Graham Bing 陳其惠 Sungai village 新街村
13 April 1923 — 29 July 2016
Graham was the third eldest of seven children born to Chan Bing Tai who had a fruit shop in Parnell, a nursery/seed shop in Newmarket and a small market garden in Remuera. The fruit shop was sold in 1934 to allow the whole family to go to China for a Chinese education.
The family decided to return to New Zealand after nearly four years because of the threats of Communism and the Japanese invasion and set up a fruit shop in Blenheim. Graham worked in the fruit shop with his father and brother, and later he grew vegetables for the shop on a small piece of land in Springlands. Around 1947 when Graham was about 24, he sold the land in Springlands and bought a ticket on the first ever aeroplane flight to Asia from New Zealand for a holiday in China
In 1953 Graham married Doris Poykin Wu who was living and working in her father’s fruit shop Wong She & Co. in Wellington, and they built a house at 120 High St, Blenheim. After his father died suddenly at 62 of a heart attack, Graham continued to run the fruit shop C Bing & Co. In 1960 while still running the fruit shop, Graham bought a small grocery shop situated opposite Vogue Hairdressers in Maxwell Road, Blenheim. As an entrepreneur, he developed it into a mini-market at a time when there were as yet no supermarkets, and his youngest sister, Jean, and a family friend worked there.
Graham bought Woodlands Holiday Flats in Maxwell Road, Blenheim in 1961, and converted them into Bings Motel. He also built the family home and a flat for his mother to live in as part of the motel office. Additional motel units were built on adjacent land over the years making up the current 28 units. Graham ran the motels for nearly 55 years and was still actively involved in its operation at the time of his death.
He was a foundation member of the Marlborough branch to the accommodation industry and one of the first New Zealand Motel Association (MANZ) members.
Graham played an active part in the local community and supported many of its community events and fundraising activities. He was a founding member of the Blenheim Lions Club and was part of the Marlborough Televiewers’ Society whose members fundraised to establish Blenheim's first TV translator which brought TV to the town.
He enjoyed various sports and was a life member of the Fairhall and Rarangi Golf Clubs. He also represented Blenheim in table tennis competitions and continued to play tennis on the motel courts well into his seventies.
Besides being busy raising six children (Burns, Christopher, Frances, Stephanie, Kathryn and Martin) and running the motels, in later years, Graham and Doris still found time to travel. They visited many overseas countries both on their own and with the Marlborough Travel Club. After Doris’s death 22 years ago, Graham continued to regularly visit relatives in China, and had recently travelled there just a few months before his death.
The family was always a big part of Graham and Doris’s lives, with the children and grandchildren often returning to spend many happy and memorable holidays and Christmases at the motels. Both were particularly proud that all of their children achieved University qualifications and success in their chosen careers, as neither Graham nor Doris were able to complete their education.
The Bing name has now been part of the Blenheim community for nearly 80 years. Graham was a loyal and proud supporter of the community and local businesses. He was a very humble man too, who preferred that his financial contributions remained “under the radar”.
He was also a generous employer which was reflected in the length of service of many of his staff.
Graham is survived by his six children and 16 grandchildren.
- ↑ Adapted from Marlborough Express and Bing family. in Tung Jung Association of NZ. (2016). Newsletter - Spring 2016.
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