HISTORY IN BRIEF I
THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOURS: CHINESE FRUIT SHOPS IN NEW ZEALAND
RUTH LAM, BEVERLY LOWE, HELEN WONG, MICHAEL WONG AND CAROLYN KING (CHINESE POLL TAX HERITAGE TRUST, $90 FOR THE TWOVOLUME SET) It’s not every day a nearly 1000-page history of fruit shops comes your way, let alone one that happens to be “Volume 2”. This account is published by the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, which “funds activities that promote the preservation of Chinese New Zealand history and awareness of the contributions of early Chinese settlers”.
Here, it has more than fulfilled its brief, tracing “the development of Chinese fruit shops from the general storecum-green-grocery of the 1880s through to the fresh fruit and vegetable retailer of today”. It also redefines “labour of love” and constitutes a magnificent tribute to that generation of Chinese immigrants who overcame prejudice and poor beginnings to find their place in New Zealand society.