If people are of one heart even the yellow earth can become gold

Ancient Chinese Proverb

James Beattie

Dr. James Beattie is a professional historian with over 20 years’ tertiary teaching experience. His internationally acclaimed career includes curating Chinese art exhibitions, establishing journals and book series and co-writing a feature-length documentary. He is an award-winning writer of 13 books and over 100 articles. He is currently working on books on a Chinatown in New Zealand, a history of Chinese art collecting and an environmental history of the Chinese in the Pacific.

Brendan Seal

Brendan Seal has a Master of Arts in History and a Master of Teaching and Learning
in Primary Education. He has experience teaching at both Primary and University levels and as a museum educator for schools.

Megan Bremner

Megan Bremner has been a teacher for over 20 years and has a passionate interest in lifelong learning. Her enthusiasm for STEAM activities and digital technology is put to good use in her current role as an educator and team leader at Outram School. Megan believes that learning should be innovate, creative and challenging and is invested in the importance of teaching materials that promote a respect for self and others, and sense of wonder about the world.


Sun Gum Saan Ltd (New Gold Mountain) is a social enterprise formed by the Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust and the Otago and Southland Chinese Association.

The current directors of New Gold Mountain are Malcolm Wong (chair), Teresa Chan, Yuet Khwan Marshall and Christine Wong. The current secretary is Jo-Ann Chin.

Malcolm Wong

Dunedin-born Chartered Accountant Malcolm Wong (ONZM) was instrumental in the inception and building of a local treasure - Lan Yuan, Australasia’s only authentic Chinese Garden. In creating a space for locals and visitors to celebrate Aotearoa’s Chinese heritage, Malcolm gained something more - a deeper understanding and appreciation of his own ancestry and he regards Lan Yuan as his tūrangawaewae. Malcolm has held many voluntary roles, including as a trustee on the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust. He has also been Chair of the Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust since 2008 and on the University of Otago Council since 2018.


I feel deeply connected to this whenua with both my grandparents having paid the Poll Tax and I have a responsibility to continue telling the story of the amazing journey of our tupuna for our tamariki and mokopuna. The Chinese were one of the founding peoples of this whenua and we take up the legacy of this mantle with pride.
Teresa Chan

Describing herself as ‘a quietly driven achiever’, Teresa Chan has been building bridges between cultures in her personal and professional roles since she emigrated to New Zealand from Hong Kong via Australia in 1988. Teresa began practising law in 1992 and has her own legal practice in Ōtepoti Dunedin that provides specialist and boutique services to international and New Zealand clients, work that teaches her to look at stories and history from differing perspectives. Teresa is the President of the Otago & Southland branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association and Chair of the Dunedin Shanghai Association.


There is nothing more important to me than enabling Chinese young people to be proud of their heritage and find their place in Aotearoa.
Yuet Khwan Marshall

Yuet Khwan Marshall emigrated to New Zealand from Malaysia in 1981 to study accountancy at the University of Otago and is Treasurer for both the Dunedin Chinese Gardens Trust and Sun Gum Saan Ltd. For Yuet, a deep-seated interest in Aotearoa’s Chinese history began in a very personal way when she discovered a New Zealand friend had the same surname as her own maiden one. The identical Chinese character for their surnames (徐) almost certainly linked their families to the same district in Kwangchow, China. Looking further into her history, she remembered her grandfather’s brother had emigrated to Malaysia in the 1890s in order to mine tin. It’s this personal connection to her whakapapa that has ignited Yuet’s interest in the history of the Chinese, particularly the miners, in the Otago district.


The Chinese goldminers came to New Zealand in the 19th century forming the nucleus of a distinctive minority that has been part of New Zealand society for over 150 years. This history deserves to be told, and I am proud to be involved with the telling of it.
Christine Wong

Born and raised in Dunedin, Christine Wong’s childhood revolved around family, sport and music. After travelling the world and spending 30 years in Auckland, it was Ōtepoti and her elderly parents that called her home again. Christine’s late father George Wong (QSM) was one of the founding members of the Chinese Association, an elder of the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Dunedin, and was on the original committee of the Dunedin Chinese Gardens. More recently Christine has become involved in exploring her Chinese heritage and is a committee member of Sun Gum Saan, the New Zealand Chinese Heritage Research Charitable Trust and the Otago Southland Chinese Association.


I believe it’s vital to preserve Chinese history as an important part of the fabric of New Zealand. To give our future generations an understanding of the past, is also to enlighten our wider community to the significant contributions the Chinese made to our society.
Jo Ann Chin

Jo-Ann Chin is a proud third-generation Malaysian-born Kiwi with Chinese roots. Growing up in Ōtepoti she attended Columba College and Otago Girls’ High School where it was a media project on Dunedin’s Chinese gardens that ignited her curiosity and revealed the untold stories embedded in the community. For Jo-Ann, the teaching of Chinese history isn't just about the past, it's about empowering the Chinese community with knowledge that resonates strongly today. Jo-Ann is passionate about the importance of investing in youth and diversity initiatives and in addition to her professional roles in these areas, has also worked closely with Rotary clubs on these issues.


This initiative gives the Chinese community agency to narrate their own story, fostering harmony and understanding. I'm honoured to be paving the way for the next generation of Chinese New Zealanders—so our history can become a bridge to a more united future.


Seed funding for these lesson plans comes from our parent entities the Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust and the Otago and Southland Chinese Association. We are grateful for additional funding from the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust and the Dunedin office of the Ministry of Education. 


Columba College and Lawrence Area School assisted us in the trialing of the lessons plans and provided valuable feedback as well as warm support and encouragement. 

Join our development community by signing up and provide your feedback in the User Portal.  

We also welcome general questions and suggestions. Go to our Contact page.