A Lawrence heritage hit
A week on from the hugely successful Lawrence Chinese lantern parade, organiser Anne Cheng is still beaming like one of the lanterns her community made for the inaugural event.
She expressed her pride at Lawrence’s achievement, in an event that looks set to become a fixture on the south Otago town’s calendar. ’’I am still grinning like the Cheshire cat.’’
She thought the initiative had set a high benchmark for an annual event to acknowledge the Chinese heritage of Lawrence through celebrating important cultural festivals.
The town, which played an integral part in the discovery of gold in Otago, has a bitter-sweet connection with Chinese people who came out to New Zealand as gold miners, because of racial attitudes in the 1860s. The Lawrence Chinese Camp, which will be a recipient of any donations resulting from the lantern parade, is an example of how the Chinese were pushed to the fringes of society, by having to live on the outskirts of town.
However, a place of banishment has become an acknowledgment of their contribution to the area, with redevelopment of the site. The parade was funded from the Clutha District Creative Communities Scheme and a grant from the Lawrence Athenaeum Mining Institute.
Organisers Jenny Bird and right, Anne Cheng, hanging up the community’s handiwork.