NEW ZEALAND CHINESE - ( EARLY HISTORY ) ( G ) ( 333 )
source - stephenyoung.co.nz
edmondsallan - Hello - I think we may be on a very big learning curve , with this chinese genalogy history. Still its never to late to learn .
In the year following the 1996 election, the new government - a coalition of the National and New Zealand First parties, the latter with 17 seats and Winston Peters as deputy prime minister - began to abate the tough immigration stance with a speech in Hong Kong.(99) In December 1997 and October 1998, it began to soften and change the regulations. The incoming Labour Government (in 1999) signalled it will ease them further, especially the skilled migrant categories, but the English language requirements still remained a significant barrier for many.(100) Accordingly, the immigration of Asians remained more controlled than before the regulations of October 1995. At this point, one thought that if base level controls had been present in the first place and thought out and put in when the ambitious, even radical BIP and General Category schemes were introduced, both the influx and accompanying public reaction may have been less. Other signals were rather mixed. A stamp issue in 1998 focused on New Zealand’s multicultural society. In June 1999, the rumour - later unsubstantiated - of one ship with 102 Chinese ‘boat people’ heading for New Zealand led to the passing of urgent legislation to further ‘improve the effectiveness of the removal regime for persons unlawfully in New Zealand by streamlining the procedures involved [particularly in relation to claimed] refugee status.’(101) In late 2000, Asians appeared less favoured than others during a crackdown on overstayers.(102) When the long delayed ministerial Advisory Group on Immigration was established in 2001, it had no Chinese representative. On the other hand, the government established the Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand in 1994 to promote Asia to the public, and sponsored the Population Conference in Wellington in 1997 which gathered together much knowledge on population and immigration. It included four Asian contributors - R. Prasad (the Race Relations Conciliator), Pansy Wong, Manying Ip and James Koh. In 2001, a new, small Office of Ethnic Affairs was established, upgraded from a ‘desk’ in the Department of Internal Affairs.
Then in February and September 2001, the writer experienced a sense of déjà vu when announcements were made which would again revamp the immigration categories, aim to markedly increase the number of skilled and business immigrants (many of whom would be Chinese and other Asians for reasons already mentioned), substantially lower the English language requirements and raise the cap on the number of permanent residency immigrants to 50,000 annually.(103)
It is common sense that planning should be undertaken not only for sustainable entry numbers but also for social relationships after entry. But the New Zealand government has traditionally left immigrants to their own arrangements unless they were enforced refugees. Thus the Indo-Chinese refugees rated special help and churches were called upon to help them and family sponsors found to guide them. However, in the 1986-96 inflow, much bigger numbers of Asian newcomers had little or no support here, even though they too, were migrating from an Asian culture to a European one. Yet it is fair to say that New Zealand did not expect such big numbers of Asians and were ill-prepared to receive them. The real accusation is that most New Zealanders at all levels, Kiwi Chinese included, did not try very hard to help even when the extent of the inflow was realised.
A. Trlin’s New Settlers [Research] Programme has noted the absence of a balanced institutional structure of immigration in which an immigration policy regulating entry should have been complemented, he said, by a post-arrival policy geared to the economic, social and cultural needs of migrants to assist them to settle and integrate, and an ethnic relations policy, appropriate to a situation of emerging multiculturism, ‘which includes measures to foster inter-group relations, counteract xenophobic attitudes and combat discriminatory practices.’(104) More trenchant comments have been made by immigrants, including ‘Do New Zealanders in fact only want Asian resources but not want Asians as their neighbours?’ … ‘The government neglected the "bridging" needs - it took the profit from the immigrants but did not itself put in money to make the most of the investment in people.’(105) Presently, the Labour Government appears to be recognising the post-entry needs of all immigrants and is making some moves to minimise the problems and maximise the opportunities of their arrival.(106)
Even so, a visitor to Auckland in 1996 would have found the differences between the immigrants and the long-term residents being worked through, in large part due to the efforts of the new arrivals themselves. Law and order were never at risk of breaking down. The way of life of the dominant society remained unaltered. The biggest difficulty created by the migrants affected the Auckland schools which rapidly gained large numbers of migrant children who spoke little or no English. But the school problems were gradually being understood and addressed.(107) A primary need of the migrants was to improve their English but a Polytechnic English improvement class in 1996, to give one example, was oversubscribed by 1,000 would-be pupils. Private educational ventures sprang up to supplement the public services. In other ways the Chinese and other Asian migrants were usually self-supporting. They rented, bought or built their own housing. They had already formed various support groups.(108) The Chinese were publishing an ethnic newspaper and four other news-sheets, soon to be joined by a free weekly Chinese edition of the New Zealand Herald. They had established 17 new Chinese churches and nine Buddhist organizations. They were endeavouring to understand New Zealand, as evidenced by Manying Ip and others who were introducing Maori life to newcomers, and Song Lam, who was writing her book The Maori of New Zealand, Maori legends, traditions and history. Another book about New Zealand, A Piece of Jade in the South Pacific, was being written by T. Fang et al.(109) Candice Ng from Hong Kong published New Zealand Air Passengers’ Guide (1995), Wellington Police Crime Prevention Book (1996), and New Zealand Residential Property Investors’ Guide (1998), all in Chinese. A vanguard of Asians had entered Auckland’s academic, professional and business circles and were beginning to provide some voice and leadership. There was recognition of the migrants’ economic value, and they were estimated to have brought in a billion dollars in investment in the three years to December 1994.(110) The migrants also brought money for housing and other living costs - the Taiwanese alone were said to have brought to Auckland an estimated $750 million in 1995.(111)
‘Immigration has a modest but positive economic effect. It is not an engine of growth, its not going to transform your economy but the effect is positive, not negative.’(112) However, a large section of the New Zealand public unrealistically expected the Chinese and other Asian immigrants to stimulate the regional or national economy quickly and to a marked degree.(113) They were even expected to set up another Silicon Valley - with no planned backup like a startup park, nor with preferential policies nor with research and economic cooperation in place. When such high hopes were unfulfilled, often an unfavourable and unfair reaction occurred among the expectant Europeans. In this regard, commercial liaison committees were eventually set up to attract Asian money, but usually late. As to the migrants’ Asian and American qualifications, it has already been mentioned that many were either not recognised in New Zealand or the path to recognition was long and arduous.(114) The October 1995 immigration regulations corrected the Immigration Service’s previous flaw by requiring the prior registration of about 25 different types of qualifications in New Zealand before immigration. But surely it should not have been so difficult to have checked on the acceptance processes for many foreign qualifications before the introduction of the General Category. An invidious long-term effect of such shortcomings is that word of them gets back to the lands of origin. Another is that off-hand official treatment does not help to build bonding and loyalty to New Zealand.
Nevertheless, despite all difficulties, every community of Chinese newcomers have families and individuals who have succeeded, or are succeeding in putting down roots in New Zealand. Generally they retain numerous Chinese cultural features but being well-educated, they also have the potential to integrate well into the wider society. The widespread sociologists’ view is that the immigrants’ retention of their own culture confers advantages both on the individuals concerned and the nation.(115) Another advantage immigrants possess is a fresh perspective; ‘if you bring in people who replicate yourself … you don’t gain [much] at all … You gain because people come in who are different. The very fact that creates all sorts of other tensions about how you integrate people who are different, how you adjust your own population to deal with people who are different, is a source of economic gain in the first place.’(116) Successful newcomers in New Zealand include Betty Kwan (an expert on the measurement of fat levels in packaged meat); Chung-Pin Lim (winemaker); Allen Yip (athletics coach); Professor Yi-Huali Gao and Dr Yun Wang (mushroom experts), James Meng (opera singer); academics Professor John Chen, Elsie Ho, Manying Ip, Sylvia Yuan and many others, including Dr D. Zhang, an engineer researching titanium alloys from iron sands; Ou Lu (ballet dancer); Ping Wang (artist); Audrey Chan (vocalist); the Chan Cheng Quartet; Jiang Yuxian (story teller); Ann-Marie Houng Lee (writer); Aaron Li (table tennis player); Li Feng (badminton player); the Taiwanese Remuera Women’s Choir; the Formosa Choir (Dunedin); Yi Jin (harpist); Peter Chan (photographer); Yu-Fen Wang (choreographer); Onlie and Diana Ong (ceramic sculptors); Nancy Caiger (community worker); David Tung (seahorse breeder); Shifen Gong (editor of A Fine Pen, The Chinese View of Katherine Mansfield, University of Otago Press, 2001); and Drs Allen Liang and Swee Tan.
For all that, further Asian arrivals (Tables 3 and 4) have remained low in numbers and not only because of the remaining barriers. After 1996, New Zealand’s net gain of immigration over emigration steadily fell; and after 1999 there was a net loss (Table 1) which shows signs of reversing itself only this year (2001).(117) A major cause of the outflow has been the emigration of New Zealanders themselves, often to go to Australia, many with skills needed at home but dissatisfied with the employment outlook for them in this country. Their emigration has been recently joined by departures of recent Chinese and Korean (and South African) immigrant families. Some have gone to Australia and elsewhere; others have returned to Hong Kong, Taiwan and other places of origin.(118) By 1998, 8789 of 58,190 Chinese recent immigrants had left (119) and to date, Auckland may have lost as many as 30% of its Chinese and Korean newcomers.(120) The picture will become clearer when figures become available from the 2001 census. Some of these losses were statistically predictable, for it has been quite usual - both internationally and in New Zealand’s own history - for 40%-50% of emigrants sooner or later to return to their places of origin or go elsewhere.(121) Though one might assume the Chinese would find similar difficulties in Australia with social networks and qualifications, it is estimated that 50% went to Australia, while another 30% returned to their previous homeland, and 20% went to North America and other countries.(122) The return to a previous homeland includes China, which evidently is making an effort to attract talent back.
Business applications accepted by category and nationality, March 1999-June 2000.
Employees of Entrepreneur Investor Long Term Total
China 8 2 118 208 336
Hong Kong 9 23 32
India 1 1 10 12
Japan 1 2 5 18 26
South Korea 2 21 120 143
Taiwan 1 55 7 63
Thailand 1 9 10
Gt Britain 3 1 21 31 56
South Africa 3 4 7
Source: Immigration Fact Pack, July 2000.
The regulation changes in October 1995 had shrunk business application approvals from 2325 under the BIC to 14 under the revised rules in the June 1995-96 year. The inflow of business capital also fell precipitously.(123) Table 4 shows a subsequent improvement, especially from China(124) and North Asia generally.
These departures are more serious than the astronaut phenomenon because they take away whole families, whereas the astronaut families are still centred in New Zealand. Three examples illustrate the variety of reasons why families leave. A mechanical engineer hitherto employed in heavy industry could not find comparable work in Dunedin even though he spoke good English. He apparently gave away the idea of taking up other work. He whiled away the three years to his family’s naturalisation, after which he returned to Taiwan, where he took up a job offer within days. A medical specialist who could not practise here looked after his two young children while his wife took a post-graduate degree. When she graduated and the family were naturalised, they left for Melbourne where they had extended family. Because of her New Zealand degree she could work in her speciality in Australia and he then became an astronaut commuting between Melbourne and Taiwan. An energetic businessman in Dunedin founded a martial arts school, a monthly Chinese news-sheet, a video hire shop, and he also rented property, but still he found his financial horizons limited and after naturalisation took his family to Sydney. Possibly the common factor in all three examples is the perceived lack of suitable work in Dunedin; but to me, only the last man seemed to have tried hard to get employment here.
Included in the departures is an emerging group formed from young adults who emigrated here as adolescents with their parents in 1986-96. Like their parents, they had usually retained much of their old culture. They were recipients of one of the greatest advantages reaped by the immigrants, that of free education including tertiary study before the imposition of university fees in 1990 (and increased in 1994). As older children, many may have been unhappy here (125), but they gained a tertiary education. As graduates, their best future is often back in their previous homeland, where they still have family links, know the Chinese language fluently (unlike their younger siblings), have the precious possession of a university degree and a good knowledge of English. All these points give them an edge in applying for employment with a transnational firm. They do not all go back; the writer knows of some doing great service in New Zealand hospitals. And some of those who have gone may return after their ‘Overseas Experience’, and yet others will look back with some nostalgia for this country.
Despite the departures, it appears certain that when the 2001 census is processed, it will be seen that a sizeable portion of the Chinese newcomers have stayed and are settling here. And it is clear too that they will indeed become a significant segment in professional, academic and commercial circles, especially in Auckland. A New Zealand Chinese Scholars Association and a vigorous Chinese Medical Association have formed in Auckland, the latter affiliated to counterparts in Australia. Business organizations like the New Zealand Hong Kong Business Association, New Zealand China Trade Association, Sino-New Zealand Business Club, Taiwan Business Association and Asian Business Association have also been established. Newcomers play a significant role in these as well as in several sister city relationships with Chinese cities. Inevitably, sooner or later, a Pan-Chinese Association will be set up representing all the Chinese in New Zealand.
As to the younger children of the Chinese newcomers growing or grown up in this country, an increasing number have already become school duxes, won university scholarships and entered university specialist schools. As Manying Ip said in her speech of 25 October 2001, they and other Asians have already set an example in New Zealand of Asian effort and diligence which will influence and guide all ambitious young folk. Other Chinese are gaining distinction in a variety of ways. They include a host of young musicians like Beth Chan, Jasmine Chen, Henry Wong Doe, Chen-Yin Li, Li Liu, Susan Kao, Debby Wong, Carolyn Wu (Christchurch) and Carolyn Wu (Auckland). Furthermore, there are Bic and Boh Runga (vocalists); Y.M. Lin and Jo Luping (artists); Tania Ang (rhythmic gymnast); Jimmy Lim and Xiubi Zhao (fashion designers); Vanessa Wu (photographer); Alan Clark, Hwee Sin Chong, Jay Piggott, Shona Yu and many other students who have been praised in the media for scholarship; Lisa and Hong Looi (Tak Kwan Do experts); and Karen and Li Chunli (table tennis players). Incidentally, they are matched by a young adult group of Kiwi Chinese including Chantelle McCabe (a student and Rose of Tralee); Lydia Elliott, Luise Fong, Simon Kaan, Tan Yuk King, Denise Kum, Kathryn Lim, Eric Ngan and Quintin Young (artists); Venessa Ling Jack (photographer); Carolyn Meng Yee (T.V. producer); Lynda Chanwai Earle (writer); Angela Sew Hoy (community worker for the deaf); Rodney Leong and Sharon Ng (fashion designers); Jennifer Yee (T.V. cook and author of Discovering Asian Ingredients for New Zealand Cooks); Steven Lim (medical student and swimmer); Andrew Low (engineer and anaesthetics programmer); Kiri Wong (top all round Maori scholar and P class yachtswoman); and Jared and Sonya Kwok (hockey players). The writer has been unable to ascertain so far which group - newcomer or Kiwi Chinese - Jason Chan (a coffee expert), Adam Custins (a photographer with a Chinese father) and Nathan Haines (a jazz player with a Chinese grandfather) fit into.
The prime reason for most of the recent Chinese immigrants coming to and staying in New Zealand is likely to be their youngest children’s education and welfare. Jan Morris noted that in colonial days it was almost universal for British migrants to become disillusioned at some stage in their new environment, but they tended to stay on for their children’s sake. There is some academic and anecdotal evidence that this reason for staying also applies among the Chinese newcomers in New Zealand.(126) If so, their young children are unconsciously playing a crucial role in their families’ settlement, just as the writer’s generation did in the settlement of the Kiwi Chinese. Moreover, they will go through all the adaptive processes that we went through. During that time, they will see New Zealanders as the friendly, fair and tolerant persons as we saw them. And they too will become proud Chinese New Zealanders, confident in their New Zealand and Chinese cultural mix,(127) able to flourish here as in few other countries, and of good worth to New Zealand. Their non-Chinese peers and friends will grow up and regard a multicultural New Zealand society as the norm. When this full integration of the Chinese immigrants of 1986-96 occurs, New Zealanders may well look back and wonder at the fears and uncertainties expressed against their coming.
1. Otago Witness, 30 September 1865, pp.13-14. The first invitation was signed by Provincial Superintendent J.H. Harris and sent in January 1865. The second invitation additionally offered ‘the same protection as other residents receive’; it was probably signed by the Provincial Secretary and sent in October 1865 (the Superintendent was inland, out of Dunedin, the provincial capital). The original invitations have not been sighted as yet.
2. Otago Witness, 23 September 1865, p.9; and 30 September 1865, pp.10-11. Other qualities mentioned elsewhere were that they seldom meddled in the politics of the host country, nor did they notably chase after women. The latter quality was usually implied in statements on Chinese morality, their intermarriages and their relationships with children and young girls – as in the N.Z. House of Representatives, Appendix to the Journals, (AJHR), ‘Select Committee on Chinese Immigration’, 1871, H-5, H-5A and H-5B.
3. There were 4,159 Chinese in Otago in September 1871, according to the AJHR, ibid, H-5A, p.13, plus 205 arrivals to Dunedin on a ship in October 1871, (Outlook, 24 March 1906, p.8). The approximate total Otago population (including Southland) at the end of 1871 was derived from the February 1871 census total of 69,491 plus the figures given by the Provincial Superintendent at the opening of Session XXXIII of the Otago Provincial Council in April 1872. He reported on external migration and births and deaths over the previous year, which gave a net gain of about 4,849 persons. The figure of 5,000 or more between 1874-81 is deduced from annual arrival and departure figures in official statistics on external migration. The censuses in March or April, 1874, 1878 and 1881 noted 4,816, 4,442 and 5,004 Chinese respectively; the lower figures in March or April may have had something to do with Chinese New year - in a wish to return in time for or a reluctance to leave for New Zealand till after that occasion.
4. These percentages are based on a total New Zealand population of 3,618,303, a Chinese population of 81,309, and an Asian population of 199,164 (recorded in the comprehensive study of D. Bell, [ed.], Ethnic New Zealand, Towards Cultural Understanding, New Settlers Focus Group, Hamilton, 2nd ed., 1998).
5. These counties were recurrently mentioned in Rev. Alexander Don’s surviving writings on the New Zealand-Chinese; he was the sole missionary to them from 1879 to 1913. Particularly useful is his bilingual Roll of Chinese in New Zealand, 1883-1913, reproduced as volume 4 of James Ng’s four volume work, Windows on a Chinese Past, Otago Heritage Books, Dunedin, 1993-99. In 1896, Don’s Roll listed 1,080 Chinese in Otago, of whom 67% were from (upper) Panyu, 17% from Taishan and associated Seyip counties, 2.5% from (south-western) Zengcheng county, 3.5% from Heungshan (in districts now included in Zhongshan county) and 2% from Hua county. The proportions changed over time, so that in the 1950s, the Panyu, Seyip and Zengcheng folk were said to be about equal in number. The Panyu numbers possibly decreased because they tended to stay too long in goldmining and concentrated less on establishing small businesses outside the goldfields, which would have enabled them to gain a better foothold in New Zealand.
6. Rev. Don recorded a range of intervals in the sojourners’ returns to China but in the Outlook, 23 March 1901, p.21, he wrote, ‘Many a young wife has seen her husband leave, to return rich in five years: six and eight times five have passed, and he has not come …’ Don recorded that James Shum, ‘a typical [independent] rusher’ who landed in Otago in early 1871, had managed to save ‘over £100’ after much hardship by 1875 and returned home for a visit (Ng, ibid, vol.3, 1999, pp.330-45). The AJHR, 1871, H-5B, concluded that the Chinese goldseekers were content to leave after amassing a net sum of £100 upwards. The gold wardens who testified to this select committee recorded 8s-10s as the weekly cost of living for Chinese miners, and if doing well, as at Wakatipu, they were saving 15s-20s weekly. Therefore they could take home a maximum of about £250 in five years but ‘most’ Chinese goldseekers in the early Otago years had immigrated under the credit-ticket system and so were usually bonded for three years during which time they received wages but paid back the fare and other expenses like clothing and gear. Commonly, they had few savings in hand at the end of the three years (AJHR, 1871, H-5, p.5), but they had gained passage and experience.
7. Again Rev. Don had a range of the number of returns to China. But possibly an ideal formula was four visits to China during a 30 year working life, with each return averaging two years. This formula would place the final or fifth return at about 50 years of age. In the Otago goldfields, the saying was that a miner was past his physical best at 40 years and old at 50. The writer recalls that his grandfather and four of his market garden contemporaries in Gore left New Zealand permanently in the early 1920s, probably most in their early or mid-50s (having been delayed by the Great War).
8. Ng, Windows on a Chinese Past, vol.3, 1999, pp.330-45. This appears to have been the fare of a direct chartered ship’s voyage to Dunedin, without a stopover in Sydney or Melbourne, which would have added to the cost. This sum is probably confirmed in the N.Z. Presbyterian, 1 July 1884, p.3, where a Chinese told Don that he and a mate each borrowed 40 taels (then £13) for voyage expenses in an unspecified year (but possibly in the early 1870s) at 2% monthly (25% yearly over the Chinese year of 12 ½ months) interest. By comparison, the corresponding fare from Britain c.1870 was £13-£14.
Till we meet again -Regards - edmondsallan