Dr Jilnaught Wong

Dear Clan Members

Our Association’s website www.zhongshan.nz brings us into the technological age and enables our Committee to provide members with news, photos of interest, and information about events and happenings in a timely and efficient manner.

I would like to congratulate and thank Vice Chairman James Wong, Chinese Secretaries Sunny Huang and John Wun Loon Lock, and Committee Members Raymond Fong, Kylie Hewitt and Vernon Choy for their commitment and dedication to this time-consuming project. They were ably assisted by designer Alan Wong of Logos Production. Together, they designed and developed a website that is easy to navigate, and which has a Zhong Shan look and feel about it.

Simultaneously with the website development, our History Committee, chaired by Raymond Fong and ably assisted by Sunny Huang and John Wun Loon Lock, who assisted with the conversations so they could be documented into history; Kylie Hewitt for her skilful translation; and Vernon Choy for his editorial expertise. Together, they have assisted in producing articles on the history of our Zhong Shan pioneers in New Zealand.

We are hugely indebted to Lily Lee (nee Ho), a member of our Association, and whose Mum, the late Mrs. Ho Sue Shee, is one of the pioneers. Since retiring from her career in education, Lily has spent time writing, interviewing and documenting the history of Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand. With co-author Ruth Lam they wrote Sons of the Soil, Chinese Market Gardeners in New Zealand. The book included personal stories of more than 100 Chinese men and women from market gardening communities throughout New Zealand. The book was sponsored by the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers and published in 2012. Lily has kindly done the same for the Zhong Shan pioneers in New Zealand. Using her oral history skills and experience, she has studied and collected information, met and interviewed families of the Zhong Shan pioneers, transcribed hours of conversations, and then wrote up these histories in an interesting and engaging manner.

I encourage you to read these accounts of our Zhong Shan pioneers to get a sense of what it was like when they came to settle in New Zealand, the challenges they faced, and how their courage, fortitude, and hard work pulled them through. Only then can we truly appreciate how lucky we are to live in the manner that we do today. If it were not for their efforts, determination, and sacrifices, we would not have the standing in the community that we enjoy nowadays. We are grateful and humbled by the invaluable contributions of our Zhong Shan pioneers.

At this juncture, our website hosts the histories of the pioneering families of the late Mrs Ho Sue Shee, Sam Young, the late Bill Fong, and the late Norman Choy. Over time, we will post the histories of further Zhong Shan pioneers which, presently, are the History Committee’s work-in-progress.

We hope you enjoy reading about our pioneers, and we welcome your feedback.

Best wishes

Professor Jilnaught Wong 黃志諾