Story: Asia and New Zealand

Lau Fong and his certificate of registration

The Immigration Restriction Amendment Act 1908 required that Chinese leaving New Zealand – and wishing to return – obtain a certificate of registration. The certificate displayed copies of their thumbprints and recorded that they had paid their poll tax. Many Chinese saw the thumbprint requirement as deeply humiliating and believed it was based on the European assumption that all Chinese looked alike. The images above show the certificate of registration for Lau Fong, a Chinese man resident in New Zealand in early 1909, along with the photograph he presented when applying for the certificate.

Using this item

Auckland Regional Office, Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: BBAO 5544/121a 1910/801

Permission of Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (Auckland Regional Office) must be obtained before any re-use of this material.

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How to cite this page:

David Capie, 'Asia and New Zealand - Early 20th-century fears', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2024)

Story by David Capie, published 20 Jun 2012