Haining Street, along with nearby Frederick Street were the central points of the early Chinese community in Wellington (Often referred to as the "Celestial Quarter", "Chinatown" or "Chinese Quarter"). Members of the Chinese community in Wellington would call the street Tong Yan Gaai (唐人街), or Chinese People's Street[1], although this Cantonese term is often used generically to refer to 'Chinatown'.

Haining Street in particular was notorious for gambling, opium and alcohol sales[1][2][3][4][5][6][7], which lead to police raids[4][5][8], and was the scene of the infamous murder of Joe Kum Yung by Lionel Terry on 24 September 1905[1][2][9].

This area is considered by the Wellington City Council as significant to Wellington's heritage.[10]


Yuen Tung & Co sold Chinese antiques, embroidery, and provisions. Operated from ? to ? on the corner of Haining and Taranaki Streets.

Jo Farr operated a two story, four bedroom boarding house, which was destroyed in a fire in 1897 that resulted in the death of Jo Li.



Photographic copy of a part of the New Zealand Mail, 1904, including a photograph of Haining Street, Wellington. Ref: 1/2-C-012470-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23091090


Cottages in Haining Street, Wellington, labelled with 1947 prices. One is listed as selling for 30 pounds, two are selling for five pounds, and one for four pounds. Photograph taken by an unidentified Evening Post staff photographer in 1947. Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: PAColl-9150-14. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.


Haining Street, 2017 (Photo (C) Cameron Sang

IMG 0662

Sign commemorating Old Chinatown (2017) (C) Cameron Sang

External References

  • Manying Ip, 'Chinese - Later settlement', Te Ara -

the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 25 Mar 2015 (accessed 4 April 2017)

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Opium dens, gambling and murder, ADRIANA WEBER, The Wellingtonian,1 April 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Murder aimed to spread ‘yellow peril’ message. (n.d.). Retrieved 10 July 2017, from
  3. Radio New Zealand. (2015, January 30). How to be dead - Writer Chris Tse | Voices | RNZ. Retrieved 10 July 2017, from
  4. 4.0 4.1 HAINING STREET HOSPITALITY, (New Zealand Truth, Issue 880, 7 October 1922),_(New_Zealand_Truth,_Issue_880,_7_October_1922)
  5. 5.0 5.1 HAINING STREET HABITUES (New Zealand Times, Volume XL, Issue 9017, 14 April 1915),_Volume_XL,_Issue_9017,_14_April_1915)
  6. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga. (2005, February 8). Haining Street, Wellington [Web page]. Retrieved July 17, 2017, from /en/photograph/511/haining-street-wellington
  7. 'Chinese settlers sparked some sensational rumours', URL:, Alex Fensome, 1-Dec-2014
  8. Wanganui Chronicle Another Raid on Chinese Quarters, (Volume 17, Issue 15000, November 1900)
  9. 'Race killing in Wellington's Haining St', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 19-Jan-2017
  10. Wellington City Council. (2013). Thematic Heritage Study of Wellington. Retrieved 8 November 2017, from

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