The Chinese in New Zealand

Last updated 15 February 2012

Ni hao!
Kia ora!

You can quickly see what's new on this website.

According to Google this is the most popular (most cited) website on an admittedly very narrow subject: The Chinese in New Zealand - with content biased towards the Chinese who have been in New Zealand for several generations.




This website started out in 1998 as a whimsical exercise to use then-new web-based technology to re-publish articles originally in Chinese Voice. This was a specialist section within Wellington's City Voice newspaper, now defunct, which covered on-going aspects of the community and the cultural and political life of the Chinese in Wellington, New Zealand.


At the same time I took the opportunity to re-publish a few other articles which could be of historical interest.

Since then, the site has grown considerably as I have added topical content about the Chinese community in New Zealand as it evolves - politically, socially and culturally.

Generally the articles collected here have been "published" elsewhere, ie written and presented to an audience - speeches, conference papers, university papers, school term essays, letters to the editor, newspaper articles etc.

The authors include most of the usual suspects and recidivists among commentators and opinion leaders in the Chinese community in New Zealand as well academics and researchers.

The main themes developed relate to:

  • The Poll Tax reconciliation process has become a watershed in the history of the Chinese in New Zealand.

  • So does their Participation in the wider community, in the political process and in New Zealand's engagement with Asia.

In August 2009 I have started linking Twitter and Facebook to my Blog on this site.


At the end of 2007 I installed an experimental Blog on the site (using Wordpress) to explore possibilities in publishing short articles on contemporary (as opposed to historical) issues.


In mid-2007, after a long hibernation, the site was completely rewritten in Joomla! and many new articles added including several masters-level research essays, conference papers, speeches, submissions and presentations as well and a sections related to activities of the Wellington Chinese Association in the period 2003-2005.


In 2003, I was so busy that I didn't update the website December. Now remedied.


Late in 2002 I experimented with linking family histories through the Poll Tax Payers on-line database held at the Office of Ethnic Affairs (NZ Department of Internal Affairs). I have written up a family history on this website in which my father's, uncle's and grandfather's names are linked back to the Poll Tax payers database as a point of authentication. It is now possible to follow a hyperlink from a name on that database back to this website or any other website. Thus the family histories of the any of the poll tax payers, held on any server on the web can be linked through the official database containing 2047 names.

Early in 2002 the big issue has been the Government's apology for the Poll Tax. This has sparked much debate within the "old" Chinese community. The main benefit has arisen not from the apology but from the debate. It turns out that one group believes that they have survived discrimination and are ahead on points while another group wish to assert their cultural identity. While the courses of their respective ships are only 5° from parallel they are nevertheless scraping each other badly.

I travelled to Canada to tell them what were doing about the Poll Tax in NZ, and brought back news of the Canadian Chinese legal claim for redress for Head Tax and Exclusion Act.


In 2001 Dr James Ng updated his History of the Chinese in New Zealand to include observations on the new immigrants.


In 2000 the format of the website was revamped.


In 1999 we published the complete proceedings from the Conference 'Chinese in Australasia and the Pacific: Old and New Migrations and Cultural Change' organised by the Association for the Study of Chinese and their Descendants in Australasia and the Pacific Islands held in Dunedin the previous November at the University of Otago. Included is my paper Chinese in a Bicultural New Zealand.


In 1998 we presented Dr James Ng's History of the Chinese in New Zealand, a summary based on a life-time of research for his four-volume work Windows on a Chinese Past.


In 1997 we reported on the development of the New Zealand Chinese History Display at the new Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington.


In 1996 Pansy Wong became the first Asian Member of Parliament on the National Party's List under MMP proportional representation. Winston Peters attacks Asian immigrants. I contribute a chapter to a two-volume work Maori Sovereignty from a Chinese perspective.









Thank you for visiting my website. You are welcome to use any of the material here in an appropriate way.


The location of articles in a website of this nature is somewhat arbitrary. You can use the search function located to the bottom left of this page to help you find what you want.


Please give credit to this website and to the original authors of the articles if you wish to cite their work.


I would be very pleased to include your finished paper on this website if it is relevant to the general themes developed here.


You are welcome to provide a link to this website and if you inform me, I will try to reciprocate.


I do not have sufficient expertise to answer many questions; however I would be pleased to refer you to some of my contacts who may be able to help.



The web has provides a new means for overseas Chinese communities to learn about each other and to keep abreast of developments.


For the meantime, (according to Google) this is the premier website about the Chinese in New Zealand. If your website (be it personal, specialist or community group based) could be relevant to the themes developed here, we would be pleased to provide a link to it.


Of course you are welcome to provide a link to this site from anywhere on the web.



The proper relationship between hua qiao and their host community has been an open question for as long as Chinese have travelled overseas to settle.


Now, additionally as indigenous people assert their rights in some countries, and their colonisers relent, the position of third parties such as hua qiao needs to be studied anew.


With increasing globalisation and trans-nationalism the questions must be redefined and new answers sought. This is especially relevant as a resurgent China develops at an increasingly rapid pace and starts to attract back the human resources formerly resident overseas.


New Zealand is a very small, educated and wired community. Because of these factors it has traditionally been a social laboratory in which new ideas have been tried earlier and developed more quickly than elsewhere.


Perhaps our experience in New Zealand will be relevant in other communities. Equally we must look at other communities for possible solutions to our problems.


I look forward to your comments, advice and support.


Finally, this page is sponsored by my company Steven Young & Associates Ltd. Contact us to do business!


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