Source: Xinhua Editor: huaxia 2023-04-29
WELLINGTON, April 29 (Xinhua) — The Ross Chinese Gold Miners Memorial Garden was officially opened on Saturday on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island to commemorate the contribution of the early Chinese gold miners to the local community.
The memorial garden was completed after more than 10 years of preparations and nearly six years of construction. Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong, Chinese Consul General in Christchurch He Ying, New Zealand government officials, and community representatives gathered in the township of Ross to celebrate the garden’s opening.
“More than 150 years ago, hundreds of Chinese gold miners came to the West Coast. Through their diligence and wisdom, they made contributions to the local development, and were pioneers of friendship between China and New Zealand,” He told the opening ceremony.
The establishment of the memorial garden will help people to better keep these memories, inspiring more people in both countries, especially younger generations, to make contributions to the China-New Zealand friendship, she said.
This project has received continuous support from New Zealand Government and the territorial local authority Westland District Council, she added.
The council’s leader Westland Mayor Helen Lash said many residents of Ross, both young and old, have played a part in the establishment of the memorial garden — from fundraising, sponsorship, and donations, to volunteering on the ground.
The Chinese Gold Miners Memorial Garden site weaves a story of the many cultural heritage strands of the Ross-Totara goldfields together, she said.
“The new gabion rock walls at the entrance to the gardens are a graphic reminder of the neatly stacked rock tailings left by the industrious Chinese gold miners across the Totara — every aspect of the gardens has a trace back to a point in history,” said the mayor.
The project shows a deep-seated respect for the history of Ross and the early settlers, who included the Chinese gold miners of the 1860s, said Lash, who also expressed gratitude to the Chinese community for supporting the project.
“The memorial is dedicated to all those Chinese pioneers before us who made this place their home,” said Steven Wong, president of the New Zealand Chinese History and Culture Association and chairman of the Federation of the Chinese Association of New Zealand.
Wong said his great grandfather came to New Zealand with his brother during the gold mining period in the 1860s, and that his family’s stories reflect the history of the West Coast gold rush in New Zealand, which prompted the creation of Ross Township in 1865.