Wellington Chinese History Wiki

Joe Kum Yung memorial, Haining Street.

New Zealand Chinese communities have a long history in Wellington, New Zealand, with the earliest Chinese settling in Wellington around the 1860s[1] when John Ah Tong set up a carpentry business in Willis Street[1][2]. Chinese didn't arrive in significant numbers until the 1880s[3], some 30 years after Wong Ah Poo Hoc Ting (aka Appo Hocton) jumped ship in Nelson to become the first Chinese migrant to New Zealand[4][5][6], and only a few years after the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce invited Chinese miners to Otago[7]

Early Chinese activity in Wellington historically centred around Haining Street and Frederick Street, and Sage's Lane, which was unofficially known as Wellington's Chinatown, or 'Tong Yan Gaai' (Chinese People's Street).

This wiki maps locations of significance to this community, and some of the history, organisations, businesses and people associated with them.

Although this wiki focuses on the greater Wellington area, there will be some content from further afield, which has a connection with the history of Chinese in Wellington, or may just be snippets of information that are of interest.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Timespanner. (2018, December 11). Timespanner: Early Chinese in Wellington. Retrieved 10 December 2018, from https://timespanner.blogspot.com/2018/12/early-chinese-in-wellington.html
  2. Early Chinese Settlers in New Zealand. (2020, January 31). BEACON. http://www.bhb.nz/63/post/2020/01/early-chinese-settlers-in-new-zealand.html
  3. Wellington City Council. (2013). Thematic Heritage Study of Wellington. Retrieved 8 November 2017, from https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/services/community-and-culture/heritage/files/thematic-heritage-study.pdf?la=en
  4. The Prow, & Stade, K. (2008). Appo Hocton – Jumped ship to become first Chinese Immigrant to New Zealand. Retrieved August 31, 2017, from http://www.theprow.org.nz/people/appo-hocton/#.Waht38ig-Uk
  5. HO, D. K. T. (2016). Appo HOCTON. Retrieved November 29, 2017, from https://www.objectaffection.com/appohocton/
  6. Appo Hocton panel unveiling. (2020, August 19). Our Nelson. https://our.nelson.govt.nz/stories/appo-hocton-panel-unveiling/
  7. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga, & Spoonley, P. (2017, August 1). Welcoming Chinese miners, 1865 [Web page]. Retrieved 25 September 2017, from https://teara.govt.nz/en/cartoon/28172/welcoming-chinese-miners-1865


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Scroll and zoom on the map to explore locations in Wellington of significance to the Wellington Chinese community.

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Jun 29, 2022, 21:49 - - 2022/06/29 21:49

#OnThisDay 30 June 1919 Rangitikei Advocate and Manawatu Argus Advertisements: GEE LONG BRIDGE ST., BULLS, FRUITERER AND CONFECTIONERY. VEGETABLE GROCER. Te Aro Seed Coy. Agency China Silks always on...

Jun 29, 2022, 18:33 - - 2022/06/29 18:33

There are 2,000 black-and-white photos that even the locals in Guangzhou have never seen before, lying quietly in the Presbyterian Research Centre library of Knox College in Dunedin, New Zealand, unkn...

Jun 28, 2022, 23:01 - - 2022/06/28 23:01

Joe and Joe, located at 11 The Square and 197 Cuba Street, Palmerston North, was listed on page 45 of the 1944 Wellington Provincial Trades Directory under the category Fruiterers, Confectioners and G...

Jun 28, 2022, 22:55 - - 2022/06/28 22:55

Artist Bev Moon created Fortune, a knitted Yum Cha feast, in memory of her mother Yip Sue Yen and grandmother Lee Choy Kee who were “both superb cooks, especially of yum cha, and knitters too”.https:/...

Jun 28, 2022, 03:03 - - 2022/06/28 03:03

5 Nov 2022 - 23 Jan 2023 at Whirinaki Whare Taonga, Upper Hutt: Bev Moon has created a yum cha feast, not of food, but lovingly knitted wool. Fortune is the artist’s tribute to her mother and grandmot...