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Chun Ding (1876 - 1963)

Chinese pioneer and market gardener

Chun DingChun Ding came to Dunedin from Guang Dong in China in 1908. He was 32 years old and had come to New Zealand to restore his fortunes. A disease had wiped out his farm's pigs in China and left him saddled with debts. His first nine years were spent at the Nokomai goldfield but in 1917 he moved to Dunedin. He began market gardening on leased land at Forbury and the next year went back to China. Unfortunately he lost all his money gambling, quite uncharacteristically, and soon returned to Dunedin. Taking up a second lease at Forbury he developed a garden on the site of the present day King's High School. He lived in a small hut on site.

Chun Ding's was one of ten Chinese market gardens between Macandrew and Bayview Roads. The men who worked them maintained a low profile in the district, living in spartan conditions on their leased land. Vegetables were hawked directly to housewives from horse and cart or sold on to the produce markets. In 1920 Chun's son, Chew Cheung, came to New Zealand to help his father. Their hard work in market gardens at Forbury, Kaikorai and on the Taieri was rewarded. Eventually they were able to bring their whole family to Dunedin. By the 1960s the Ding family had extensive land holdings near Outram and had become respected members of the Otago community. Mr and Mrs Chung Ding photographed at home on the family market gardening holdings at Outram in the 1960s.

(Ding Family photograph)

Site last updated 25/07/03
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