This exhibition includes photographs and certificates of registration collected by the Customs Department, Auckland, from Chinese people who were departing New Zealand temporarily in the early 20th century. Also included in the exhibition is Customs Department correspondence, passenger lists collected by Customs, and other records that relate to the individuals documented in the photographs and the correspondence e.g. applications to the Charitable Aid Board for relief, and school class lists.
The Chinese Immigrants Act 1881 was passed to 'regulate the immigration of Chinese'. Included in the Act was a Poll Tax of £10 'to be paid for each Chinese arriving by vessel'. Certificates of exemption were available to Chinese already resident in New Zealand, and Chinese who were leaving New Zealand temporarily. In 1896 the Poll Tax was increased from £10 to £100 under an amendment to the initial legislation.
Under the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act 1908, Chinese leaving New Zealand to travel overseas temporarily were required to fill in a certificate of registration in duplicate. Thumbprints or fingerprints were added to the certificates, and the individual also provided 2 photographs to the Collector of Customs. One copy of the certificate was given to the traveller and one was retained by the Collector.
On return to New Zealand (not necessarily to the same port), the Poll Tax was received on deposit, and was returned to the individual once his identity had been confirmed, based on the thumb prints, the photograph, and a physical description provided on the certificate of registration.
Once positively identified the individual was allowed to enter. The surrendered certificate was then forwarded to the Collector of Customs who had issued it, where it was subsequently filed with his copy.
Owner: Auckland Archives
Size: 5 items
(44 items total)