The New Zealand Chinese Association (Inc) (NZCA) was established as an incorporated society in 1935. Over the years there have been many changes to its organisation and structure and in 1996 a new Constitution and Rules were adopted to bring the organisation into line with current requirements.
The Association was established with specific intention of being a national Chinese organisation that represented and worked for the well-being of the Chinese people in New Zealand. It main objectives include:
- To provide NZ Chinese the means of mutual help, social interchange and recreation
- To promote the intellectual, moral and physical well-being of Chinese in NZ.
- To unite and co-operate for cultural and educational purposes.
- To deal with matters concerning the welfare of Chinese in NZ
- To be and remain non-political and non-religious
The very first Chinese Association in New Zealand was established in March 1909 by Consul Huang Roliang to help the Chinese community organise its affairs and to run training courses in Chinese and English. This Association was led and run by the Chinese Consul of the day.It ceased to function after two consecutive Consuls appointed at that time tried to involve this Association in China's politics; i.e. to support Yuan Shi Kai to be Emperor of China and certain warlords.
In September 1934 in response to Consul Qinxun's request that the many Chinese organisations (Chee Kung Tong, the Tung Meng Hui, Tung Jung Association, Poon Fah Society and Seyip Society) existing at that time come together and form one association in an effort to reduce friction, avoid clashes and to improve unity and harmony within the New Zealand Chinese community. This Association was named the New Zealand Chinese Association to differentiate it from the original Chinese Association.
The Sino-Japanese war broke out soon after the establishment of the Association and the Association chose to help China in its war effort.The Association expanded quickly into an organisation with representation of Chinese from 15 regions. It formed a central committee which collected donations from the Chinese community for direct remittance to the Chinese Government to help the war effort.
The Association operated with a central committee based in Wellington until 1996 when a new constitution was adopted to provide branches with more involvement in the decision-making process of the Association. The Association has been operating under this new constitution until the present day.
The Association is structured so that its branches are its members. It does not have individual memberships. Individuals participate by obtaining membership in a branch. Each branch has representation on the Executive Committee of the Association, The Association is now managed by an Executive Committee comprising the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chinese Secretary, the Immediate Past President and a representative from each Branch. The President is the official spokesperson for the Association.
The Association currently has 13 branches and one sub branch located throughout New Zealand. These are:
Hawkes Bay Branch
South Canterbury Branch
North Otago Branch
Invergargill Sub Branch
The Association has premises in Wellington located at 23-25 Marion St, Wellington which are used for administration purposes. These premises are also used by the Wellington Branch.
Programmes and Activities
The activities of the Association include:
- Providing annual grants to its branches to assist Chinese language schools within their region.
- Providing awards and scholarships for its branch members for the achievement of academic excellence.
- Providing special scholarships or grants to assist young Chinese high achievers.
- Organising an combined annual winter camp in Guangdong and China tour for young Chinese.
- Organising an Annual Sports Tournament and Cultural Concert during Easter
- Working with the NZ Government, Chinese Embassy, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and other organisations on issues affecting Chinese in New Zealand and national projects on the maintenance of Chinese culture and language.
An example of the activities of the NZCA is the outcomes of the Poll Tax initative. The NZCA commissioned the research and the publication of the book "The Poll Tax in New Zealand". It initiated the dialogue and made submissions to the NZ Government on the discriminatory nature of the Poll Tax levied on early Chinese settlers who migrated to New Zealand. This tax was only levied on the Chinese. The outcome was a apology from the Government and the establishment of a Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust. The main objectives is the maintenance of Chinese identity history and culture so far as it relates to Chinese New Zealanders.
The Branches of the Association are involved in representing Chinese at the local level and in organising and promoting many local Chinese community activities. They also have programmes to help the local Chinese community to celebrate Chinese festivals and programmes that support the maintenance of Chinese language and culture.