Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council – Celebrating Diversity

We are Ōtepoti Dunedin

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Otago & Southland Chinese Association (OSCA)

aka New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA), Otago & Southland Branch Inc

Chinese Assoc

The OSCA was established in October 1935

Who are we: 

The purpose of the Otago & Southland Chinese Association (OSCA) is to support Chinese living in NZ and in particular, Otago and Southland. This includes organising and participating in events that develop friendships and promote goodwill with the Chinese community and the wider community in Otago, NZ and overseas. We are part of the New Zealand Chinese Association (“NZCA”), the largest Chinese association in NZ, both in members and geographically.

NZCA was founded by the Chinese came to New Zealand looking for gold and ended up finding a new life. In September 1934 many Chinese organisations existing at that time came together and formed one association in an effort to reduce friction, avoid clashes and to improve unity and harmony within the NZ Chinese community. This Association was named the New Zealand Chinese Association to differentiate it from the original Chinese Associations.

The Sino-Japanese war broke out soon after the establishment of the NZCA and it was decided that the Association would help China in its war effort. The NZCA quickly expanded into an organisation with representation of Chinese from 15 regions.

Currently the NZCA is structured so that its branches are its members. Each branch has representation on the Executive Committee of the Association.
Branches are active in Auckland, Gisborne, Waikato, Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Whanganui, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Wellington, Nelson-Blenheim, Canterbury, South Canterbury, North Otago, Otago & Southland.

The NZCA was established with the specific intention of being a national Chinese organisation that represented and worked for the well-being of the Chinese people in NZ.

As a member branch OSCA also has its own objectives which include: Provide for Chinese residents in the Provincial Districts of Otago and Southland the means of mutual help in welfare to relieve poverty, education including cultural matters, establish Chinese language schools and to promote the advancement and maintenance of Chinese language and culture, represent the Otago and Southland Chinese Community in its interaction with the NZ Government and the NZ public at large, represent the Otago and Southland Chinese Community in its interaction with other Chinese communities in NZ and overseas.

The Otago & Southland branch was initially formed by the founding members of Chinese immigrants who came to seek their fortune in the goldfields and their descendants. The Association initially concentrated on fundraising for the motherland (China) during the Sino-Japanese War. Since those early years, our focus has turned to fellowship, cultural, educational, charitable, sporting activities for our members, and more latterly preservation of our history in Otago & Southland, and NZ.

We invest strongly in our Youth. We run an annual camp and other social and sports activities for our Youth. We have an annual OSCA Youth Award to recognise youth contribution and leadership. We help to organise the NZCA Leadership Development Conferences for our Youth and support them to attend. NZCA runs a national Annual Sports and Cultural Tournament. We participate in the Tournament each year and take our turn in hosting the Tournament in Dunedin every 4 years. NZCA gives annual academic and other awards. Many of our Youth have won those awards over the years.

We have an active lion dance team made up of school aged members. They are invited to perform at functions and events all over Otago. We contribute towards the funding of the Dunedin Chinese Language School, to maintain our language and culture.

We participate in cultural and heritage projects in Dunedin, Otago and New Zealand. We provided funding and helped to raise funds for the Dunedin Chinese Garden, Toitu projects, the Lawrence Chinese Mining Camp restoration, archival work on Chinese historical items, and restoration of headstones of neglected Chinese graves. We provided support to NZCA in its building of the SS Ventnor Memorial in Northland. We organise or support launches of books on the history of Chinese in New Zealand.

We are actively engaged in making submissions concerning Chinese cultural sites and Chinese interests to the NZ Government or other regulatory agencies and public entities, and generally provide feedback during consultation processes and activities that impact our community. As part of NZCA, we initiated the dialogue and made submissions to the NZ Government on the discriminatory nature of the Poll Tax levied on early Chinese settlers who migrated to NZ. The outcome was an apology from the Government and the establishment of a Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, which provides funding to help strengthen the unique identity of Chinese New Zealanders and their communities in NZ.

More recently we were involved in discussions with the NZ government to include NZ Chinese history as part of NZ’s school curriculum, as well as lobbying for an official apology for historical racist treatment by the NZ Government in the past.

What Dunedin means to us:

As our Association was founded by Chinese who came generations ago, we are part of New Zealand’s and Dunedin’s history. We now welcome newer arrivals from China and increasingly, those who identify as Chinese irrespective of their country of origin or relationship status.

We are raising our families here, working, starting businesses, and making connections, as did many of our ancestors. We are part of Dunedin, and Dunedin is part of us. Dunedin provides strong education to our young. It provides the rich soil where we can nurture our cultural identity, so we become proud Chinese New Zealanders.

Otepoti, Dunedin, is our past, our present and our future. Living here gives a unique Otepoti flavour to our principles, goals, and aspirations to contribute to an exciting future for our members within a diverse community in Dunedin, Otago and Southland, and New Zealand.