Discover Chinatown

Hard-working, well behaved, but resented.

Chinese gold miners began arriving on the West Coast from 1867. They came from goldfields of Otago and Victoria, but later came directly from China. Many came from poor farming families and hoped to make enough money on the West Coast to improve their family’s future.

Although hardworking and well behaved they were resented by most European miners who saw them as competition, particularly during the depressed years of the 1880’s. Despite this, Chinese were involved in the local community, they donated generously to the hospital and provided fireworks displays for important occasions, such as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

The number of Chinese on the West Coast dwindled during the 1920’s and 30’s as miners returned home or moved to other areas of New Zealand.

Shanty Town