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Poll tax exhibition comes to Auckland

Poll tax exhibition comes to Auckland

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard said she was delighted that a major exhibition about the Chinese poll tax had come to Auckland.

Judith Tizard opens the exhibition A Barbarous Measure: The Poll Tax and Chinese New Zealanders at the Auckland City Central Library tonight.

The exhibition was created by the National Library of New Zealand as a means of acknowledging and exploring the poll tax issue. It is one of the initiatives that flowed from the government's apology for the Chinese poll tax which was delivered by Prime Minister Helen Clark in February 2002. The poll tax (an entry tax) was levied on all Chinese immigrants to New Zealand between 1881 and 1934.

"What's fantastic is that the exhibition was intended as a one-off "in-house" exhibition for the National Library in Wellington," said Judith Tizard. "Strong interest from the Chinese community and many other New Zealanders has resulted in it travelling to Auckland.

"As an Auckland MP, I am thrilled that this exhibition has made it here. I know that it made a big impact in Wellington - with Chinese and non-Chinese New Zealanders. I was particularly struck by the comment of one descendant of a poll tax payer: 'I wish my parents had lived to see this'.

"I am sure that this exhibition will provide people of all ages and walks of life, with a fascinating view into this issue, which is not only significant to Chinese New Zealanders but also forms an important, if regrettable, part of this country's history." The exhibition was curated by Nigel Murphy, a librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library who has studied Chinese New Zealand history for almost 20 years.

The Auckland exhibition is running on the Heritage (2nd) Floor of the Auckland City Central Library in Lorne Street until 30th April and there is no entry fee.

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