• Home
  • Blog
  • Showcasing our Chinese resources

Showcasing our Chinese resources

October 15th, 2020 By Amalaratna
A look back at the activities and events in the Library commemorating Chinese Language Week 2020, including a temporary exhibition featuring treasures from the Doris Chung Collection and a talk in the auditorium about the Chee Kung Tong in New Zealand.

Treasures from the Doris Chung collection

Since 2014, when Chinese Language Week was officially launched in New Zealand, the National Library has held public events to mark the occasion.

This year for 2020 we were able to showcase a collection of treasures held in the Alexander Turnbull Library from the Doris Chung Chee Kung Tong (‘Society for promoting public good’) Chinese Masonic Society.

A man stands behind a lectern delivering a talk to an audience with an image of a group portrait in black and white displayed on large screen on stage.
Historian Nigel Murphy, foremost authority on the Chee Kung Tong speaking at the National Library for Chinese Language Week 2020. Photo: Mark Beatty

Chee Kung Tong in New Zealand

Historian Nigel Murphy, foremost New Zealand expert on the society gave an interesting talk in the National Library auditorium, outlining the development of the society in China and its development and adaptation in early New Zealand and Wellington. We also heard from members of Doris Chung’s family, who are donors of the collection — Rayward Chung and Kirsten Wong — about the collection and how it came to be donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library. Attendees were treated to special viewings of some of the collection items, shown by Curator Oliver Stead.

Two side by side images, on the left a man inspects up close some collection items and on the left a photo of large round copper gong.
Oliver Stead, Curator Drawing, Paintings and Prints with Daniel Tai. On the right is large copper alloy gong with raised sides and black Chinese characters painted on the interior. Photos: Mark Beatty

Moon guitars, erhus and gongs

The large collection of the items that belonged to this society include the stringed and percussion instruments from the orchestra, among them a dulcimer, moon guitars, erhus and gongs, and ritual implements, silk flags of the five lodges, banners, badges, medals, uniforms, printing blocks, seal chops and photographs.

The Chinese characters on the large yellow banner are the oaths of initiation and the punishments that will befall the wrongdoer should they be broken, for example, death by sword, pestilence and epidemics.

This collection was originally curated and shown by Kirsten Wong and Nigel Murphy at an exhibition at the Library in 1991 when it was first donated. The exhibition catalogue from that event is held in the library at Chee Kung Tong: the Hung League in New Zealand.

Carved marble lion figure alongside a series of medals.
L: Official seal of Wellington Chinese Masonic Society. Carved red coloured stone with a lion positioned at the top of the seal. Ref: 90-246-04. R: Blue fabric ribbon badges with metal (copper alloy) with Masonic set square and callipers on fabric, Ref: 90-246-14. Photos: Mark Beatty

Chinese textiles from late 19th or early 20th century

Nowadays some of these collection items are too fragile to be shown but several of them have been digitised. Below are links to some examples of Chinese textiles related to Chee Kung Tong (Chinese Masonic Society) from the Doris Chung collection.

Chinese research guide

For more information about these collection items and other resources have a look at our Chinese research guide. If you have questions you can contact us using the Ask a Librarian service.

Chinese Language week 2020 in photos

Below are some photos from our Chinese Language Week celebrations. Thanks to Mark Beatty for the photographs.

A selection of printing blocks with white ribbons tied around their handles.
Printing blocks. Photo: Mark Beatty
Shows collection items displayed on a table while a couple of visitors view them.
Meng Foon, Race relations Commissioner, Yezhu Zhao, Deputy Director Confucius Institute and Duncan Campbell viewing items from the Doris Chung collection. Photo: Mark Beatty
A portrait of three people standing behind a table with collection items displayed on it.
Richard Foy, Chief Archivist, Lynette Shum and June Wong viewing items from the Doris Chung collection. Photo: Mark Beatty
A large group of visitors stands together for a portrait behind a table on which collection items are neatly displayed.
The public viewing of the Doris Chung Collection. Photo: Mark Beatty
A portrait of a group of people standing.
L to R Doris Chung’s children: Marie Chung, Rayward Chung, Kenward Chung and June Wong who is Doris’s sister with Oral History Advisor Lynette Sum. Photo: Mark Beatty
Black and white photo of a couple, in the background is a table with place settings, possibly at a restaurant.
Doris Chung and Chun Ying Chung. Photograph supplied by and used with permission from the Chung family.
A woman speaking from behind a lectern.
Kirsten Wong, community advocator and niece of Doris Chung who spoke about the family connection to the collections and how they came to the library. Photo: Mark Beatty
A man speaking from behind a lectern.
Rayward Chung, son of Doris Chung, who spoke about the family connection to the collections. Photo: Mark Beatty
A portrait of two people standing behind a table with collection items on it.
Amalaratna, Research Librarian with Meng Foon, Race relations Commissioner viewing items from the Doris Chung collection. Photo: Mark Beatty

Post a blog comment

(Your email will never be made public)

No Comments