Saturday, January 7, 2012


The cofiins containing the remains of the Chinese who have died in various parts of the South Island during a number of years were taken down to Port Chalmers in several covered railway vans on Friday eveniug, and their removal to ihe steamer Rimu was proceeded with the first thing on Saturday morning. The operation of removing ihe coffins to the after hold of tho steamer was supervised by a party of 15 Chinese, and was watched with curious eyes by a small gathering of Port residents, who probably expected to witness something of an uncommon character. If this were so, their expectations were not realised, the coffins being bandied and slung on board the steamer in precisely the same way as general cargo would have been, and but for the presence of the superintending body of Celestials, at whose head was Mr Kum Poy, Sew Hoy, no one would have known that anything unusual was going on. The coffins with the exception of those containing the remains of the late Mr Sew Hoy and the late Mr Ah Chung, were merely plain cases of a very substantial make. Those containing the remains of £ Chinamen who had died some years ago were somewhat smaller than the zinc lined cases containing Lose whose decease had taken place more recently and ihe former were slung over the ship's side in loto of eight, and the latter in fours. They were all lowered alongside the coffins ihat had come from Greymouth, ani the lot pretty well filled the after hold. That the undertaking portion of the work had been thoroughly carried out there can be no doubt, such a thing as a disagreeable fui°U being entirely absent -the most sensitive could not have detected anything of the kind. The coffins containing the remains of the late Mr Sew Hoy and the late Mr Ah Chung were t>f customary English shaps, and were built of handsomely polished rimu. It may be mentioned that each coffin bore on the end particulars in Chinese characters concerning the deceased whose remains it contained. There were also shipped 11 small case 3in which were the personal effects of the dead men. The number of coffins from Dunedin was 256 (84 large and 181 small), from Greymouth 173 (66 large and- 107 small), and there were 36 on board from Welllington, so that the total was 474. These together with the 11 cases of personal effects, will be taken by the Rimu to Wellington and transhipped to the Ventnor, which will convey them to Hongkong. Mr Kum Poy Sew Hoy, who is president of the Ching Shing Tong or Burial Society, states that the whole process of exhumation and removal was done under the inspection of Dr Ogston and other officers of the Health Department and that no official complaint of any kind has been made. He states, further, that the Burial Society, of which Mr Sue Shea is secretary, has its headquarters in Dunedin, aad the membership throughout New Zealand is about 2500, and represents the Chinese provinces of Pong Ye and Far Yep whence the deceased came. Each member subscribes to 4 the society in proportion to his means, and tbo remains of deceased members are sent to their relatives in China for interment in- the family burial places. The cost of the shipment just sent away, which is the first after a period of 21 years is estimated at £5000. The process of preparing the remains for enclosure in the coffins, as described by Mr Kum Poy Ssw Hoy, was that (where suitably dry) they were carefully washed and dried at the Kaikorai shed. Each bone, even to the finger bones, was then wrappened in new calicos, and the parts belonging to each body placed in a kauri case, which was duly labelled with the name, 0f the person whose body it contained. The remains of those who had died comparatively recently were placed in zinc lined coffins, which were soldered up and placed within outer kauri shells, which were of 1/4 in wood, and securely screwed together and varnished. There was no religious observance at Port Chalmers in connection with the shipment of the coffins, but there was, at the same time, an air of decorem pervading the whole of the proceedings.—West Coast Times , Issue 12342, 25 October 1902, Page 4

BONES AND BODIES. WELLINGTON, October 21 A number of bodies and bones of Chinese have been disinterred from the Karori Cemetery, and will be shipped on the Vent or for Hong Kong, with similar consignments from the South and Westland. Captain Ferry, of the Ventor, says the transport of remains of Chinamen is an everyday occurrence in the East. He had read greatly exaggerated accounts of the proceelings in connection with this shipment and thought much unnecessary fuss had been created. As far as he was concerned, he was iust carrying a few hundred cases of merchandise. The bodies and bones were properly packed and there was nothing whatever to object to about them. Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXXXVII, Issue 11770, 22 October 1902, Page 5

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