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Friday, 11th September 2015

Lincoln Learn A Lot!

Friday, 11th April 2014

Lincoln Learn A Lot!

Reading the interpretation panels at the Chinese village  

  • Lincoln Learn A Lot!Reading the interpretation panels at the Chinese village
  • Lincoln Learn A Lot!Exploring the huts of the Chinese settlement
  • Lincoln Learn A Lot!What a happy bunch of students! - Thanks for visiting Lincoln!

Wow! It's great to see that another week has been and gone at the Museum, with it being jam-packed with students visiting! We had a fantastic Friday finish with 29 year 13 senior history students from Lincoln, who spent the day researching here at the Lakes District Museum.

All of the students had a specific focus on the Chinese settlers who came during the 1860's, and about the causes and consequences for the Poll Tax that was enforced upon them. A lot of the Chinese settlers were eager to make the big move to New Zealand as China was suffering from famine, and poor working conditions, and low wages. Any money found on the goldfields in New Zealand by the Chinese settlers could be sent back to China to help their families back home.

BUT On arriving into New Zealand, a lot of the Chinese settlers soon discovered that even though they had been invited into New Zealand, they weren't welcome. A lot of unfounded resentment was geared towards the Chinese. A fear of economic competition was one reason why Europeans struggled to accept the Chinese settlers into their community. The European settlers also struggled with accepting Chinese culture, which was strikingly different from their own. Religion, leisure activities, traditional holidays, and smoking opium were some of the differences that the Europeans struggled to accept. This led to the The Chinese Immigrants Act of 1881. This act was created specifically to limit the amount of Chinese settlers arriving into New Zealand. The number of Chinese who could arrive on one ship was limited to one for every 10 tons of the vessel’s weight. A poll tax of £10 was also imposed on each Chinese person entering the country. In 1888 the ratio of immigrants to ship tonnage was cut to one Chinese person per 100 tons. In 1896, it was halved to one per 200, and the poll tax increased to £100.

A positive consequence of this Poll Tax was a formal apology by the New Zealand government in 2002. At a Chinese New Year celebration on the 12th February, Prime Minister Helen Clark made this statement:

"I wish to announce today that the government has decided to make a formal apology to those Chinese people who paid the poll tax and suffered other discrimination imposed by statute and to their descendants. With respect to the poll tax we recognise the considerable hardship it imposed and that the cost of it and the impact of other discriminatory immigration practices split families apart. Today we also express our sorrow and regret that such practices were once considered appropriate."

If you are interested in learning more about our Chinese Settler History check out the Te Ara website.

Do you think a formal apology by the New Zealand Government was the right move?

How else could New Zealand formally apologize and amend what has happened between the two countries?

Answer my questions and comment about this blog post below!