Ashburton's Chinese market garden settlement opens

The Ng King Brothers Chinese Market Garden Settlement. Photo: LDR
The Ng King Brothers Chinese Market Garden Settlement. Photo: LDR
After 16 years, the former site of Ashburton's Chinese market garden settlement has finally opened as a community heritage park.

The official opening on Sunday was an invite-only affair and the site opened to the public from Monday.

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown has described the site as an "outdoor museum" where the community can learn more about the history of Chinese pioneers in Ashburton.

The market garden settlement on Allens Road operated from the early 1920s until 1964, and was the largest Chinese community in the South Island during that time.

The around 2.3-hectare site remains home to a group of historic buildings and facilities that have been stabilised to stop further deterioration.

The project was born in 2008 when one of the group of owners, Yep Ng, worked with other family members to have the settlement come under council management.

Upoko o Te Rūnaka o Arowhenua Te Wera King blessed the site during the opening.

Landscaping has been completed and the fencing around the site was removed just before the formal opening.

To coincide with the opening, the Ashburton Museum unveiled a new exhibition on 26 February.

The exhibition A New Era: Ng King Bros. Chinese Market Garden Settlement celebrates the history of the site and the restoration project that worked over 15 years towards the site re-opening as a public reserve this month.

By Jonathan Leask, Local Democracy Reporter
LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.