White Ghosts, Yellow Peril: China and New Zealand 1790–1959
Stevan Eldred-Grigg with Zeng Dazheng
Otago University Press, $55.00,
Stevan Eldred-Grigg and Zeng Dazheng have, in some respects, written the book that I’ve been waiting for. This is a thorough, readable and comprehensive survey of relations between China and New Zealand in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. It also provides a balanced and enlightening account of the growth of the “traditional” Chinese community in New Zealand: that is, the largely Cantonese community that New Zealanders of my generation (born in the 1950s) and older knew as the New Zealand Chinese. The New Zealand Chinese community is now made up of people whose origins are from all over the Sinophone world, but for many decades its members were largely from three small areas of Guangdong (Canton) province.