Toitu launching doco


Film looks at history of Chinese in Otago


Dunedin’s history of Chinese immigration, the Chinese goldminers of Central Otago and the connections between New Zealand and China, both past and present, will be told through a new documentary film by Toitu Otago Settlers Museum staff.
The two and-a-half hour documentary Journey to Lan Yuan would begin screening twice a day at the museum from tomorrow, before being moved to the Dunedin Chinese Garden in April, Toitu visitor experience manager Kirsty Glengarry said.
Once at the garden, the footage would be screened as 13 individual episodes covering a range of sub-topics, Toitu exhibition developer Will McKee said.
Presented by curator Sean Brosnahan and edited by Mr McKee, the documentary film looked at the history of Chinese in Otago, from the gold mines of 1860s until the 2008 opening of the Dunedin Chinese Garden.
Mr McKee said they
had used historian
Dr James Ng’s volumes of Windows On A Chinese Past
as base information on the history of the area.
Ms Glengarry said the documentary, which had been filmed in “three to four bursts” across 18 months, had also involved some of the Toitu team visiting several Australian towns Chinese settlers had travelled through on the way to the Central Otago gold mines, as well as visiting Chinese towns where money sent
home by the miners had funded several still-standing structures.
Mr McKee said the film, and photos from New Zealand missionaries supplied by the Presbyterian Archives, also looked at World War 2 and the Chinese women and children who had arrived as refugees during the Chinese Civil War.
“It was quite a brutal time.”

Lan Yuan is the Chinese name for the Dunedin Chinese Garden. Journey to Lan Yuan will screen at 10.15am and 1pm at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.