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Raymond Wong Tong. Greengrocer: born Wellington, March 6, 1911; died Wellington, July 21, 2009.[1]

Mr Wong Tong was born at 259 Cuba Street above the shop set up by his father, Wong Tong Fat, who had come out to New Zealand in the 1800s to work the Otago goldfields. The oldest of seven (Ling Moon, Lily, Ivan, Edith, Amy and Margie) he went to Mt Cook School (where he played for the school Rugby team, potentially the first Chinese person in New Zealand to do so)[2] and later to Wellington Technical College.[1]

At aged 16, he returned to China with his family, and would train as a radio telegrapher[2] with China Navigation. During this time he also learnt to speak fluent Mandarin.

He attended the Anglican Chinese Mission Church in Frederick Street and learnt to play the violin.[1]

Married to Betty Chang in 1935, aboard the Union Company Ship Taniwha, on their way to New Zealand, where they worked in the families second shop, Wong Tong and Sons, at 168 Cuba Street.[1] Betty passed away in 2006.[3]

During the Second World War, Mr Wong Tong served in the home guard.[1]

Wong Tong and his brother Ivan would go to the markets in Allen Street each week day morning, where he would concentrate on vegetables while Ivan’s speciality was fruit and flowers. The shop’s supplies were supplemented by spring onions and radishes grown on a small (half acre) family plot[2] in Nairn Street and later from the large garden behind the home Mr Wong Tong bought in Miramar.[1]

Wong Tong moved to Nelson in 1953, where he also set up a fruit shop, before returning to Wellington 13 years later to retire in 1966.[2]

He was a stalwart of the Tung Jung Association[4] which his father had helped found, and the Chinese Anglican Mission.[1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Manawatu Standard. (2009, August 17). Raymond Wong Tong: He fell for her dimples. Retrieved from https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/manawatu-standard/20090814/283510791962154
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Tung Jung Association. (2009, Autumn). Tung Jung Autumn Newsletter 2009. Retrieved from http://www.tungjung.org.nz/images/stories/newsletters/2009/Tung_Jung_Autumn_Newsletter2009_%28print%29.pdf
  3. Dominion Post. (2009, August 8). Raymond Wong Tong: Green Grocer with a twinkle in his eye. Retrieved from https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-dominion-post/20090808/282256661507498
  4. NZBC. (2013, June 8). Raymond Wong Tong 6 March 1911—21 July 2009 | Message Board. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from http://nzchinese.proboards.com/thread/2238/raymond-wong-tong-march-1911

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