Chinese heritage types

An overview of the history of the Chinese heritage types that were used to print The New Zealand Chinese Growers Journal (1952-1972).

Wai-te-ata Chinese heritage types
Winnie Chan and Laywood Chan admire the decorative borders designed by Laywood's father. Photo credit: Andy Spain

Victoria University of Wellington and the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers unveiled the Chinese Growers Printing Collection on Thursday 15 September 2016 as part of Chinese Language Week. At the event the project between Victoria University of Wellington and the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers was officially launched, and the agreement signed. The agreement marks the formal start of the relationship and the transfer of guardianship of New Zealand’s only surviving Chinese language printing typeface collection to Victoria University of Wellington.

The printing collection holds significant cultural and historical value for the Chinese community and was used by the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers to print its monthly newsletters, the New Zealand Chinese Growers Monthly Journal, from 1952-1972. The print collection will now be restored, revitalised and rehoused at the University's Wai-te-ata Press.

Dr Sydney Shep of Wai-te-ata Press says: “Repatriating these unique types back to Wellington and putting them back into action offers an unprecedented opportunity for Victoria University of Wellington to help link past with present, language with culture, scholars with communities, and to catalyze new interest in the complexities of Chinese print history and its New Zealand stories.”

The Chinese Scholars’ Studio and Heritage Type project is supported by donations from the Chan family, the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, the New Zealand China Friendship Society and the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers. The Chan family have a long and generous history of giving to the University and they have a very personal connection with the project as their grandfather, Dan Chan, was the first editor of the New Zealand Chinese Growers Monthly.