'are to get sureties to keep the peace. The prosecution agreed to accept defendant's own bond, and he was bound over in a bond of £25 not to repeat the offence, and ordered to pay costs (£3 14s 6d). The Magistrate took further occasion to point out to defendant that it was a traditional glory that all who came under the British Flag should enjoy its protection. He hoopd that a case like this would not come before him again. Defendant: I pity the white man who enters into competition with the Chinese in business. The Magistrate: Well, you see, the Chinese do not spend their money in drink. Defendant: Neither do I. The Magistrate: I do not say you do; but these people are entitled to protection, and they shall have it.


AUCKLAND,-June 29. R. J. Lucas, a fruit dealer, was charged yesterday with exhibiting an offensive cartoon- He is a fruit dealer and a Chinaman having opened near him, he hung out a placard calling on people to patronise him, and accompanied it with a caricature of a Chinaman and pigtail that caused great offence to Chinese, and would, it was feared lead to a disturbance.

Lucas was bound over, not to repeat the offence, the magistrate, laying great stress on the equality of all before the law in English countries. The defendant urged, the effect of Chinese competition, but the magistrate said that that had nothing to do with it. They had no privileges, but were entitled to protection.

Marlborough Express, Volume XLIII, Issue 155, 29 June 1909, Page 5

TOO MUCH.I Hon. Dr Findlay (in Upper House, on the Chinese Laundry Bill) : I wish, Mr Thorne George, that you would help me out of a little dilemma by moving that a Chinaman should also be a woman, and thus make my Bill practicable. Hon. Seymour Thorne George : What, call a Chinaman a woman? Why, man, you don't realise what a great favourite I have always been with the ladies. Do you think l am going to' sacrifice my popularity with them to help your Bill ?

Observer, Volume XXVIII, Issue 10, 23 November 1907, Page 16

New Zealand Free Lance, Volume IV, Issue 207, 18 June 1904, Page 1

Percy Chew Lee

Percy I Chew Lee, a Chinese rider, was1 twelfth, off 60mm. A. E. Porter, aged 04, handicap 60min, was twenty-first. Evening Post, Volume CXX, Issue 85, 7 October 1935, Page 14

In keeping with the celebration of the anniversary of the Chinese Republic, Percy Chew Lee, 49min, was first past the Ashburton Post Office, leading eighteen other riders at 11.23 a.m. This is the third time that Lee has been first into Ashburton. Evening Post , Issue 88, 10 October 1936, Page 10

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chinese-Australian servicemen to be honoured

Chinese-Australian servicemen to be honoured
By Jo-Anne Hui
April 25 2002

The year was 1916. The place, Chatham's Post on the Gallipoli front line. From across the trenches, Abdul the Terrible was staring down at The Assassin, the formidable Australian sniper responsible for picking off dozens of his Turkish comrades.

Abdul let fly with a volley of shots which missed their target. Then The Assassin carefully took aim, bringing down his nemesis with a shot that caught the Turkish sharpshooter between the eyes.

That, at least, is the legend of Billy Sing, aka The Assassin, the nuggety, dark-haired Queenslander who fought with the Australian Fifth Light Horse regiment at Gallipoli.

Sing was a renowned bushman and kangaroo hunter rumoured to be able to shoot the tails off piglets from a distance of 25 yards.

He was also of Chinese descent, one of 400-odd veterans who have served in the Australian armed forces over the past 100 years and who will be honoured in a special memorial due to be completed later this year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

he Fo Guang Shan temple is a large temple and community centre of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist movement in the East Tamaki/Flatbush suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the country. The temple and complex were built over seven years[1] at a cost NZ$ 20 million.[2] It was designed in the architectural style of the Tang Dynasty. The temple also includes a large Buddha statue and a two-tonne bell.

Sunday, March 6, 2011



(By Telegraph—Press Association.) TIMARU, July 19. A case of some interest was heard in the Magistrate's Court today, when Willie Wong, a Chinese.fruiterer, was charged' with keeping a gaming house, and four other Chinese were: charged with being found in a gaming houee. The case was a sequel to a police raid, when tho accused were found in the kitchen of the premises playing mah jongg. Each man had a pile of money in trout ot him. The case hinged on the determination of whether mah jongg was a game of chance, thereby an unlawful game. A police witness, Percy Chew Lee, described the game, stating that skill ivas involved m determining what tiles, as the pieces are called, were held by opponents, and what they were endeavouring to build up. An exhibition game was given in Court by four Chinese. The Magistrate (Mr. C. R. Orr Walker) said that the police case rested on whether mail jongg was a game of pure, chance or whether it contained a sufficient element iof skill to remove it-from that-category, l.lifi Legislature hud determined certain Chinese games as unlawful, but in ah' Jongs was not -included. He came to the conehtsion that there was a substantial amount of skill in the game, and the police case must fail. The informations were dismissed. Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 17, 20 July 1934, Page 11



A valedictory social was tendered to Mr W. Paterson by Die Chinese of the city on Monday evening in the Stafford street Hall. Mr J. W. Butler occupied the chair. The Chairman referred to the fact that for upwards of 25 years Mr Paterson had devoted his time and money to tho evangelising of the Chinese of this city. Ho had visited them in the hospital and in their homes, and when any of them were returning to China Mr Paterson presented them with a New Testament. During the evening a quartet was given by Messrs Buchanan, David Chin Goon, George Lira Foon, and James Chin Shing; trios by Misses Sanders, Sinclair, and Willie Poi; a drtet by Yeur.g Chuen and Yeung Shemig; solo by Charlie Howie; and an instrumental solo by Yip Kum. Addresses were given by Miss Jamiesou and Sister Ruth, and Messrs Buchanan (Hanover street Baptist class), Knowles (Central Mission class), and Ben Wong Tape. Daniel Yet Lee presented Mr Paterson with an umbrella on behalf of the Chinese, and expressed their regret at losing such a friend. Mr Paterson thanked the Chinese for their gift, and spoke a few words of farewell to tho^e present. The meeting was brought to a close by the singing of the hymn " God be with you till we meet again," and the pronouncing* of ttie benediction. Mr Pntersson will take up work among the Chinese of Melbourne. Otago Daily Times , Issue 11896, 21 November 1900, Page 8

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Sketch of China and the Chinese.

The sweeping hand of time has printed many pctuies deep on the broad back of Canton. The great earthquakes that spread devastation and death over large areas of China, on May 26 and 27, 1830,

A community garden scheme is proposed as a means of providing work for tho unemployed Chinese of Auckland, states an Auckland message. An assurance has been given by the Unemployment Board that the necessary wages will be found, although the basis of payment has not yet been fixed. The Rev. W. W. Chan, who has gono to Auokland from Wellington, is taking the initial steps of organising the workless Chinese in Auckland, who are estimated to number more than 200, and ho is hopeful of the scheme being proceeded with as soon as possible. He said that there were 400 unemployed Chinese in Wellington, and in dealing with the problem there they had the co-operation of the Unemployment Board and the Mayor of Wellington. "There are two tongs in Auckland," said Mr. Chan, "and my object is to try to bring thorn together. In any case, when a man is hungry he forgets all about tongs." On inquiry being made at the Unemployment Board's office in Wellington today it was stated that no information was at present available as to the possibility of a garden scheme similar to that proposed for Auckland being introduced locally. Mr. Yue H. Jackson, Vice-Consul for China, told a "Post" reporter that the number of unemployed Chineso in Wellington is between 150 and 200. The Chinese community here numbers about 500, including women and children, and in normal times employment is provided in laundries, fruit, silk, and fancy-goods shops, market gardens, and Chinese rostaurants and provision shops. At present practically all of those out of work are living with friends or relatives in shops or laundi'ips, giving thoir services in return for their keep. Naturally thoy are anxious to securo regular employment, but during the winter months work is scarce in the occupations suited to them. In the summer time there is work for them, in the market gardens, and trado in the shops is brisker. Chinese are eligible for relief work on the same basis as Europeans. In a number of cases of hardship the Chineso Consulate has successfully applied to the Commissioner of Unemployment for exemption;from payment of the unemployment levy. The Mayor of Wellington has given the use of two shops in Taranaki Street belonging to the City Council to Chineso who have no place of abode, and those premises are being used as shelters. "The Chinese community in Wellington lives very happily together," Mr. Jackson added. "The more fortunate ones are doing their best to help those who have been hard hit. There are district associations in the community but no tongs." Evening Post, Volume CXVII, Issue 134, 8 June 1934, Page 7

Auckland Market Gardens 1933


(By Telegraph.—Press Association.) AUCKLAND, This, Day. Attention was, drawn to-day by one of the leaders of the Chinese community in Auckland, :Mr. Andrew Chong, to the plight of unemployed Chinese. He said, that' throughout New Zealand .Chinese had paid thousands of pounds to the unemployment fund, yet, as far as he could ascertain, not one Chinese had been given relief work or relief nations. The . situation became acute last April, when owing to the low returns from the market garden business many men had been thrown on their own resources. They were unable to obtain employment with Europeans, and they had been informed-by the Labour Department that they were ineligible for work or sustenance. Yet Chinese in work continued to pay both the levy and the tax. He estimated that there were about 150 Chinese in Auckland practically destitute.

Evening Post, Volume CXV, Issue 7, 10 January 1933, Page 9

Auckland Market Gardens 1913

COMPETITION AT AUCKLAND CHINESE STRIKES. [BY TELEGRAPH — SPECIAL TO THE POST.] AUCKLAND, This Day. Enquiries were made by a reporter yesterday morning with the object of ascertaining how far the Chinese engaged in the vegetable trade regulate the market in Auckland. At the Waitemata Co-operative Auction Rooms it was learned that the sales there _ were usually attended by fifteen or sixteen Celestials, who take active part in bidding for the purpose of supplying their retail customers. The men of the Orient appear to be held in kindly regard in this direction, having obtained a reputation for scrupulous honescy, readiness to oblige, and keenness of bargaining. A Chinese view of marketing conditions in Auckland was obtained from Mr. Willie Ah Chee, whose firm has tt large interest in the market-gardening business. He said that their prices were always regulated by those ruling at auction, and, therefore, any increases were the result of the general market fluctuating. Mr. Ah Chee remarked that, although the public did not hear of it, they had their labour troubles just as did the people in the outer industrial world. When the Chinese workmen felt that v they should be getting higher wages % they appointed deputations to wait on the employers, and if their requests were not met in a satisfactory manner they went out on strike. "Our men have struck two or three times during the past year,'* remarked tte speaker. He added, however, that they usually managed to settle their troubles before they went very far, as the result of conferences between the parties concerned. "I could show you from our wages book," said Mr. An Chee, "that some of the Chinese in our gardens are getting as much as £3- and £4 per week ; also, that the usual wage for shop hands is from £2 to £2 10s per week." In further explanation, he said that the former were the third or fourthrate overseers. In addition to the wages quoted the employers had to provide keep for their employees, so that their business had to be run on careful line? to secure satisfactory results. In all, there were about 250 Chinese market gardeners in Auckland.

Evening Post, Volume LXXXV, Issue 119, 21 May 1913, Page 3

Auckland Market Gardens

Some alarm has been caused in Auckland by a report submitted to the Newton Borough Council by Inspector Hickson, who stated that the constable at Surrey Hills, in making inquiries amongst Chinamen, had come across one (whose name he could not find out) washing his vegetables m a creek which separates the districts of Eden terrace and Archill, and which contained the sewerage of both these districts, and also the drainage from the Symonds street cemetery. From the appearance of the place, the constable stated he should say that the hole had been generally used for the same purpose. Mr J. Currie, sanitary inspector, said he had visited the place indicated, and had found a number of bunches of carrots, parsnips, turnips, and spring onions lying soaking m what was practically a sewer, through which passed the drainage of Karangahape Ward, Eden terrace and Archill. Some Chinamen m the neighbourhood were supplied with the city water. In this particular instance it had been cut off, and the only water available was the foul sewage mentioned, the smell from which was simply abominable. This appeared to be a very serious menace to public health, as the poisonous germs m the water must be carried into the houses vhere the vegetables were used. Several nembers spoke strongly on the subject, mt as it appeared that the creek mentioned was not within the jurisdiction of the Newton Council the report was sent to the Archhill Board.

Timaru Herald, Volume LVIII, Issue 1766, 29 May 1895, Page 2