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Barbarous renderings: A look at Chinese names in New Zealand
Barbarous renderings: A look at Chinese names in New Zealand

Thu, 30 Sept


Online Event

Barbarous renderings: A look at Chinese names in New Zealand

Time & Location

30 Sept 2021, 12:10 pm – 1:10 pm

Online Event

About the Event

Date: Thursday 30 September 2021, 12:10pm to 1:10pm

Cost: Free

Location: Online — RSVP for a link to join this talk

Contact details:

Part of the Chinese Language Week 2021 series

The origin and history of Chinese business and personal names in Wellington and New Zealand and how they evolved over time.

Chinese naming customs in New Zealand

Chinese New Zealanders originally followed Chinese naming customs for choosing businesses and personal names to attract good luck or positivity. These were transliterations of Chinese languages, and for businesses, often accompanied by Chinese character scripts. Over time businesses and personal names were influenced by Western naming customs to appeal to a wider range of customers, to follow marketing trends or to merge with Western society.

‘Barbarous renderings’ of Chinese New Zealand names

Come and hear Nigel Murphy, a foremost New Zealand Chinese historian, speak about the origin and evolution of Chinese names in New Zealand, and especially in Wellington. Nigel has personal knowledge of the history and stories of some Wellington Chinese businesses that he can share. He will also look at the “barbarous renderings” of Chinese New Zealand names by government officialdom and other New Zealanders.

About the speaker

Nigel Murphy is an historian specialising in Chinese New Zealand history. His publications include The Poll Tax in New Zealand: a research report published in 1993 and 2003, and a Guide to Laws and Policies relating to the Chinese in New Zealand 1871-1997 published in 2008.

RSVP for a link to join this talk

This event will be delivered using Zoom. You do not need to install the software in order to attend, you can opt to instead run zoom from your browser.

Email us if you’d like to join this talk. We will send you a link to use on the day. Email

Check before you come

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For more general information about National Library services and exhibitions have look at our COVID-19 page.

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