NEW ZEALAND CHINESE - ( EARLY HISTORY ) ( B ) ( 333 )
source - stephenyoung.co.nz
edmondsllan -Hello- I am finding these writings by Dr james young
From 1881 the Chinese population fell, thus lessening their competition. Paradoxically, the antagonism against them gradually grew worse, due in large part to economic depression (the Long Depression, 1879-96) and the influence of anti-Chinese agitation in North America and Australia. A perverse consequence of this was that antagonism now increasingly focused on race, the European viewpoint being backed by pseudo-scientific theories expounding the existence of so-called superior and inferior peoples. Since the Chinese were allegedly inferior, the denigration of them found its justification, and it was then only a step away to wish to ban such persons from immigration. Fear of competition tends to limit the ingress of certain immigrants, but racism tends to ban them. Correspondingly, the main anti-Chinese political objective changed from limitation to exclusion, although Britain prevented any possible realisation of the latter until the Imperial War Conference in 1917. By the 1900s, nonetheless, the racist propaganda was coupled to the weak position of China, and had convinced all classes of the European population of the desirability of a White New Zealand.(15) This intense feeling was written into laws and regulations and was spoken of as the White New Zealand policy, although it was never formally documented as a statute or decree.(16)
Some New Zealand-Chinese reactions to the prejudice against them were recorded, revealing them as intense patriots who believed in their own superiority as a people, culture and nation.(17) They clung to their conviction that China was a major power, which had been an illusion since 1800 - and shattered, if they had acknowledged it, in the two Opium Wars. Imagine their disappointment as China’s weaknesses became more and more manifest through the Sino-French War (1884-85), the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and the Boxer Rebellion (1900-01). They, and the later Chinese in New Zealand, bitterly resented China’s fall in international status, and blamed that low status for their poor treatment overseas. They were aware of the better treatment of Japanese migrants elsewhere, which happened, they believed, because Japan enjoyed a higher international status.(18)
Most of the Chinese goldseekers managed at the last to return permanently to China.(19) The book Windows on a Chinese Past records their important role in the goldfields, thereby justifying their invitations to come. For many years in Otago they comprised about 40% of the goldminers and possibly produced 30% of the gold. One of their leaders, Choie Sew Hoy, pioneered a gold dredge in 1888 which led the world in dredging river beaches and flats, and revitalised Otago’s mining industry and the region generally. Within 14 years, in 1902, Otago and adjacent Southland had a fleet of 201 gold dredges either built or abuilding, nearly all modelled on the Sew Hoy dredge (better known as the ‘New Zealand gold dredge’). Besides, as already mentioned, the Chinese also provided labour for local agriculture, railway and road projects and other work, and dominated the fresh vegetable market.
A core of Chinese hung on in New Zealand, still not to settle but to sojourn. It is likely that most of these men had established small businesses - many market gardens, some fruitshops cum stores, the first Chinese laundries - outside the goldfields, or were to do so. Some were ex-goldseekers. Others were sons and young kin of goldseekers, coming to New Zealand from the 1880s by a nascent chain migration. They largely formed the second Chinese generation in New Zealand, their numbers added to by Cantonese contemporaries who had migrated independently, while the polltax was still an affordable £10. One of the latter was the grandfather of the writer; he had previously been in Darwin, and in Wellington in early or mid 1896 he joined a small group of Ng relatives and clansmen who were said to have been unable to go or return to the United States or Australia. The second generation lived like the goldseekers within kinship and locale groupings. They were the pivotal Chinese generation in New Zealand. Again like their goldseeker predecessors in being faithful to their families and inured to hardship,they stuck out the worse (rising) years of the White New Zealand policy whilst establishing the new Chinese businesses in a humble way by humble means. Their numbers were not big, at least partly because their continued influx was deterred by the £100 polltax. In 1901, the total New Zealand-Chinese population was only 2857.
Since sojournism dominated, there were at the end of the first era only 15 Chinese wives and 43 Chinese-European marriages in New Zealand.(20) Still, their families gave another hint of the rich social potential of the Chinese. The mixed marriages included that of Choie Sew Hoy (actually a hidden de facto relationship) and also Chew (Chau) Chong, the New Plymouth fungus buyer (of Auricularia polytricha) and butter factory pioneer (in the use of refrigeration). In addition, it is not generally known that the Maori people appointed Chew Chong an ‘ahupiri’ or regional chief - one of the two Chinese and five Europeans ever awarded this high honour. Chew Chong’s youngest son won the Military Medal in World War 1. The first known Chinese full-blood family in New Zealand were the Lo Keongs (1873), who produced the first Chinese music teacher, the first Chinese dentist, and the first two Chinese engineers who were among the first Chinese soldiers in this country. The second known Chinese full-blood family, the Wong Tapes (1875), included Benjamin Wong Tape, OBE, JP, who left New Zealand to achieve an illustrious career in Hong Kong. He was a founder of Hong Kong University. Among other early full-blood Chinese families were the Ah Chees of Auckland, who became prominent businessmen; the Young Hees at Greymouth, where the father masterminded the Opium Act, 1901 but departed to Hong Kong where his family have included a Legislative Councillor; and T.F. Loie’s family, whose New Zealand-born son David was posthumously awarded the rare King’s Police Medal for valour in Hong Kong during World War 2.
2. (1901-50). The era of sojournism by compulsion.
The second era found the Chinese in New Zealand remaining as sojourners in the land and still predominantly male, but now increasingly seeking the settlement of their families here. Their numbers fell to 2,147 in 1916, but besides the remnant of goldminers who were stranded in this country, this total included those who were by then mostly established in the previously mentioned market gardens, fruitshops and laundries. Eventually the Chinese expanded and predominated in these three occupations, and were to be found in or around urban areas all over New Zealand.(21)
Some of these small businesses could support families, and the wish followed the capability. Worsening worries of civil disorder and war in China furthered the wish from the turn of the 20th century. But this was for long a frustrating era for the Chinese in New Zealand, since the country’s laws aimed to ensure they stayed as sojourners and not become settlers. Legislators thought that if they could stop the ingress of Chinese newcomers (especially females), then those Chinese already here would ultimately leave for good or die out. From the turn of the century, therefore, New Zealand progressively erected an immigration system which finally (in 1921) could prevent new Chinese entry absolutely. At first, a few more Chinese men and wives came, particularly from 1903, overcoming the huge £100 polltax. This arrival of female Chinese (22) led in 1907 to the imposition of a reading test of a hundred words of Standard 4 level, over and above the polltax. Naturalisation for Chinese was stopped from 1908, by which time it was said that a White New Zealand policy was universally accepted. The addition of the reading test reduced new Chinese immigration to two or three individuals a year for several years.
Then quite astonishingly, 1,374 males and 115 females arrived from China as a new immigrant wave in 1918-20, when shipping lanes from Asia were restored to normal at the end of the war and before the implementation of the new permit system in 1921. These arrivals overcame both the polltax and the reading test, following which they were automatically granted permanent residence status. They were helped in paying the polltax by a change in foreign exchange which reflected the higher price for silver from 1916 and saw Chinese currency rise to 2.6 dollars to one New Zealand pound in early 1920, before again slipping in value.(23) They were mostly young men of the writer’s parents’ generation, brought to New Zealand by their fathers and kin in the small Chinese population here. The tremendous effort needed to bring them into this country - in savings and cramming for the English test - meant that few other Chinese could come without the crucial component of aid from within New Zealand. In turn, this chain migration meant that the New Zealand-Chinese newcomers continued to originate from a few Cantonese localities. Of more immediate consequence, their coming decisively circumvented New Zealand’s aim to shut out new Chinese entrants, thus ensuring a Chinese minority in New Zealand for many years ahead. The permit system, however, proved to be an insuperable barrier to continuing Chinese immigration. With its implementation in 1921 further Chinese immigration practically ceased, apart from a small quota system between 1921-26. But the full-blood Chinese already in New Zealand numbered 2,770 males and 316 females (including 135 wives) in 1926 and 2,233 males and 347 females in
Till we meet again -Regards - edmondsallan