Taranaki Chinese

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Taranaki Chinese

The Chinese, many of them Chans,from the Sun Gai village, Jung Seng, Canton, began arriving from the South Island, when the Waimate Plains was opening. (Jung Seng is today known as Zeng Cheng)

Here they began market gardens on the fertile plains; green grocer stores to sell the vegetable they grew.


Chan Sheen Chong, from Sa Chuen village, arrived in Stratford in 1904, to help his sister and brother in law's business.

Later he established his own business, C S Chong in Manaia. Later, trading as C S Chong and sons,(Jack and Kenneth) they established a green grocer in High Street Hawera.

C S Chong, aka Harry Chong, sent his wife,second wife and daughter back to China in 1933, leaving him to raise a daughter and 3 sons on his own. His baby was often seen in the wagon, when he delivered his vegetables to residents in the township. He was a hard working man, and expected the same from his children.

C S Chong passed away at the age of 76, on 16 December 1957, forcing the sale of the Hawera shop to pay the death duties.

1911-1914 Yee Kee, laundry


Another Fire -

23 February 1901 - OUTBREAK IN PRINCES STREET. At five minutes to 12 last night a fire was discovered jn a detached washhouse at the rear of the Buifet,Owned by Mr George Ah Chang and occupied by Mrs Rowberry. - Papers Past Hawera & Normanby Star http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&srpos=48&cl=search&d=HNS19010223.2.9&e=-------en--41----0ah+chang-all

27 August 1902 - Advert: AH CHANG, GENERAL GROCER, PROVISION MERCHANT, AND CEYLON TEA IMPORTER, Princes Street HAWERA. 401b bag Sugar 7/9; 251b bag Oatmeal 4/4; Kerosene 4/ per tin; 50lb Flour 6/; Currants 5d per lb; Raisins 7d per lb; Sultanas 7d per lb; Peel 6d per lb; Household Soap 6/8 per box; Jams 8/8 per dozen; Marmalade 5/6 per dozen. Any other line not mentioned, the same prioe or lower than the leading man. To seoure these benefits, the goods must be paid for before leaving the premises. AH CHANG, General Grocer and Merchant, Ceylon Tea Importer, Princes Street Hawera. - Papers Past Hawera & Normanby Star

Postcard Ca 1910 - showing site of Chinese shop,immediately opposite Union Street and building in background is on the corner of Regent Street. "Koung Young grocer - Chin San Shing - Furniture made to order" There is also a black and white photo of the shops, but with a wider perspective, taken in 1905. The photo is at Te Papa. http://www.kiwicelts.com/mediawiki/index.php/Image:Hawera_-High_St%2C_Opp_Union_St.jpg

There may have been a Chinese store next to the White Hart and another one close to the cast –iron mail box.

Wong On Kee - A photo taken in High Street C 1910. Note the verandah and lattice work.

The store front of the Fruit and grocery business of On Kee & Co

1 b&w original negative(s); ca 1910 Shows the store front of On Kee & Co, with the display sign 'Fruiterers & Grocers' and 'Cash buyers for fungus'. Three men holding bicycles are standing outside the store while another man, possibly Chan Sheen Chong from Manaia (brother in law of Wong On Kee),with legs crossed and one arm leaning on boxes, stands behind. Photograph taken by James McAllister ca 1910. Part of: McAllister, James, 1869-1952 :Negatives of Stratford and Taranaki district (PAColl-3054)


Greengrocery shop interior.[ca 1920s-1930s]: probably in the Taranaki region. Shows a Chinese shopkeeper in the centre of the store, standing behind baskets of apples and boxes containing peaches, cape gooseberries, and other fruits. More produce lines the shelves on the walls. A Chinese lantern, and paper streamers, hang from the ceiling. Photograph taken by John Reginald Wall, circa 1920s-1930s


[ca 1920s-1930s]Reference number: 1/1-013024-G1 b&w original negative(s). Glass negative. Horizontal image.Part of Wall, John Reginald, fl 1890 :Photographs (PA-Group-00215) Photographic Archive, :

1 February 1907 Advert: AH CHANG, GENERAL STOREKEEPER AND IMPORTER Of China Silk, Matting, and Preserved Ginger, etc., HIGH ST HAWERA. Goods delivered. Highest Price buyer of Fungus in any quality. Papers Past - Hawera & Normanby Star

1911-1914 Joe Lee, laundry, High St/Victoria St intersection.

Stones Directory Wellington Hawkes Bay Taranaki 1944

104 High Street Hawera - Fruit Shop - Sincere and Co, Manager Jock Tung (and Willie Lum Wing,Jung Seng, closed early 1960s.)

135 Hing T Fruiterer



3 May 1894 Advert AH CHANG, GENERAL STOREKEEPER Hawera and Manaia. Has a large stock of the best Groceries, Crockery Ironmongery, Tobacco, Fruits and Confectionery, Bran, Pollard, Wheat, Oats, etc at lowest rates for cash, Prices on application. AH CHANG, Hawera and Manaia. - Papers Past Hawera & Normanby Star.

Louis Tung Kitt and his wife Poyha retire to Manaia, after withdrawing from politics. His children Nellie and Jackson also lived in the township. Son Watson left for Wellington.

Louis Kitt was Bark Shek in 1869, arrived in Wellington New Zealand in 1887. http://www.tungjung.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=31


1917 Wai Yep & Co, merchants.

http://www.pukeariki.com/en/stories/immigration/yeptoast.htm http://www.pukeariki.com/en/stories/immigration/yep.asp

1922 Wing Harry, Grocer's assistant

1922 Yep Jack, Storekeeper

1922 Yep Wai, Storekeeper

1923 Wong Hy, store assistant

1923 Yep & Co(Jack), Storekeeper


Nov 20 1905 - Advert Eltham Argus - Mr Wong Mong who premises were damaged by Fire at Kaponga.

Dec 23 1905 - Advert Wong Mong Fruiterer will shortly recommence business.


Chew Chong was the famous of all Chinese in Taranaki. He has more recently been mentioned as the "Founder of Fonterra".

He arrived in the late 1880s - starting the refrigeration of the butter industry, responsible for the pound of butter

His enterprising manner saw him rescue many from the depression days of the 1930 - offering to buy fungus which he exported to China.

He had general stores, butcher shops, and fungus depots in various towns around the mountain.

http://www.pukeariki.com/en/stories/businessAndIndustry/chewchong.htm http://www.pukeariki.com/en/stories/farming/waterrace.htm http://www.pukeariki.com/en/stories/farming/nevillewilkes.htm http://www.pukeariki.com/en/stories/immigration/chewchong.htm

 From Eltham & Districts Historical Society Records:

Eltham Argus Newspaper 1904 to 1967 The newspaper has records of the early Chinese in the township.

30/8/1905 Yot Ning started laundry in High Street

13/7/1906 W Ah Gan, Groceries, Bridge St. Next door to Mr Ridd, Chemist

1/6/1908 Moon Chan, Fruiterer, Grocer & tobacconist, Bridge St.Opposite Taylor & Scrivener & Co.

1/8/1908 Chung Lee has purchased the laundry business lately carried out by Quong Lee.

5/8/1908 Chinese fruit shop tarred. Chan Fan and also Wong Mong.

24/8/1908 Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LIII, Issue LIII, Page 8

During the early hours of Saturday morning the Chinese fruiterers, Chan Fan and Wong Mong, again had their shop windows decorated in black lacquer by some unknown enthusiastic member of the Anti-Asiatic . League, thus making the third occasion within the last fortnight that these two shops have been treated in a similar manner.

24/7/1909 Owners of Allot 6-7 write to council for private rightway over section 7,occupied by Kee See.

23/9/1909 Information laid against 2 Chinese men for keeping Bridge St shop open after 5.30pm.

24/9/1909 Chan Fan and Kee Sue fined one pound.

28/9/1910 Advert Man Lee, Bridge St, Greengrocer, Fruiterer & confectioner

20/10/1910 Advert Man Lee, Bridge St, Greengrocer, Fruiterer & confectioner. Buyer of Fungus

8/11/1917. Magistrates Court,D D Baxter charged with assault on china man. Ah Parkes, fruiterer, Bridge St.

24/1/1920. Mrs C M Foo, Fruit and Vegi Business, Bridge St. Sold. Giving up business.

7/4/1920 Tar applied to the front of the Chinese Fruiterers premises.

19/7/1920 Magistrates Court. Ernest Benjamin Keats of Eltham, charged with drunkeness and damage to show case, prperty of Ah Jack, Chinese Fruiterer.

27/7/1920 Stones thrown at the Chinese Fruiterers & laundry again.

15/1/1921 Adverts. Sam Lee, in premises next to Patterson's Stables, High St

13/4/1921 Wah Fong. Charged with selling to a youth under 16 years.

18/4/1921 A P Jack, Fruiterer, opposite Post Office.

5/3/1921 Sam Lee's Laundry will be closed from today.

25/5/1921 Assault on a Chinaman, youth fined. James Brew, Blacksmith's labourer, assailted O K Chong, Fruitere, Bridge St

16/6/1921 Windows were smashed at Ah Jack's Fruiters, Bridge St

27/3/1922. Fruit & Confectionery shop, known as Charlies, opposite the Bon Marche, was broken into on Saturday night, cash was taken.

4/1/1923 Advert A P Jack, Fruiterer, Bridge St, opposire the Post Office.

20/3/1923 Wing Koy, charged with selling fruit on Saturday.

8/6/1923 Chung Lee & Co,Fruiterers & Confectionist

13/6/1930 Ah Parkes, late of Eltham, Fruiterer, died 13 June 1930. Calling for creditors.

29/9/1931 Bankrupt A P Jack and Ah Jack Hing, Fruiteres

29/9/1932 The Fruiterers Business, A P Jack & Co has changed hands, Mrs Renao, Bridge Street

Charlie Lum had a laundry until the 1950s.

From Eltham Public School records:

Albert Chong, admission 1889 to 1891;

George Edward Chang, DOB 23/3/1908, admission 1/2/1921. Married Annie Chapman 1931.

Frank Ching, DOB 1/2/1906,admission 3/8/1914.

Albert Ching

From Telephone Directores:

1917 Wee Lee & Co, Laundry

1922 Chung Lee, Laundry

1922 Choy Jas, Laundry

1922 Wong Koy, Fruiterer

1922 Wong Ling Pow, Fruiterer & Confectioner

1923 Wong Koy, Fruiterer

Other News - from Eltham & Districts Historical Society Records:

May 13 1904 - Chinese arrive NZ have to pay 100 pounds Poll Tax to remain in NZ.

Aug 28 1905 Yot Ning notifies the Public of Eltham he has commenced an up to date Laundry in the Premises in High St, latterly occupied by the Golden Grid.

July 22 1907 - Advert Chan Moon, Fruiter, Grocer etc Bridge St, has purchased the business laterly conducted by Lee Quay.

June 9 1909 Fruiters & confectionist have removed to the shop next door to Sidney Ward & Co

Jan 18 1921 - Eltham Argus Advertisment

A P Jack - Fruiterer & Greengrocer, Bridge St, (opposite Post Office) A Splendid Stock of ALL FRUITS IN SEASON. AlWays on hand FRESH VEGETABLES DAILY. Orders to the value of 2s 6d and over Delivered in All Parts of the Town.

Jan 18 1921 - Eltham Argus Advertisment

SAM LEE, LAUNDRYMAN, HIGH STREET (Next Paterson's Stables) PRICE LIST. Starching shirt 3d; starching collars 1d;washing and starching shirt 4d;washing and starching collar 1 1/2d; soft shirts 3d; singlets 2d; paid socks 1d; handerkerchiefs 8d per dozen. Ladies' Dresses Very Cheap.

Unknown Date - Eltham Argus Advertisment

Notice: The Business of Ching Shing 14 Bridge Street Eltham; has been taken over by Ah Chang.

Same date - Eltham Argus Advertisment

Ah Chang. Begs to notify the public of Eltham and surrounding district that he has taken over the GROCERY TOBACCONIST FRUIT AND CONFECTIONERY Business and trusts by civilty and attention, combines with a good article to merit a fair share of the trade.

Price List For Cash No. 1 sugar 8s 9d; No. 2 sugar 8s 6d per 40lb bags. Flour 4s 6d for 50s, 8s 3d for 100s. 150 test. Kerosene 5s 6d per tin. 25lbs oatmeal, 3s 3s. Price's candles 8d per lb.5 lb box Ceylon Tea 7s. All kinds of Ceylon Teas from 1s 6d to 2s 6d per lb in package or loose.

Every desciption of Grocery, Tobacconists, Goods, Fruits and Confectionery. At Lowest Rates for Cash.

Fresh fruits arriving at every opportunity.

Cash Buyer of fungus in any quantity. Highest Price given.

Bridge Street Eltham and Princes Street Hawera


13-8-1904 T Herald Page 3 Midhurst Fires - Mrs Wing Kee


1911-1914 Wing Kee, Mrs Store Keeper


In Patea was Lai Yee and Lai Kee Sue.

Lai Kee Sue had a garden which supplied his business in the main street if Patea. A resident well remembers Lai Kee Sue taking his produce, by bike,trudging up the hill to town.The hill was known as Chinamans Hill. He had many children borne to him and his wife.

Whenever Kai Kee Sue was in Hawera, he looked a dapper man, in his western suit and gold fob watch. He was a frequent visitor to visit others clansmen in the township.

Memories from R H, 21/6/2007:

"I lived in Patea from 1944 to 1978. The Kee Sues owned the greengrocers shop in the main street. Everybody bought their fruit and vegetables there as it was the only shop of its kind in town. Mr. Kee Sue had a market garden just out of town on some very fertile land at the bottom of what was always known as the Chinamans Hill. It is still called this even now I believe. His wife and daughters and sons worked in the shop. Mr Kee Sue used to collect vegetables from the market garden and carry them up to the shop on his bike. The bike was loaded right up with a big basket on the front and back, and I remember him pushing it up the steep hill past our house even when he was a very old man.

Albert Wong had a fruit and veg. shop in the main street of Patea before the Kee Sue family and this is the shop which was later owned by another family.I guess Abert Wong must have sold it to and retired."

Louis Lee, nephew of C S Chong, had a market garden at Chinaman's Hill, possibly in the 30s - as recorded in a book held at the museum in Patea. Louis Lee was the eldest son on Wong On Kee who started his business in Stratford, and later moved to Hawera. (The On Kee siblings included Walter, Allen, and George On Kee, and may be the men in the photo mentioned above, under Wong On Kee. Their mother was the elder sister of Chan Shee Chong, from Sa Chuen.)

1911-1914 Lee Chong, Fruiterer

1911-1914 Wong Yew, Fruiterer

New Plymouth




Chong C L & Co November 19 1926

Kitt Louis T April 20 1915

Lock T to W Chong High Street March 21 1921

Louis On Kee Chong & Co Hawera February 10 1926

We On & Co High Street Hawera June 26 1915

Wong Lem High Street Hawera August 11 1903 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=HNS19030811.2.2.4&e=-------10--1----0-all


Chew Chong Mutual Benefit Store Eltham January 4 1897

SALE NOW ON GREAT BARGAINS. HAVING brought the whole General Stock in Trade of Mr Walter Hill's Estate, at the Mutual Benefit Store, Eltham, at greatly reduced prices and not wishing to carry on the business myself I propose holding a CLEARANCE SALE At Prices Under Cost For One Month Only. Grocery, Drapery, Boots, Shoes, Ironmongery, Crockery, and Glassware. Inspection Invited. Do not miss Genuine Bargains. CHEW CHONG, Mutual Benefit Stores, Eltham.

Koung Young General July 16 1904

Tai Shing General High Street Hawera January 2 1897

Yee Hing General Normanby May 15 1907

Yee Lee & Co General December 24 1901


Chang A H High Street Hawera April 1 1892

Tai Loy High Street Hawera December 11 1893


Fong Lee Hawera April 13 1920

Joe Lee Chinese Laundry Manaia April 3 1914

Lay Yee, Kee Sue, Lai Bing (We On) Hawera February 16 1925

Lee T Chinese Laundry Hawera October 18 1902

Wai Sun 181 Princes Street Hawera March 19 1924

We On High Street Hawera Maecg 19 1924

Yick Chue Princes Street Hawera May 9 1907


Chong Chang Hoy High Street Hawera. Fruiterer. Motor car lorry. 8 years experience. Original Wellington Council 26 June 1929.

Chun Arthur High Street Hawera c/- We On Fruiterer Truck Original Manaia Town B 1 September 1925

Yee Lay

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