Auckland Heritage Festival 2018 Fruits of Our Labours in Remuera

On Friday 5th October, as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival, 65+ people heard Ruth Lam, co-author of the Fruits of our Labours, give a fascinating talk about the Chinese fruiterers in Remuera, with much input from the Chinese community in Remuera whose families had been in business as fruiterers.



Remuera has been home to more than a dozen Chinese fruiterers since the 1920s, with Jack Lum & Co continuing the tradition of selling high quality fruit and vegetables. The first Chinese fruiterer in Remuera was Wong Kee & Co in 1924 in the Coles Building. Other familiar names who had businesses in Remuera were the Chinn family, Willie & Allan Tam, Fong Kee, She Cheong, the Wong family – parents Francis and Alice with children Joana, Margaret, David and Susan, the James and Ida Wong family, and Yee Hop owned by Chan Yuen Ling. Ron Wong, son of James and Ida, spoke about how as a teenager he made his own fireworks with help from Bruce Culpan, chemist. Joana Wong spoke about the Christmas ‘rush’ where she had to drive to the railway station with the Christmas orders to go on the train to wherever Remuera families were holidaying.


The book was meticulously researched and written over 4 years by Ruth Lam, Beverley Lowe, Helen Wong, Michael Wong and Carolyn King. It contains many family histories and stories plus detailed research from libraries, archives and museums throughout New Zealand.


Fruits of our Labours was commissioned and published by the New Zealand Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust in 2018. Copies of the two volume book can be ordered for $80 from

Photos courtesy of Remuera Library.