Image of the week: 15 – 21 July

15 July 2019

Chinese musicians

  • Image of the week July 15th - 6881

    The Gordon Howitt West Coast Historic Photograph Collection, c1900, Chinese in procession in Greymouth. (MB 1072, Ref 6881). Macmillan Brown Library, Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Chinese musical ensemble in the photo are taking part in a procession.  The person on the side of the waggon is playing a suŏnà and the instrument behind him looks like a yueqin.  

On 5 July 1881, a poll tax was imposed on Chinese migrants to New Zealand.  The poll tax was ₤10, around $1700 today, and only 1 Chinese passenger was allowed for every 10 tons of cargo.  It was repealed in 1944, and in 2002 the NZ government officially apologised to the Chinese community for the injustice of the tax.

 “Poll tax imposed on Chinese”, (n.d.). Retrieved from

 Bradshaw, J. (c2009). Golden prospects : Chinese on the West Coast of New Zealand. Greymouth, N.Z. : Shantytown (West Coast Historical & Mechanical Society).

See this item in our Archives Catalogue, Kā Kohika.

Macmillan Brown Library - Te Puna Rakahau o Macmillan Brown

Phone: +64 3 369 4499 (extn 94499)