More than 200 descendants of a pioneering Chinese trader
celebrated their family connection in Dunedin in the weekend.
Reunion organiser Jason Sew Hoy (32), of Melbourne, said 203
people attended the three-day Choie Sew Hoy family reunion,
which finished yesterday.
The 203 people at the reunion included descendants who had
travelled from China, the United States, Canada, France and
Australia, he said.
In 1869, Choie Sew Hoy set up a store in Stafford St to
supply thousands of Chinese gold miners with food and
equipment and created a successful international trading
The reunion started with a ''meet-and-greet'' dinner at
Golden Harvest Restaurant on Friday night and finished with a
trip to Middlemarch on the Taieri Gorge Railway. The informal
''reconnect'' was the first time many of the family had seen
each other since the first reunion in Queenstown in 2007, he
At the Chinese Garden on Saturday, the family did a tour and
were photographed in generational and family groups.
Six generations and 14 family groups were at the reunion, Mr
Sew Hoy said.
The family then had a tour of Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and
were shown many of the Chinese artefacts the family had
On Saturday night, they attended a dinner and a presentation
by historian Dr James Ng at Otago Museum.
''Dr Ng probably knows more about our family than we do; he
has written a lot about the Chinese goldminers.''
The early Otago pioneer had created a society to ship back
deceased miners to be buried in China.
Tragically, the second shipment to China was in a ship that
sank, Mr Sew Hoy said.
''Choie Sew Hoy passed away in 1901 and he was on the second
ship they sent back. The tragedy is it sank off the coast of
''It hit a rock off the Taranaki coast ... for us, it was a
tragedy, because being all alone in a watery grave, and not
where your family is, is one of the worst things that can
happen to you after you go.''
Some of the family went to Hokianga in April to hold a
ceremony to honour those on the ship, he said.