Helping New Zealand build strong communities


Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust

Whakatakanga / Mission
What we fund
What we do not fund
Who can apply
How much to apply for
Requesting a grant


The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust (CPTHT) was established in 2004.  Prior to this the New Zealand government formally apologised to the poll tax payers and their descendants, in 2002, for the actions of previous governments that imposed a poll tax on Chinese persons entering New Zealand, and in enacting other discriminatory statutes.

Poll tax payers and their descendants comprise the 'early settler' Chinese community.  A community linked by family and village networks, and common geographic origin (all come from a cluster of counties in the south of Guangdong [Canton] province).  From 1866 to 1960 all Chinese New Zealanders were part of this community.

Immigration policy changes from 1960 onwards led to the migration of Chinese people unconnected to the early settler community.

The CPTHT was paid $5 million as a gesture of reconciliation in support of the formal apology.

The CPTHT is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs and is intended as a gesture of goodwill to poll tax payers, their descendants and future generations, in recognition of the hardship caused by the poll tax and other discriminatory legislation. The Trust also seeks to create understanding in the wider Chinese community and New Zealand society as a whole.

Trust membership

The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust - see names listed below

The CPTHT has eight trustees, all of whom are descended from original poll tax payers. Current members of the Trust are:

  • Paul Chin 陳植欽
  • Virginia Chong  楊惠芳 
  • Mark Ngan Kee 顏文傑
  • Liz Ngan 顏美杏
  • Richard Leung 粱嘉南
  • Kai-Shek Luey 呂顯華
  • Melissa Wong 黄美玲
  • Malcolm Wong 黄 君 權

Whakatakanga / Mission

The aim of the CPTHT is to strengthen the unique identity of Chinese New Zealanders and their communities in New Zealand in recognition of poll tax payers by

  • promoting the preservation of Chinese New Zealand history and awareness of the contributions of early Chinese settlers
  • providing tangible support for Chinese New Zealand history, language and culture, particularly that of the early settler Chinese community

Keeping these aims in mind, the CPTHT promotes (but is not limited to)

  • learning and use of the Cantonese language
  • awareness and understanding of the history of Chinese in New Zealand
  • the recording and preserving of Chinese New Zealand history
  • greater public understanding of ethnic diversity with particular emphasis on the contributions of Chinese New Zealanders
  • Chinese arts and culture (including Chinese New Zealand creative and cultural expression)

What we fund

The CPTHT funds proposals that support the aims of the Trust and also have support from the Chinese poll tax descendant community.

The Trustees of the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust encourage members of the Chinese poll tax descendant community and members of the wider community to seek funding from the Trust for suitable projects.

Funding Priorities

The Trust must prioritise the requests that it receives. This means that, in general

  • requests for servicing debt, travel or loans, have no guarantee of funding
  • there is no guarantee of ongoing funding after an initial grant is made

The Trust’s current priorities for funding are requests for the following projects:

  • Histories of Chinese fruit shops
  • Histories of Chinese laundries
  • Histories of Chinese restaurants and takeaway shops (Chinese cuisine or otherwise)
  • Histories of Chinese commodity merchants
  • Histories of Chinese churches
  • New Zealand Chinese Association Branch histories
  • Histories of Chinese wives and mothers pre 1970s
  • Restoration of gravestones (where there are no surviving family members to take on this role)
  • Commemoration of poll tax payers

Histories can be from a regional or national perspective.

Grant requests for projects of this type are not guaranteed funding and must meet the same requirements as any other request to the Trust.

Examples of all projects recently funded by the Trust are listed on the previous recipients page.

Conditional Approval

The Trust may conditionally approve requests on the basis that the project includes certain topics or work. In such circumstances, applicants will be given up to two months to advise whether or not they will accept those conditions.

For more information contact the Advisor to the Trust on 0800 824 824.

What we do not fund

  • Grant requests that are of a political nature.
  • Grant requests that are for projects or items already completed or acquired before the closing date for the fund.

Who can request a grant

  • Individuals
  • Not-for-profit organisations
  • Branches of not-for-profit organisations with a national body may also apply independently

Applicants are not required to be Chinese or descendants of early settlers.

How much to apply for

There is no limit to the amount that you or your organisation can request.  However, because of pressure on funds, the CPTHT is rarely able to provide funding to the level requested and is more likely to consider only a contribution towards a project.

Requesting a grant