Chinese Immigration

Chinese Immigrants in New Zealand

First Immigrants

Dunedin Chamber of Commerce invited Chinese from the Victoria Goldfields in Australia to the Central Otago Goldfields. This happened when the European miners left to the West Coast Goldfields and the Chinese were chosen because they were thought as hardworking and inoffensive. In 1869,over 2,000 Chinese had arrived in New Zealand. Most immigrants came from areas around Guangzhou. It was rare for the Chinese woman to migrate and the genders were greatly unbalanced.


In 1881, there were only 9 Chinese woman and 4,995 Men.


When the Chinese first arrived, the government increased the Chinese tax outrageously and it was clear that the New Zealanders resented the Chinese immigrants. The reason for the increase of tax was to drive the Chinese out of New Zealand and keep them out. The poll tax had been £10 but gradually, because of the larger tax, in 1904, the poll tax was £100!

The New Zealanders finally started to accept Chinese in World War II, when the Chinese fought with Japan and the Chinese women and children were allowed to come to New Zealand. As the Chinese families grew in New Zealand, many communities formed.


The Chinese communities mainly consisted of men before World War II because most could not afford the 100 tax for their families to come and live in New Zealand. Most men would just have to visit their families once a year. However, some men would send for their brothers, sons or nephews who would then work in New Zealand and sometimes marry a European woman.


Some of these laws were:

After 1907, all Chinese arrivals had to sit an English test to determine whether they were allowed in.

In 1908, the admittance of Chinese immigrants was stopped and didn't continue until 1952.

In 1926, permanent residency for Chinese was denied.

Why do Chinese move to New Zealand?

There are many reasons for Chinese moving to New Zealand for example, there are more job opportunities. Chinese who come to NZ bring medical knowledge, they can be Tour Guides for Chinese coming to New Zealand, chefs for Chinese cuisines, Mandarin teachers or Martial Arts masters. Chinese come to New Zealand mostly because China is OVERPOPULATED the population of China in 2013 was 1.354 BILLION people! Whereas, the population of New Zealand in 2013 was 4.5 million.