The NZ government introduced the poll tax in 1881. Under the Chinese Immigrants Act only Chinese immigrants had to pay the poll tax. The tax was a response to anti-Chinese attitudes in European settler society after an economic slump and increasing competition for jobs.
|Ref: 31-60218, Mr Going, 1910, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
A 1908 article in the Dominion newspaper describes the process Chinese settlers had to endure when paying the poll tax. Name, origin, occupation, destination and fingerprints of both hands were all recorded as evidence of payment.
|Ref: AWNS-19330301-34-3, hostilities between Japan and China, 1933, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Back to the customer who requested the book – her grandfather, who had paid the poll tax, appeared in the book. She was literally on her way to China and had arrived at the Central Auckland Research Centre just before closing and was thrilled to see the book.
|Ref: 4-2212, looking north west along Cook St from Hobson St, showing the Chinese Mission Centre (on left), 1928, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Author: Emma Chapman, Central Auckland Research Centre