New Zealand Guangdong General Chamber of Commerce

The New Zealand Guangdong General Association of Commerce Inc under direction from President Mr Tian Guo An and New Zealand company All Green NZ Ltd kindly offered to sponsor the Changping – Hurunui youth website based on two compelling beliefs and cornerstones:

1) The advancement of global understanding and cultural awareness

Guangdong province through the centuries has always being a melting pot for trade and during 16th century Guangdong has extensive trade links with the rest of the known world.

During the 19th century Guangdong was also the major exit port, where labours who left their country in search of a new life for them and their families. New Zealand was one of the destination countries.

In the 21st century with globalisation of the world and the interconnectivity it is the Association’s belief that the barriers to cultural misunderstanding and indifference must be broken down for the world be a safer place for all citizens.

2) The devastating 7.8 earthquake of November 14th 2016 with epicentre near Culverden Township Hurunui District

When a natural disaster happens many people and organisations come to support the affected community in different ways.

Just as in the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquake sequence the New Zealand Guangdong General Association of Commerce Inc, the other Chinese Associations and ethnic groups supported the Christchurch Community in many ways, often just quietly, yet proactively assisting where they could which is a common practice for migrant groups in a new country.

One of the learnings from 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquake sequence was the negative impact on both youth as individuals and youth as a collective within the community and the need for targeted engagement with youth who have been impacted that is supportive and forward thinking.

Understanding the direct impact on the youth in a post-earthquake environment, the New Zealand Guangdong General Association of Commerce Inc and All Green NZ Ltd, believed sponsoring a targeted youth website that provides a focus beyond the immediate Hurunui District’s issues and is an opportunity to proactively engage with youth in Changping District Beijing and wider China including Guangdong to become more globally aware citizens was the best way that the Association and All Green NZ Ltd could support the Hurunui district at this time and in their long road to full recovery.


Understanding Guangdong Province’s long association with New Zealand

The people from the province of Guangdong were the first Chinese to settle in New Zealand, and predominantly in the South Island as they chased their fortunes in the gold fields of Otago in the 1860s.

The early New Zealand settlement policy

To appreciate the story of these men one must understand the New Zealand settlement policy which deliberately favoured those of English decent and very few non English were naturalised as a New Zealander due to the outward and open discrimination and the bureaucratic hurdles that they had to overcome during naturalisation process.

At least one Chinese man was naturalised in 1852, he was known as Appo Hocton who had arrived in Nelson in 1842 and established a cartage business in the district. However Chinese naturalisation was not a common occurrence

What were the reasons for young Chinese men to leave South China?

Southern China was beset by overpopulation, land shortages, famine, and drought, banditry, and peasant revolts. All these factors combined lead many able-bodied young men to seek their fortunes overseas, they slowly migrated in a fan like direction first in South-East Asia and then further afield in the Pacific rim countries.

The discovery of gold in California, Canada and Australasia caused a further surge in particular reason for migration. An interesting point with these migrant men was that they had no intention of settling permanently in other countries, as they usually intended to make their fortunes and then return to China.

Chinese gold miners welcomed by an official invitation

The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce actively recruited Chinese migrant workers for the Otago gold fields, when the European miners left for new fields that had been discovered on the West Coast of the South Island. The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce was deliberate in choosing Chinese migrants as they were considered to be hardworking, inoffensive, willing to rework abandoned claims and they preferred to return eventually to their homeland therefore not considered threat to the national policy of the time as they usually had no desire to become long term residents.

In 1866, the first 12 men arrived from Victoria, Australia. By late 1869 over 2,000 Chinese men had come to the land they would call the ‘New Gold Mountain’.

Now is time for you to discover more about Chinese migration to New Zealand

As this is a website that support schools and youth engagement to understand more about each other’s culture, history and be more globally aware, we challenge you to conduct your own research around the topic of Chinese migration to New Zealand and follow the story over 200 years to present day.