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Hero image for Contact - Chinaman's Gold

Contact - Chinaman's Gold

Television (Full Length) – 1981

When gold fever hit Central Otago in the late 19th century, hundreds of Chinese immigrants were among the hopeful prospectors. They were a quiet community scraping a living in harsh conditions, hoping to save money for families back home. This report for Contact follows the work of archaeologist Neville Ritchie, who in 1981 led one of Aotearoa's "biggest archaelogical operations" yet — an excavation of Cromwell's Chinatown, the makeshift village left to nature after the last miner died. It was part of wider research of the area, before new dams put some of the history underwater.

The early immigrants were initially treated with curiousity, but also a measure of respect."It seems astonishing how these industrious people manage to get gold when everyone else has concluded there is none", the Queenstown-based Lake Wakatipu Mail reported in 1870...
– Mark Andrews, in an article on Chinese goldminers in New Zealand, The South China Morning Post, 16 July 2017

Key Cast & Crew

Profile image for Tony Trotter

Tony Trotter


Generic Profile image for Ceidrik Heward

Ceidrik Heward


Generic Profile image for Alan Brady

Alan Brady

Director, Writer

Generic Profile image for Phil Hollingdale

Phil Hollingdale

Sound Recordist

Generic Profile image for David Sim

David Sim


Generic Profile image for Merv Aitchison

Merv Aitchison

Sound Mix

See all 7 credits