Neglected but Fascinating Stories of Māori Chinese Mixed Identities
Dr. Manying IP, holding book and Song LAM (right)
Readers who enjoy reading English book may know that Being Māori Chinese: Mixed Identities
was originally written by Dr. Manying IP, a well-known and respected author of several critically acclaimed books on the Chinese in New Zealand, However those who prefer to read in Chinese may thrilled to know that the Chinese version of this book is now available.
Thanks to the publisher at Auckland University Press, Dr. Elworthy who authorized the right of translation to Song LAM, the translator of Being Māori Chinese. Song is also the author of many Chinese books in the NZ context, such as The Maori of New Zealand, Famous New Zealanders, What do Children Learn in New Zealand Schools as well as Bilingual Children’s Poems… these are all well received by many New Zealand and overseas Chinese.
As Dr. IP, author of Being Māori Chinese﹕Mixed Identities states in her foreword:
“The Māori–Chinese stories have been largely neglected by both Māori historians and New Zealand Chinese historians, and they have hardly featured in ‘mainstream’ New Zealand history. If mentioned at all, Māori–Chinese were often referred to as humble market-gardening families living in poverty... Various anecdotes on some ‘local Māori–Chinese’ were tantalising. They were often mentioned tangentially.”
Stories of seven mixed families are vividly recorded in this book:
Charles Joe, a Māori Liaison Officer at AIT, who successfully maintained his mixed identities. His family story closely reflects the trials and tribulations that ethnic minority communities underwent in the course of New Zealand’s evolving identity as a multi
Lily Lee, a respected educationist, devoted to multiculturalism, working for the betterment of relationships between Chinese and Māori.
Nancy Kwok who worked as a Mātua Whāngai Court Officer (Māori support person in the courts) and her son Danny Goddard, a respected leader who grew up and married Maru Karatea, following her to Feilding and serving the Māori community in rural regions.
Joshua Thompson who made an eloquent speech at the opening ceremony of the poll-tax exhibition at the National Library, honouring his Chinese ancestors who had to pay the £100 poll tax to enter New Zealand.
Jennifer Wee-Cheng Hauraki, a Māori–Chinese girl as well as a keen young scholar, wanting to join the Chinese mental health work team. Her story is somewhat less traditional while the other protagonists are from families in New Zealand’s rural townships with their stories intertwined with market gardening.
Both Lloyd Keung and Dolly Nin are Māori–Chinese, and they raised a family of exceptionally confident and articulate children who are very proud of their mixed heritage- ‘real half and half’ Māori–Chinese.
Then Olive Tung, a proud Māori mother who was happy for her daughter, Arlene’s academic success, and she attributed it to the strong Chinese value placed on education by her Chinese Malaysian husband Simon, who is a New Zealand-trained engineer.
Apart from these fascinating stories, the book is well illustrated with 72 valuable family photos which have certainly made it much more interesting and vivid. The book was published by a well known HK publisher-Current Literature Press. Meanwhile, both the author and translator have expressed their appreciation to the NZ Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust for a grant towards the printing cost.
The translator Song LAM spent about two years on the project and her hard work will be acknowledged soon. A book launch is pending to be held in Auckland next month when the book arrives from Hong Kong. It will be another big day for Song after she was awarded the Queen’s Services Medal by the NZ Government in 2006 New Year Honors.