Chinese immigrants to New Zealand were not eligible for the old age pension. The exclusion of Chinese was consistent with prejudice against Asians generally as 'barbarians' whose language, pigtails, and practice of sending money home to China generated suspicion and dislike. This elderly Chinese man would not have enjoyed the household comforts of the pensioners photographed by Enos Silvanus Pegler in his series celebrating the passing of the Old Age Pensions Act 1898. Like many elderly Chinese, he probably lived in makeshift accommodation, either by himself or with other men. The bundle of firewood on his back suggests the he sold firewood to others on the goldfields in Lawrence – Otago's first gold-rush town.
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Hocken Library, University of Otago
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