Story: Asia and New Zealand

Chinese market gardeners, early 1900s

Chinese market gardeners, early 1900s

Thousands of Chinese men came to New Zealand in the late 1860s to mine for gold in Otago, Southland and the West Coast of the South Island. Nearly all came from southern China's Guangdong province. When the goldfields were largely worked out, many returned to China. Others chose to stay on despite the prejudices they often faced. The poll tax charged per head, along with other expenses, meant that only the better off could bring wives or fiancées out from China, but some men married Māori or Pākehā women. The men often worked in laundries, small produce shops or market gardens, like the men shown here in Westmere, Auckland.

Using this item

Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: 80-BIN185
Photograph by Ernest Charles Binns

Permission of Auckland City Libraries Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

David Capie, 'Asia and New Zealand - Early contacts with Asia', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 March 2024)

Story by David Capie, published 20 Jun 2012