William Hing (Wong Gum Jook 黃金祝) 1899-1973, and the Sing Lee Fruit Shop

William Hing – Family Background

william hing 1926William Hing was born in Ban Mee Yuen (板尾圆), west of Sek Kei (Zhongshan city) in Zhongshan on 24 April 1899. William Hing aka Wong Gum Jook (黃金祝) was the fifth of six children of Wong Wah Hing (a landlord) and She Yeong his wife. At the age of about 16 William went to Suva, Fiji where his brother Wong Gum Sui had a grocery store. Five foot seven inches tall and of medium build, William, was not quite 20 years of age when he left Fiji for New Zealand on the ship Talune.1 He arrived on 9th of July 1919, as noted on his Poll Tax Certificate No 724.2

wong kam moon 1925William spent several years at Marist Brothers school in Suva. This gave him a good start. He was better at reading and writing English than the other young Chinese men arriving to find work in Auckland in the 1920s. Not long after his arrival in New Zealand William joined the staff of Wah Jang Fruiterers, Queen Street and worked there for a year or two. William’s youngest brother Wong Gum Moon, aged 22, joined William in Auckland from Suva on 7 April 1925.3

Marriage to Doris On

William left on the Marama bound for Sydney on the 27th June 1926. His application to Immigration was supported by Albert Wong Duk from Zhongshan and Wah Lee, a business man. William returned to Zhongshan with the intention of finding a wife. He was introduced to Doris On (Leung Ei Jun 梁依珍) who was born 11 September 1907. She was from Fook Chung (福涌) village but lived in the town of Sek Kei (石岐), Zhongshan. She was 20 years of age and had been well educated. Leung Foo Yuin 梁富源 aka as Leong Sup, her father became a successful business man in Townsville. On his return to China he managed a money-brokering and jewellery business in Sek Kei.

William brought his young wife back to his house which he shared with other kinsman in New Zealand on the 10th May 1927.4 According to Lowe Nam 劉南5, they lived on the corner of Kingdon Street and Khyber Pass at 408 Khyber Pass Road (previously 218 Khyber Pass Road). William and his wife lived downstairs and Low Nam, Lowe Young Tai, Kwok Chong Wah another Zhongshan kinsman lived upstairs.6

looking along kingdon street from khyber pass

It must have been quite a shock to Doris to be in a place where there were very few Chinese women. Doris was the second Zhongshan woman to live in Auckland and became friends with Mrs Gock Oi Toi (from Jook Sou Yuen 竹秀圓), who was the first Zhongshan woman to arrive in Auckland 20 April 1923 with her husband Robert Wong Toi and two children from Fiji.

william hing with his wife doris and evameilin hing and julie fong 1949In the 1930s the Hings moved to 4797 Khyber Pass ( a two storeyed building with a shop frontage) and the men with him moved from the corner of Kingdon Street8 to 3 Osborne Street – a house rented by William Hing for his ‘for gee’ (workers). William and Doris had four daughters, the first three were born at home: Eva (黃綺華) was born on 17 November, 1934, Ehlin (黃綺蓮) on 22 March, 1936 and Wailin (黃惠蓮) on 20 March, 1939 . Daughter Meilin (黃美蓮) was born 31 October 1943 at a private nursing home in Remuera. Very sadly Doris Hing died after a prolonged labour giving birth to her fourth daughter, Meilin. She was 36 years old.

Marriage to Chiu Su Ha

Left with four daughters and no family support, in February 1945 William married Chiu Su Ha (趙少霞) from Wellington, a sister to Chiu Mun Chung (趙民重) (James Mun Chung) who owned the fruit shop ‘Mun Sang’ at 76A Lambton Quay.

lowe nam william hing chiu su ha and lois fong 1945

Chiu Su Ha gave birth to a daughter Meyun (Wong Mai Ying 黃美恩), born on 15 November 1945 and a son James (Jimmy) William (Wong Jun Yin 黃振原), born on 2 April 1950.9 William and his family of six children lived at 479 Khyber Pass for over 30 years until 1969.

jimmy hing and his future wife olga lowe 1972tram picking up passengers in the 1960

Early years of business

The first Newmarket fruit shop or ‘depot’ was established by a W. Wilson in 1902. In the 1910s and 1920s according to Wise’s directory there were a number of fruit shops in the Newmarket vicinity. For example Koung Young had a fruit shop in Broadway from 1911 to 1927 next door to Kirkpatrick and Stevens near Teed Street.

William Hing (known as Wong Hing) one of four partners of Chong Hing & Co was established in 1921 at 62 Manuaku Road 10 (now Broadway) and continued until 1928. The other men were Jung Seng men: Dudley On,11 brother of William Chong (Peter Chan's father), Wong Chong12 and Henry Chin who were partners in the Wah Jang fruit shop in Queen Street. The four young men probably met at Wah Jang’s fruit shop and decided to go into a new venture together in Newmarket.

new zealand herald volume lix issue 18202After a year or so William Hing decided to branch out his own hence the public notice published in the New Zealand Herald announcing his retirement on 20 September 1922 from the Chong Hing & Co business while the other three partners continued.

William bought a fruit shop business which was to be known as Sing Lee at 35 Manukau Road (Broadway) from the three Mar Kim brothers in 1922.13 Lowe Nam started working for William Hing from 1923 to 1932. Lowe Nam managed the fruit shop for William Hing In 1926, when William returned to China to get married. During these early years Lowe Nam said they used a horse and cart for transporting their vegetables.14

Bank Accounts

It was evident that the young William Hing (aged 21) had sufficient savings to buy his own business. A deposit of £80 was made with the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) on 29th August 1922. This was a substantial sum equivalent to about $7300 today. While there were withdrawals the total amount in 1925 was £ 77.12.7d close to the original amount deposited. (Refer to image of ASB bank account.) The ASB account does not appear to have been used for the purpose of securing a business.

william hing asb bank book 1922deposits and withdrawals from asb account 1922 1925sing lee co new south wales bank account 1943

From the very beginning it is likely that William Hing operated one or two business accounts under Sing Lee & Co with the Newmarket branch of the Bank of New South Wales. There are cheque books which have been kept in the family collection with entries as early as the 1920s. It is evident that there were many business transactions and a good cash flow.15 They throw considerable light on William Hing’s life and businees. The handwritten cheques butts show payments for expenses, possible loans to fellow Chinese, for goods and services, for wages, fees to the New Zealand Fruit and Vegetable Association, church donations and payment for special occasions such as at the Orient Dining Rooms in Broadway and the Chung King Café.

Sing Lee at 212 Broadway

William Hing who was referred to by the Chinese as Wong Jook or by his shop name Sing Lee became well known for his business acumen.16 The Sing Lee business did not move, however the street number changed from 35, to 47 and then to 212 Broadway.17 The exact date is not known but William leased one of a block of three shops in Queen’s Building. The other two later became Gilroys, a dress fabric shop and Mainland the chemist.18

an early busines card for sing lee 1930This was an ideal business location. The shops to the north included the New South Wales Bank, the Newmarket Borough Council, the library and post office and to the south included Self Help, and the entrance to the busy railway station. The housewives of Newmarket and Parnell provided a good customer base for [Sing Lee] and the many car parks on the street were convenient for ‘city workers [who] drove this side of the road to their homes, to the eastern suburbs of Remuera and Epsom.’19

In 1929 there were at least five fruitshops in Newmarket: Sing Lee, Ah Chee, Ah Lun, Wah Sing and C Panchia. The New Zealand Herald on 11 December 1929 reports theses shops as taking part in a 100 pound cash Christmas prize draw.20

Broadway shops

Broadway in the 1920s and early 1930s was a busy thoroughfare and ‘Newmarket had experienced a surge of commercial growth. This was assisted by the sale of lease of an extensive area of railway land for commercial development on the eastern side of Broadway just after 1920.’21

Business activities increased with more shops added to Broadway including the enlargement of Kirkpatrick and Stevens (1929), Marriotts grocers (1936), the Bon Accord cake shop (1935) and Broadway Pies (1930s). Another very popular business was the New American milk bar and ice cream parlour (1940s) which attracted young people and during the war years was popular with American forces.

looking north east from vicinity of remuera road on 1928looking south in 1928 showing borough council officesthe sing lee fruit shop in 1968

Newmarket’s growth continued as did the Sing Lee fruitshop. William Hing was held in high regard as a buyer of fruit and vegetables: ‘Wong Jook was a shrewd buyer at the market,’ says businessman Norman Choy.’22 He purchased only the highest quality fruit and vegetables. His ability at buying at the best prices gave meaning to the shop name ‘Sing Lee’ (to create profit). In his pre-World War Two notebook Jack Turner says, ‘two of the best known buyers were ‘AA’ (Mr Wong) of Ponsonby and Sing Lee of Newmarket.’23

photo taken at wedding of rita fong 1946

Yet Sing & Co, 191 Broadway, 1937 to 1943

In the late 1930s William set up Yet Sing & Co at 191 Broadway under his wife’s name in 1937. Although there were already three or four fruit shops in Newmarket this was a strategy to capture a larger share of the market by setting up another shop in the vicinity. It was on the opposite side of the road and had been run by Jang Hing & Co before their move to 177 Broadway.

Very little is known about this shop but kinsman Mar Tim worked in the shop and helped Mrs Hing to run it. Doris Hing, although she had three young children, managed the shop until her death in 1943. The 191 Broadway shop, which was next to Kelso’s Fish shop (No. 193) became Suzette’s shoe shop. The shops at 191 and 193 were combined to become the Mendel Spitz chemist in the 1950s and is now the Unichem pharmacy.

Buying and selling

Sing Lee supplied hotels, restaurants, hostels, boarding houses, residences and small businesses. Some examples here illustrate the range of his clientele:

An out of town order from his invoice book on 24 May 1938 was to Excelsior Fruit Co, Napier, where he made purchases from the markets of £13.16.8 ( $1300 today) on their behalf. This included a commission of 7.5% and 5 shillings for cartage.

copy of invoice to auckland grammar school 1946

Another household order to a Mr Reardon, on June 24 1940, included a bag of potatoes, 6.6d, one bag of swedes, 5 shillings, 6 oranges, 1.3d, 3 lemons, 5d, 3lb of bananas, 1.3d –a total of 14.5d.

Invoices during 1946 and 1947 were addressed to the Auckland Grammar School Board for deliveries twice per week to the Auckland Grammar school boarding hostel.

The demand for imported produce

William Hing was an important customer at the city markets and daughter Ehlin Young24 recalls Jack Turner frequently popping into the shop to see her father. Gordon Bairstow, an auctioneer in charge of the banana supply also called in. His main business was with Turners and Growers although he also purchased from Produce Markets and Radley Ltd.

William Hing purchased bulk imported produce25 from the markets and directly through merchants such as Mar Jip from Fiji.26 He re-distributed quantities of arrowroot, fresh ginger, taro and peanuts to other retailers. The demand for such produce came from local Chinese who valued these items in their cuisine.27

Imported goods in the 1940s were sent to Auckland customers such as Lowe Gum Leong, Wah Lee and H Choy, Y S Chau and Shue Fung (a large market gardening company). Also to North Island shop owners T W Wong of 318 Marine Parade, Wairoa, Hong Chong, Wharf Street, Tauranga and Wong Hing of Paeroa. Chas Meng Yee, of No 184 and G. Foo & Co of No 261 Gladstone Road, Gisborne bought sacks of peanuts and caseloads of ginger. Goods went to the South Island to shops such as the Pacific Fruit Co in Dunedin, Wah Ping In Christchurch and King Ming, of 118 Bridge Street, Nelson.

The Mun Sang fruit shop of Lambton Quay was invoiced for a large order consisting of: 16 cases of ginger (1141 lb @7 pence per pound), 10 sacks of peanuts (59 lb per sack @ 1 shilling and twopence per pound) and ten cases of arrowroot (80 lb @ one shilling and twopence per pound). The invoice of £72.14.3 had noted: ‘Paid by cheque 31/10/47’.

Partner - Fong War Jue 方和照

In the mid 1930s Fong War Jue 方和照 became a partner of Sing Lee but his exact starting date is unknown.28 He was born in 1890, and arrived from Suva on the ship Matua, on 24 April, 1919 aged 29.29 He was the eldest of eight brothers from the Fong village of Dun Tou Chuen 敦頭村 in Zhongshan. The sixth brother Fong Wah Sut visited New Zealand for business several times but lived most of his life in Fiji. The eighth brother Fong War Git spent several years in New Zealand before returning to live in Hong Kong.

From the mid 1930s Fong War Jue lived at 479 Khyber Pass Road at premises rented by his business partner William Hing. Fong War Jue’s family arrived in New Zealand under the war refugee scheme in June 1940. His wife Fong Lowe She 方劉氏, a Lowe from Kai Gock (溪角鄉), Zhongshan was accompanied by her children Lois (Fong Wai Kum 方惠金), Jean (Fong Wai Kwan 方惠群) aged four and Nancy (Fong Wai Soung 方惠嫦) aged three. In Auckland the family continued to expand with the birth of Bill (Fong Wai Lum方惠霖) on 19 March 1941 and Julie (Fong Wai Sue) in February 1944.

During the war years, Rita Ho, daughter of Ho Chew Chong who worked in Jang Hing’s fruit shop on the opposite side of the road observed that ‘sook bak’ (Fong War Jue) was always in the shop. ‘He was always smiling. He was friendly to customers and was a ‘softie’, said Rita.30 Fong War Jue’s daughter Nancy recalls walking to the shop as a child with Wailin (William Hing’s daughter) and sometimes sister Jean, to pick up veges for dinner and to collect the mail.

Unfortunately Fong War Jue suffered a stroke. He was bedridden and cared for at home by his wife, Mrs Fong Lowe She for three years before his death in 1948. William did not take on another partner but became the sole operator of Sing Lee .

men from zhongshan standing from left

Employees

Many Zhongshan men were given long and short term employment at Sing Lee. The first wages book of the 1930s is recorded in Chinese. This contains detailed records of men who were involved over a decade or more.31 During the next 20 years an official wages book was used. This book provides details of wages paid out each week from 1 January 1943 to 2 September 1963.32 In 1943, William Hing and Fong War Jue and Lowe Young Tai (who had worked as an employee since 1922) were recorded as working 44 hours33 (although they probably worked more) for which they receive £5.5 shillings per week. The tax was 13 shillings and sixpence each and recorded by the use of stamps.34

a page of the 1943 to 1963 wages bookBy 1944 William was no longer on the payroll and his nephew George Wong (aka Wong You Fook 黃 有 福) was working instead. Up until December 1951 a number of men worked for short periods such as: Bon Lee, Wong Kum Moon, 35Wong See Wai36 and Mar Kai. Wages were £6.7.10 a week in 1945 and improved at regular intervals to £8 in 1948, to £9 in 1952, to £10 in 1954, to £11 per week in 1956. By 1961 the men were receiving £12.10 per week.

The Sing Lee Trio

Mar Tim rejoined Sing Lee in 1948 and Low Chun (Chan Kwai)37 was employed in 1951. Together with Lowe Young Tai they formed a threesome working together at Sing Lee and living together at 3 Osborne Street.


Lowe Young Tai 劉容大 - Foreman

poll tax photo of lowe young tai aged 18 arrived 1924Lowe Young Tai (Tiy or Tay 劉容大)38 spent more time serving customers in Sing Lee than any other person who worked there. Starting there in the 1920s he was a loyal foreman and right hand man to William for nearly 40 years. Norman Choy observed that ‘Young Tai would put aside the best veges at the market and load the truck up.39 As foreman Lowe Young Tai received an extra £1.3 per week and by the the end his time at Sing Lee his wage was £16.13 per week.

Lowe Young Tai dedicated a lifetime to the Sing Lee fruit shop separated from his family in China.40 It was not until the late 1950s that his wife Lui Young Tai Lowe and younger daughter (Lowe Kam Hung )41 received permission to reside in New Zealand. They were finally reunited as a family and in the 1960s Lowe Young Tai was able to set up his own shop in Dominion Road.


Mar Tim 馬添

mar tim 1950Mar Tim 馬添 from Harng Mee 恆美 village, Zhongshan was employed by William Hing in the early years of Sing Lee. He also worked with William’s wife at the Yet Sing fruit shop. Mar Tim aged 22 had come from Suva in 1919.42 He lived at 3 Osborne Street and his family remained in China. In the 1960s after 40 years Mar Tim left New Zealand and returned to to his village in Zhongshan. He was never heard of again.


Chan Kwai 陳貴 aka Low Chun

low chun 1950Meilin Chong (nee Hing) shares her memories of Low Chun:43

Low Chun was my favourite of the ‘for gee’. He was tall, strong and cheerful and was a big tease. He was also very generous to me. One year I remember he bought me a new pair of shoes. He was also popular with the customers because of his cheerfulness.

Low Chun was a very good cook and was always called upon to cook at clan celebrations. He cooked all the meals at the shop, Monday to Saturday. The only time my father and the men didn’t eat at the shop was on Saturday evenings and Sundays.

Father bought live poultry from the market on Thursdays and on Saturday after the shop had closed, Low Chun would kill the chickens and take them back to Osborne Street to cook for the evening dinner. One was always for our family and it was my job to go and collect it at 6pm.

Unfortunately in 1962 Low Chun suffered back problems and was not able to work for a considerable time. He became depressed over this and sadly in 23 rd January 1963 he took his own life.44 He was aged 51.


Thus the ‘trio’s’ long working relationship came to an end.

The Hing girls

Wailin Hing and her sisters all at some stage helped in the Sing Lee shop during their growing up years. Wailin now an artist, writer and potter writes:

from left ehlin eva wailin and meilin at a wedding 1959Two extremely heavy kauri doors needed to be lifted off their hinges and carried into the shop each morning and replaced at the end of the day when the shop closed. Then shelving was placed on brackets at the doorway to display lettuces, cut pumpkin and fruit. On the third shelf down bunches of spring onions stood to attention like soldiers. This was my job on Thursdays after school. I would sort and remove the outer skins before counting them into bunches and stripping a piece of flax to wrap around and knot before making sure that the tops were cut off evenly.45

William Hing - Zhongshan financier and businessman

william hing in the 1960William was an astute businessman from his early years - due to his business acumen and his early success as a fruiterer. He was an entrepreneur and an investor in property. He sponsored and provided financial assistance to many of his Zhongshan clan. He kept meticulous records from which we can document his financial activities and accomplishments

In the earlier years William had a financial interest in the gaming establishment (Dai Nan Goon (or in later years referred to by Norman Choy in jest as the Chinese Casino). This house was in Grey Street46 opposite the rear of the Town Hall and close to the Wong Doo’s and the Golden Dragon Café. 47 This form of entertainment provided the Chinese men with an opportunity to socialise. As a school boy in the 1930s, Norman Choy observed that nearly all the Chinese men he knew went there.

‘They had no wives here. There was keno, pak-a-boo, fan tan, tien gow (dominos). Every day they had a draw. The bankers were William - he ‘jar bow’ (he holds the money bag), Soung Yuen and Wah Lee. They rent the house, supply the tables and control the money. They’re all share holders. They can supply the money and win or lose they can divide it up once a month or something like that.’48

In later years after he was married William Hing abstained from gambling.

William Hing invests in property

William was one of the earliest Zhongshan men to purchase land. He purchased two pieces of land in Pukekohe in 1942 for a cost of £4375. Both in Kitchener Street, one he purchased together with Wong Gar Siu while the other property was in the names of Mrs Chung Ting Hon, Mrs Wong Gar Siu and Mrs William Hing. He rented them out to Fong Ah Gorn for market gardening.

In October 1953 William purchased the properties at No. 477 & No. 479 Khyber Pass from a Mrs Gillies for £4382.9.6. No. 479 Khyber Pass included the rooms the family had lived in for years and had a shop frontage which was rented out to J M Rusden as a shoe repair shop. No. 477 Khyber Pass had an identical set of rooms at the rear with a dairy shop in front run in the 1930s to 1958 by Arthur and Laura Powdrill. In the 1960s the shop was rented out to Lenny Lowe49 who ran a takeaway business under Mecca Refreshments from July 1961 until 1969.

William Hing contributes to the community

William Hing took an active interest in the Chinese community. Norman Choy says, ‘he was the spokesman for Zhongshan people at one time and Sing Lee was the most highly respected shop’. He helped many a fellow Chinese by lending them money to start off their own businesses such as Arthur Lowe Ltd, the Centreway Café. He lent money to purchase large items such as vehicle for transporting produce such as to Lowe Nam and Ken Chiu.

He acted as sponsor or guarantor for Zhongshan men such as King Yin Wong and Lowe Young Tai who brought their families out in the late 1940s and 1950s. He also made donations to Rev.Y.S. Chau’s church in Cook Street, the Chinese Presbyterian Church and Chinese Baptist Church. There was also donations to the Auckland Chinese Sports Association.

William Hing, like many overseas Chinese ‘wah kiu’ was very patriotic and supported the Kuo Min Tang party started by Sun Yat Sen of Zhongshan in 1911 and then led by Chiang Kai Shek who was fighting the Japanese in the late 1930s. During the years of the Second World War William Hing and Chairman Lowe Gum Leong would canvass the sale of bonds to support the Kuo Min Tang.

In the 1950s William started the Chinese Amateur Movie Club showing Chinese movies fortnightly on Sunday evenings at the Rialto picture theatre. ‘Mr Dye was the manager and he organised his projectionist and ticket seller to work for William Hing. Mr Dye also organised the the sale of confectionary out in the foyer. We girls posted out the flyers and did the ushering, for Father,’ said Ehlin50. They were very popular and well attended. Produced in Hong Kong, whole families all over Auckland would turn up to watch modern and classical movies in Cantonese. 51 The reels of film came indirectly from Fiji through Mar Yung Charm who owned a general store in Suva, Fiji.52 William then sent the reels on to his brother-in-law Chiu Mun Chung to be shown to the Chinese community in Wellington.

Sing Lee closes its doors

The 1960s saw the gradual decline of Sing Lee53 and the coming to the end of over 48 years at the helm for William. In the final years to 1969 both his wife Chiu Su Ha and youngest daughter Meyun worked in the shop serving customers.

meyun hing works in shop 1960fruit and veges on display in mid 1960

In 1966, nearing the end of the Sing Lee shop, William Hing along with the two other owners – of a chemist shop and of a dress material shop - purchased the Queens Building which housed the three shops. To do this they set up a company named Gilmahi Properties Ltd and bought shares in the company. Gilmahi originated from using part of each name ‘GIL’ for Gilroys, ‘MA’ for Mainland and ‘HI’ for Hing.

His reputation as a leading fruiterer and prosperous businessman was to cover a period of nearly 50 years. William was naturalised in March 1964. In 1969 he closed the doors and in 1970 after a lifetime of hard work decided to take a six month trip to visit relatives in Hong Kong and Hawaii.

William Hing died in Auckland on 6 December 1973 and was buried (along with the ashes of his frist wife Doris) in the Mangere Lawn Cemetery. His second wife Chiu Su Ha died on 24 June 1993 and is buried beside him.

  1. There were seven other Chinese men on board with William in steerage class.
  2. William’s older brother Wong Gum Sui(or Wong Kum Sui on Poll Tax certificate) had previously been in New Zealand. At aged 22 he arrived in Wellington on the Moeraki via Sydney on 20 May 1908. Poll Tax record R23676358, Archives New Zealand.
  3. William Hing’s younger brother Wong Gum Moon (Wong Kam Moon on Poll Tax Certificate) was born in 1903. He arrived in New Zealand on the Niagara from Suva in 1925, aged 22.Wong Gum Moon occasionally worked at Sing Lee. He was a single man and lived at 3 Osborne Street, Newmarket until his death in November 1953. Poll Tax record R236702844, Archives New Zealand.
  4. According to Auckland Star the house rented by W Hing in Khyber Pass Road was broken into and 7 pounds was stolen while two Chinese were asleep. Auckland Star, 24 January 1927.
  5. Lowe Nam (or Low Nam as recorded in Archives New Zealand) was an early Zhongshan kinsman who worked for William Hing.
  6. This building was previously the Newmarket Trading Company. Alex E Eagleton ran his business from 1911 to 1922. A presentation of a sovereign purse was made to him on his disposal of his business. Auckland Star p. 6, 5 September 1922. He sold it to Clark Bros and it became a branch of their city business. New Zealand Herald, p.4, Column 3, 31 August 1922 (I cannot find any details of this business on this site afterwards.) A photo of this building at 218 Khyber Pass Road also appears in Holman, Dinah, ‘Newmarket Lost and Found’, published by the Bush Press, 2010, p.191.
  7. Previously numbered as 287 Khyber Pass (Leighton’s)
  8. Kingdon Street was first Garden Street in or before 1859; renamed Newmarket Street in 1860s; renamed King Street in 1890s and finally Kingdon Street in the late 1930s. (Holman, D., Newmarket: Lost and Found, Bush Press, 2010, p.272.)
  9. James married Olga Lowe, (Lowe Lei Gar 劉 蕾 家) daughter of Lowe Nam , 19 May 1973.
  10. The section of Manukau Road from George Street to Great South Road was renamed Broadway. See New Zealand Herald, 19 October, 1923, p.6.
  11. Dudley On was born in 1899, the second of eight children of Chan Fook On, Sun Gai village, Jung Seng county. His brother William Sun Chong born in 1905 was the 6th child. William’s son Peter Chan, born in 1930, is a well-known community leader and businessman who owned the Three Guys and Vegeworld franchise, the New Orient restaurant and the Tai Ping grocery chain. See Chan, H., Zengcheng New Zealanders, 2007, p.84-85.
  12. Wong Chong was born in 1888 in Gwa Leng village, Jung Seng County. He came to New Zealand in 1907 and was a partner at the Wah Jang fruit shop founded in 1913. Refer to Lee & Lam, Sons of the Soil, p.354.
  13. Lowe Nam, a close friend of William Hing, gives 1921 or 1922 in his interview with Eva Wong Ng, Auckland, 7 August 1980. Lowe Nam (born 8 July 1901) was from Kai Gock, Zhongshan. He arrived in New Zealand on 3 March 1920.
  14. Interview with Lowe Nam by Eva Wong Ng, 7 August 1980.
  15. Cheque butts and deposit books from 1920s-1950s provided by Meilin Chong, from private collection.
  16. Norman Choy said, ‘He listened to me and respected me. It surprised me that he bought things – the same as me. He was so thrifty.’
  17. The business Sing Lee is noted in the Auckland Directory of 1923. The street numbers changed on Broadway, whilst the shop remained in the same location. 
  18. Sing Lee & Co Ltd by Wailin Elliot, unpublished manuscript 26 April 2013, p. 1.
  19. Wong Ng, Eva, ‘A Fruitful Life,’ Landfall227, 2014, pp. 41-48 published by Otago University Press, May 2011
  20. New Zealand Herald, 11 December 1929, p. 18.
  21. Holman, Dinah, Newmarket Lost and Found, second edition, 2010, Bush Press
  22. Norman Choy interviewed on 11 July 1998 at Royal Oak, Auckland by Eva Wong Ng.
  23. Unpublished manuscript, ‘Turners & Growers and the New Zealand Chinese.’ 3 July 1990. J Turner private collection
  24. Personal communication with Ehlin Hing, 6 June 2015 to Lily Lee
  25. C W Wah Jang & Co regularly advertised their preserved ginger, peanuts and peanut oil for sale in the New Zealand Herald from 1926.
  26. Cheque butts show payments of £44.14.9 on 17/1/47, £26.6.6, 2/10/47,£82.9.0 on 12/11/47 to Mar Jip. Meilin Chong’s private collection.In Jack Turner’s notebook he notes that Sing Lee imported ginger from Lum Lee Co, 109 Des Voeux Road, C. 5th Floor, Hong Kong.
  27. C W Wah Jang & Co also regularly advertised their preserved ginger, peanuts and peanut oil for sale in the New Zealand Herald from 1926.
  28. His name is noted on a cheque butt of Sing Lee account in 1934.
  29. Poll Tax certificate No 710. R23701929 AANK 24728 W3164 6/11 710, Archives New Zealand, (Auckland Office)
  30. Personal communication from Rita Fong to Lily Lee 16 June 2015.
  31. Personal Communication with Ng Bing Hing, 24 April 2015. (Bing Hing’s father was Ng King Ching of King Ching’s fruit shop, Broadway, Newmarket.) Bing Hing went through the names of workers and amounts paid. Some of the men mentioned were: Low Nam, Fong War Jue, Lowe Young Tai, Mar Tim, Lowe Jack Sue, Wah Hoy, Wai Gong, George Wong (Wong You Fook).
  32. There were probably casual workers and family members not recorded.
  33. The 44 hours per week are recorded through the entire period of 20 years.
  34. The stamp system for wages tax was not used after 10 May 1946.
  35. William’s younger brother.
  36. See Wai Wong was later a successful market gardener in Norana Avenue, Mangere
  37. Low Chun or Chan Kwai on official records. See Archives New Zealand, R23646387, BADW 504, A1687, Box 52, 44949.
  38. As noted on his Poll Tax certificate
  39. Norman Choy interviewed on 11 July 1998 at Royal Oak, Auckland by Eva Wong Ng.
  40. Over the years a constant stream of Zhong Shan men came and went from the ‘for gee ook’
  41. Lowe Kam Hung married Chas Wong (Wong See Chu) in 1960.
  42. He arrived on the ship Talune from Suvaon 22 December 1919. Poll tax certificate No.915.
  43. Personal communication from Meilin Chong to Lily Lee, 16 March 2016
  44. Low Chun who is said to have ‘jumped ship’ to settle in New Zealand evidently suffering from depression hanged himself in the factory yard in Osborne Street. His funeral was 26 January 1963.
  45. Holman, Dinah, ‘Newmarket Lost and Found’, published by the Bush Press, 2010, p.274
  46. Grey Street became Grey’s Avenue on 2 September 1927.
  47. The gambling establishment was a fixture in Grey Street/Greys Avenue for many years until the place was demolished in the 1950s or early 1960s.
  48. Interview with Norman Choy conducted by Lily Lee, Royal Oak, Auckland, 10 December, 2007.
  49. Lenny arrived as a refugee child in 1939, aged 10. He and his mother joined his father Lowe Boo Sun at the Hop Yee market garden in Mangere.
  50. Personal communication with Ehlin Young (nee Hing), 6 June 2015 by Lily Lee
  51. Chinese movies were also shown through the Franklin Chinese Society at Pukekohe in 1957 and 1958.
  52. Mar Yung Charm was the father of Robert Mar who came to New Zealand as a student and then settled in Auckland. Personal communication from Robert Mar to Jack Chong, 9 June 2015.
  53. William’s wife Su Ha Hing took Low Chun’s place from 1963 until the shop closed in 1969.

  • Personal Papers of William Hing - private collection Meilin Chong
  • Norman Choy interviewed on 1st May, 1994 at Royal Oak, Auckland by Eva Ng .
  • Norman Choy interviewed on 11 July 1998 at Royal Oak, Auckland by Eva Ng.
  • Norman Choy interviewed on 10 December 2007 at Royal Oak by Lily Lee.
  • Personal communication with Ehlin Young, 6 June 2015 by Lily Lee
  • Wong Ng, Eva ‘A Fruitful Life’, Landfall 227, 2014, p. 41-48
  • Holman, Dinah ‘Newmarket Lost and Found, January 2010, Second edition, Bush Press