Book marks 80 years as NZ’s leading Chinese organisation
19 June 2015
Book launch marks 80 years as New Zealand’s leading Chinese organisation
The New Zealand Chinese Association has launched a history of the organisation at a celebratory event at the National Library of New Zealand/Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa in Wellington today.
Called Turning Stone into Jade tells the story of New Zealand’s oldest national Chinese community organisation, the New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA). In its early incarnations, NZCA offered kinship and a united voice for an often marginalized and fragile minority.
The history recounts the change as the New Zealand Chinese has evolved into a community with a sense of place in the diverse population of present day New Zealand. Eighty years ago NZCA advocated for basic rights, such as citizenship and an end to the discriminatory poll tax exacted on the early Chinese and in the late 1990s worked with Government to finally see a national apology for the poll tax. In more recent times, the NZCA has sponsored events like the Going Bananas conferences that have explored modern themes about culture, identity and community.
The NZCA commissioned author David Fung, fluent in Chinese and English, to delve into the organisation’s archives and pen a history that was at risk of disappearing into dusty archives and fading from memory as the ranks of the elder members of the NZCA grew thinner with the passing of time.
The origins of NZCA lie in the formation of the Wellington-based New Zealand Chinese Association in 1935, created with the encouragement of the respected Chinese Consul General of the time Wang Feng. Its initial aims were to promote the “intellectual, moral and physical wellbeing of the Chinese. Formed by members of the community, NZCA continues its work, supporting young leadership initiatives, language classes, cultural identity camps and Easter sporting tournaments.