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NZCA Ventnor Trip PDF Print

An Important part of Chinese New Zealand history.

In October 1902, the SS Ventnor set a course to Hong Kong, carrying on board a shipment of coal, some dried fungus and at least 499 bone coffins of Chinese who had lived their lives in New Zealand and did not return to their villages.  On the way, the ship hit some rocks off the Taranaki coast and was limping towards Auckland when it sank 10 miles off the Hokianga Harbour and in deep deep water.  Three lifeboats of men survived, coming into the harbour across the tricky bar, 13 lives were lost including Captain Ferry and some of the Chinese men who were tasked with the care of the coffins during the passage home.  Some coffins floated up on shore, and were reburied at Kawarua.  

Human bones, some in bags, some by themselves washed up along the beach.  Maori picked them up with the intention that they needed to go back to China, but before that could happen, the boat left some of them at Rawene, believing that they might bring bad luck onto any crew of any boat.   We are still trying to find the area in Rawene cemetery where these bones might have been buried.. 

There is a plaque at Te Roroa Headquarters at Kawerua, acknowledging our (Chinese) thanks to Maori for their care of our ancestors since they buried the bones that they found following the disaster.  Another plaque to thank Te Rarawa is at Mitimiti.

The trip on 2nd & 3rd of May will visit all the sites for you to view them, burn some joss sticks for the ancestors regardless of whether they are your own village ancestors or not. Given we are over 100 years after the event, these souls are simply ‘our’ ancestors that need acknowledging. It's a great trip, and better with a group of Chinese.  The Far North is so different from the rest of New Zealand. Come on up……

2015- NZCA – National Trip to the Far North

Join in with a group of Chinese from all over New Zealand for this historic event – Poon Fah are unveiling their granite plaque.

Saturday 2rd May 

Leaving Auckland Saturday 2nd May, 7.00am

Countdown car park, cnr Greenlane Road and Great South Rd.

Travel to Dargaville, short break, last supplies

Te Roroa Headquarters – Walk through the Ventnor Grove, and give thanks to the ancestors in front of the plaque we offered to Te Roroa. Bring joss sticks.

Meal at Te Roroa café.

Visit Tane Mahuta – oldest largest and majestic tree. If you feel old, stand beside this fella and you will come away feeling youthful.

Travel to Signal Station Road – where the SS Ventnor was last sighted. Stand looking out to sea. At 10 o’clock 10 miles out to sea is where the wreck site lies. To the right you see the harbour where the life boats landed.

Travel to Old Wharf Road, where the scene in front of you will bring that very well known photograph alive. Its where the survivors beached their life boats.

Travel to your accommodation….. Self cater for evening meal

Travel to Rawene Cemetery. We know that there are bones buried there. Wander around and tell us where you think they might be. Chinese Historic Group are planning to have the area surveyed later this year.

6.30pm No 1 Parnell Gallery, Rawene.

An evening presentation with Wong Liu Shueng, Project leader for the Chinese Historic Ventnor Group (now under NZCA – National.) Plenty of time to ask questions, the more the better.

7.30pm wander around the gallery and look at the exquisite photographs taken by Dr King Tong Ho- the story of what happened when we fed the ‘hungry ghosts’ the first time after 110 years.

Fund raiser – Ralph Hotere books (through the kind generosity of Ron Sang) will be on sale $65.00

Sunday 3rd May

8.30am For the early birds – go to the Hokianga Museum, run by a group of volunteers. They are making a huge effort to get on loan some Chinese artefacts for this occasion. They also hold a record of the research on the project to date.

9.30am Leave for Mitimiti, via ferry. Meet up with the Kaumatua, Peter Martin (Uncle Mingo) who will lead us up into the urupa (cemetery) to the red gateway. Two years ago we placed a brass plaque on the gateway, but it has corroded badly, and now unreadable. This plaque is being replaces by a granite one. The Poon Fah will lead the unveiling.

Nearby is the grave of artist Ralph Hotere.

Bring your own cut lunch and picnic on the beach where the ancestors bones were washed a shore.

Then travel back to Auckland. I would suggest a stop in Kerikeri before you leave the Far North.

Cost $195 per person – travel to and from Auckland, ferry, accommodation, meal at Te Roroa on Saturday. Payment can be direct credited to:

NZCA Auckland - ANZ 060287 0016463 00, giving name and Branch.

Get a group together from your branch and come.

Book your seat now – email Connie Kum This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or Virginia This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Bring food, shops sell only basics. Bring clothing for four seasons. Cell phone cover intermittent.

For people travelling to Auckland.

Please arrive on Friday 1st May 2015.

Please arrange your own accommodation and transport to the Countdown Greenlane on Saturday morning. Please do NOT book an airfare back to your home until Monday 4th May.

There are a dozen reasons why there might be a delay getting into Auckland. The usual one is traffic. 

 Download NZCA 2015 Trip details

Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust - Research Project on Chinese Laundries in New Zealand PDF Print
Some of us may remember the local Chinese laundry, where our parents or grandparents worked for long hours in hot, steamy conditions. Laundry work was one of the main occupations that Chinese immigrants to New Zealand took up after the gold rushes, along with market gardening and fruit and vegetable and grocery stores.  Chinese laundries were so prevalent by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they became an ethnic stereotype, particularly in the United States and Canada.

The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust has commissioned a project to research and produce a publication on the history of Chinese owned and operated laundries in New Zealand. We need to ensure that this significant part of New Zealand’s social history is not lost; this project aims to preserve our memories of those times.

If you or your relations have any information, photographs or memories to share about Chinese laundries, please contact:
Joanna Boileau
tel 09 528 1174
mob. 0226710 334
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Turning Stone into Jade PDF Print

This is the story of how a community founded by Chinese sojourners and migrants adapted to New Zealand, their new homeland far from the place of their ancestor's birth. The community history will be published soon. Please show your support for your community by registering your interest in purchasing a copy of Turning Stone into Jade. Email the NZCA at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 Download Flyer

Por Pors Cookbook by Carolyn King PDF Print
Home cooking through the generations since Chinese Women Settled in New Zealand over the last 100 years

This book contains over 140 recipes and 15 Chinese women’s life stories.
Reviewed by:
Margaret Agnew, Journalist, Past editor of The Christchurch Press, Weekend Supplement.
“ Food is one of the strongest ties to our culture and this unique cookbook is an important link to the
culinary past and present of our multi-generational New Zealand-Chinese community. The women
(and men) have been cooking up a taste of home since they arrived from mainland China in the early
1900s. Modern Kiwis of Chinese descent will find this book especially fascinating for a taste of our
Porpor’s past. A poignant and piquant slice of culinary history.”

Kuan Meng Goh (ONZM, JP, Ph D, FRSNZ), Emeritus Professor, Lincoln University; Canterbury
Branch President and Past National President, New Zealand Chinese Association
“It is widely known that few other cultures are as food oriented as the Chinese. According to the
famous Chinese scholar and archaeologist, K.C. Chang, “Chinese people are especially occupied with
food and food is at the centre of, or at least it accompanies or symbolizes, many social interactions.”
Traditionally, in Chinese culture, there is always an important relationship between food and
health. This book adds a new dimension to the relationship by linking the experiences of Chinese
grandmothers to their recipes. The recipes as presented are not only home-proven to succeed but
are also authentic and achievable. Most people enjoy Chinese food and the recipes provide the
opportunity to cook these delicious dishes. “

Meilin Chong, NZCA, Auckland Branch Committee Member.
“This is a beautiful, well presented and illustrated Chinese cook book which is informative combined
with family stories. It brings back fond memories of childhood days and the foods that our mothers
and grandmothers cooked for us.”
Home cooking through the generations since Chinese Women
settled in New Zealand over the last 100 years


Through the generations the recipes have been passed down by SHOW and TELL
We learnt by observation not by recipe.
My aim was to record these home cooked recipes that we all love to eat.
When the Chinese first settled in NZ, they used whatever fresh produce was available to them and added their own flavourings and seasonings.

Aim of Cook Book;--Within the recipes sections;

1. to record the Por por’s recipes as well as my own recipes.
2. to record recipes for my daughter, and generation X & Y who now live all over the world and with their busy careers eat out more than they cook BUT yearn for the meals that they were brought up on.
3. to present and record Home Chinese cooking in NZ over the last 90-100 years.
4. to provide recipes using a base of healthy food ingredients for all New Zealanders who are interested in Chinese cooking .

                           --With 15 Biographies of Chinese women to record
1. Life stories of grandmothers of varying ages the oldest 88yrs to the youngest of 65 years.
2. Their ancestral roots as related to first arrival to NZ.
3. Interests and achievements, contributions to their community.
4. 2-3 of their family recipes and any significant events or customs of the past.
Market Potential---------This book should appeal to

All Foodies who love to cook.
Book lovers of biographies and cooking.
New Zealanders and Australians who have had contact with Chinese families in their community.
New Zealanders, young and old of Chinese descent, many now reside all over the world.
Internationally, those who have roots from Southern China.
Anyone interested in Chinese cooking.

 Background  Information;

In the 1901 NZ census, it showed that there were 78 Chinese women to 2, 885 Chinese men. The men folk had left their villages in Southern China due to poverty caused by famines, floods, attacks from bandits and civil wars.
Upon hearing of gold in NZ in the 19th century and the chance of making their fortunes, they left their wives and families and came to New Zealand. They had planned to stay a few years and return to their families and live in comfort. Unfortunately this was not so.

In the 1921 census there were 2993 men and 273 women. Chinese men worked wherever they could get a job, lived frugally and when they saved enough money, set up small businesses such as market gardens, fruit and vegetable shops and laundries.
As Chinese women, either born in NZ or had come to live here as the government immigration laws permitted, the families lived off the bare necessities, raised their families and worked long hours with their husbands.  It was not easy as they faced verbal abuse and racial prejudice.  Many New Zealanders may not have understood what hardships the Chinese endured in the earlier years up to the 1960s.

I received a small monetary grant from the NZ Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust which enabled me to commence this book. My Por Pors Cookbook meets the obligations of the trust as it records the lives of Chinese women, and recipes.

I hope that this book will be a fine tribute to all these great women for their fine contribution to the New Zealand Society.

September 25, 2013.
Carolyn King.

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POR PORS Cookbook synopsis

Cookbook Flyer

NZCA Youth Leadership Camp 12 to 15 December 2013 PDF Print
Following the successful inaugural Youth Leadership Camp in 2011 – NZCA Auckland is hosting a 
second camp on 12-15 December 2013 at Camp Adair, Hunua. 

The camp offers a comprehensive leadership, cultural and team building experience for over 40 
college aged NZ Chinese/Asian students from across our community. In 2011 the participants came 
from Auckland, Wellington, Foxton, Levin, Waikato and even the Gold Coast Australia. The energy 
and enthusiasm of Albert King (Inspiration and Leadership Motivation Consultant), our key 
facilitator from Singapore, will again be present at the 2013 camp. 

Camp Adair is an ideal venue and the key note speakers are a great cross section of leaders across 
our community. An alumnus of young support facilitators will help drive a versatile outdoor and 
cultural programme. The activities, including confidence courses, Chinese calligraphy and Chinese 
traditional dance will ensure an intensive and fulfilling programme. 

The benefits will translate into the participants becoming more confident and capable young 
leaders within our community. The camp provides a stepping stone to our other NZCA leadership 
initiatives being the Leadership and Development Conference (for ages 18 -30) and the social 
business networking forum – Future Dragonz (http://www.futuredragonz.org.nz/index.html ). 

As part of the programme we will again have a presentation from the versatile Mayor of Gisborne, 
Meng Foon, as a keynote speaker. Meng is a talented NZ born Chinese leader who has grown up 
from a market garden background, speaks fluent Maori and Cantonese and provides a great 
mentoring perspective to the young attendees. 

Please spread the word to your family, friends, sons, daughters and wider network – and send in 
your expression of interest to attend to  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

In the interim please go to our Facebook page for some insights. 
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