HIS­TORY IN BRIEF I

THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOURS: CHI­NESE FRUIT SHOPS IN NEW ZEALAND

North & South - - Review -

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.

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