Wreck of ss Ventnor
In a hauntingly beautiful area in Northland
comes a story of two cultures and a discovery
that will close a chapter in history. Their story
began in 1902 when a ship left Otago carrying
the bones of around 500 Chinese gold miners.
They were returning to their homeland, but
tragically the ship sank just a day after leaving
New Zealand. Woven through the sands of the
remote Hokianga Coast, the secret was kept for
more than a hundred years before it was finally
Not directly connected to the Kongs and
Chans, My Mum's brother's wife's niece
is married to a man from China.
His Great great grand father
came to Dunedin to work in the gold
mines. He died together with lots of other
Chinese man. The ship that were taking
their bones back to China for burial sank.
The Chinese people were the only group
of people to pay a poll tax to enter New
Zealand. From 1881 until 1944, Chinese
entering New Zealand were legally required
to pay a tax - initially ten pounds but eventually
rose to one hundred pounds.They were not
allowed to bring their women. It was lifted in
the 1930s when Japan invaded China and
repealed in 1944. The Chinese were also
denied the right to naturalisation for more
than 40 years.
Helen Clark officially apologised to the Chinese
People in 2002 .She allowed all the descendants
of those men to come to New Zealand. Accordingly,
the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Deed Trust was
finalised in 2004 which established a community
trust and a government seeding grant of $5 million.
The role of the Trust is to fund projects which
encourage understanding of the history of the
Chinese in New Zealand and to promote public
awareness of ethnic diversity. The trustees are
all direct descendants of Poll Tax payers.
SS Ventnor event
Celebrating Ching Ming 2013 with a memorial ceremony (bai jei ) for the Chinese, lost with the sinking of the SS Ventnor.
The trip will comprise of ceremonies and plaque unveilings at the three marae sites, and a passenger ferry ride (weather permitting) to the site of the SS Ventnor wreck (10 miles off shore) where descendants of the village ancestors might like to burn incense, and/or other appropriate gifts etc…
Kawarua April 4th
Mitimiti April 5th
Omapere April 6th Hokianga Far North
Tell/send information to your family and relatives
Expressions of interest needed
Register now for more information, updates, Q&As Auckland
Nanu She Cheong
Electronic copy requests
Wong Liu Shueng
SS Ventnor event Celebrating Ching Ming 2013 with a memorial ceremony (
Celebrating Ching Ming 2013 – Far North
Thursday April 4th, Friday 5th, Sat 6th, Sun return to Akld.
Chinese Historical Ventnor Trail
Unveiling of plaques, and blessing of Educational Boards.
Wednesday 3rd April – Everyone will need to be in Auckland.
Thursday 4th April
6.30am – 6.45am Bus to leave Auckland - Fare approx. $40.00 per day ($160) Payment extra
10.00am Arrive at Te Roroa Headquarters – (koha included in event fee) No cell-phone coverage
Unveiling of plaque and blessing of education board
11.00am Lunch – (included in event fee)
12.00pm Trip to Kawerua (coast where bones and coffins were washed up)
Once in a lifetime – need special permission to travel out to area.
1.00pm Bi san/Bei Jey ceremony – Chinese community and Iwi.
1.45pm travel back to Te Roroa Headquarters
2.45pm Planting of Kauri trees in the Te Roroa re-forestation project.
Payment extra $170 per tree but enough people then reduced to $150
Trees will form the Ventnor Grove.
3.45pm Travel to Tane Mahuta
4.15pm Travel to Omapere
Self cater evening meal in motels.
Friday 5th April
9.00am Leave Omapere for Ferry from Rawene to Kohikohu (bus and passenger fees included in event fee) car extra.
10.30am Arrive at Mitimiti – No cell-phone coverage
Powhiri – visitors called onto the marae (koha included in event fee)
11.30am Move up the hill for unveiling of plaque
12.00pm Cup of tea (cost included in event fee)
12.30pm Bi San/Bei Jey ceremony – Chinese and Iwi
1.30pm Picnic on the beach, no café available (costs included in event fee)
2.30pm Possible travel to North Head (15 min travel along beach or a lovely walk along the beach)
4.30pm Return to bus – Briefing for following day
6.00pm Ferry – Kohukohu to Rawene (bus & passenger fee included in event fee - Cars extra
7.00pm BBQ at Lighthouse Motel for Chinese community (costs included in event fee)
Saturday 6th April
6.45am Once-in-lifetime specially commissioned Ferry to site of SS Ventnor.
Time to light joss sticks, say prayers and return to shore
Payment $75 1-20 people, $60 1-40people. If there is demand, First sailing 6.00am, second sailing 8.00am Bookings essential
11.00am Signal Station Road – Bi san – joss sticks only
12.00pm Bi San/bei jey on the sanddunes then lunch/picnic in area. Time permitting, Exploring the Hokianga – a series of small excursions around and about. Exact detail (tbc)
3.30pm Return to motel – dress up time
5.30pm Entertainment – at Opononi Hall, a surprise to warm your heart (Extra, meal fee)
Sunday 7th April
8.30am Leave Omapere
Kerikeri Markets, Makana Chocolates, Wunderhussen toilets at Kerikeri
12.00pm Leave for Auckland –
Bookings for connecting flights MUST be after 6.00pm Sunday if travelling by bus.
 Bi san is the Chinese ceremony for the Dead conducted at the cemetery.
Bei Jey is when it is in a general location.