Saturday, February 4, 2012

NZ History Award

Subject: RE: NZ History Award
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 2003 15:57:13 +1100

Dear All,

A quick response to Allen's message to you all.

Yes, I have been awarded one of the nine NZ History Research Trust Awards for Historical Research in 2003. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage sent me the notification and cheque to arrive just before Christmas, and I have written to thank then for such a great Christmas present!

I shall be preparing a more detailed statement about my research plans for Allen to present to the Executive of the Tung Jung Association for their consideration at their next meeting on Monday. I shall send you all a copy of this statement as well.

For the last five or more years I have been travelling to HK to interview my older sister, who died at the beginning of 2001, and to Guangzhou, Xintang (Santong), and Xinjie (Sun-gaii), to interview surviving members of my family - my mother's sister [they were Wongs from Gualing (Gwa-lang)] is still alive, as is my family's servant girl who took care of me as a baby! I have also managed to find and buy several written and printed sources of district and village history. This has all been for a Ye-fong Chan family history for my own family. The recent history of my family is a very tragic one, like so many other NZ Chinese families as the result of immigration restrictions in force in Australia and NZ during the first half of last century, and so that history will be for the benefit of my own family and future descendents only.

The History Award will enable me now to enlarge my research project to cover the history of migration from the cluster of villages in Zengcheng that made up what Chinese social historians call a marketing community based around Bak Shek. Most of the older Zengcheng families in NZ, and Australia, come from that marketing community. That history will be for public consumption!

The History Award will enable me to spend a period or two of research back in Zengcheng, as well as several periods of research in New Zealand, mainly Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin.

Since I have several commitments and responsibilities to Chinese Australian heritage and history this year as well, I need to spend some time this month organising my work schedule! This is difficult at the moment since many of my colleagues in Australia and NZ are still on holiday! I have already accepted an invitation to give a seminar at Victoria University of Wellington's Stout Centre in late April on the "Trans-Tasman Connections of the Chinese in Australia and New Zealand" and I have been told that the History Department at Otago University will be offering to host me during my stay in Dunedin. At this time it looks likely that I shall make an initial short trip to Wellington in March, probably from 10 to 20 March during which time I shall also come up to Auckland on the weekend. I shall have a six to eight week stay in Dunedin around August/September/October.

My research will depend very much on the advice, assistance, and cooperation of our Zengcheng peoples and organisations in New Zealand and I am looking forward very much to meeting you all and to working with you to reclaim and tell the history of our people in New Zealand.

Very best wishes.


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