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Locations

Previously known as Yee Chong Wing & Co, Te Aro Seed Company was located on the Corner of Manners and Herbert (now Victoria) Streets until 1910.[1][2]

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Intersection of Herbert and Manners Streets, Wellington, 1908. Shows Sun Kwong Lee & Co, fruiterers, on the right and Yee Chong Wing & Co, importers, in the centre. Taken by an unidentified photographer.

From 1910 to 1913, Yee Chong Wing & Co was located at 174 Cuba Street.[2][3]

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174 Cuba Street, Wellington. Photo: Cameron Sang July 2017

In 1914, the name was changed to the Te Aro Seed Co[4] (although the name Yee Chong Wing was also used until at least 1949[5]), and the third and final location was at 56 Courtenay Place on the corner with Tory Street, until it closed in the 1980s.

Advertising in the Evening Post on 28 September 1918 (Before the end of the First World War) recommended that people grow their own vegetables, to help cut down food bills. Seeds and plants from Te Aro Seed Co., that were tested in their Trial Grounds, could be relied upon to obtain high quality produce. Ornamental shrubs and hedges were grown in conditions to withstand Wellington's weather.[6]

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The Sports Bar, Corner of Tory Street and Courtney Place, June 2017 (C) Cameron Sang

8; Te Aro Seed Company, shop front, Courtenay Place (c 1914?) Wellington City Council Archives Series 00157:8.

This photograph is used by the Wellington City Council as an example of heritage signage.[7]

Corner of Courtenay Place and Tory Street, June 2017
5180 f

View of a parade in Wellington circa 1920.

A coach is located in the foreground. The coach is drawn by two horses. A man and three women in colonial dress are seated in the front of the coach. An early motor car is located behind the coach. A woman stands in the back of the car. The photograph was possibly taken on Courtenay Place. Among the businesses that are visible along the street is the Te Aro Seed Company. http://collection.mtghawkesbay.com/search.do?db=object&page=1&view=detail&id=39568

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Sydney Charles Smith. (ca 1926.). Looking down Courtenay Place towards the Embassy Theatre. Te Aro Seed Co. on the left, ca 1926. Retrieved 23 July 2017, from http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?f=&id=3441&recordNum=0&u=0&t=items&s=a&tc=0&q=&p=0&numResults=20&l=en

Advertising

Advertisements

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Dominion Federation of N.Z. Chinese Commercial Growers (Inc.). (1949, September 1). The N.Z. Chinese Growers’ Monthly Journal. [8]

Advertisement: YEE CHONG WING & CO. (Te Aro Seeds Ltd.) SEED MERCHANTS AND IMPORTERS. Telephone: 51-465. 58 Courtney Place, Wellington, N.Z. G.P.O. Box 320, Wellington.

Publications

Te Aro Seed Co would publish and distribute garden annuals, which contained planting and gardening tips and tables, as well as serve as a catalogue that customers would order from.

Te Aro Seed Company: [Garden guide or garden annual - price lists. 1900s-1950s] Held at the National Library of New Zealand[9]

Te Aro Seed Company -Garden annual, 1931;

Te Aro Seed Co. (1931). Te Aro Seed Company :Garden annual, 1931; seeds, bulbs & plants. Te Aro Seed Co., 58 Courtenay Place, Wellington. [Front cover. 1931]. Alexander Turnbull Library. Retrieved 22 July 2017, from http://www.digitalnz.org/records/22801908

Te Aro Seed Company :Garden annual, 1931; seeds, bulbs & plants. Te Aro Seed Co., 58 Courtenay Place, Wellington. [Front cover. 1931.]

Brightly coloured front cover shows a frontal illustration of a symmetrical house with two smoking chimneys, in a geometric art deco inset. colour photo-mechanical print(s). Physical Description: Offset print, on cover of booklet, 232 x 152 mm.

Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-TeAro-1934-01-front

Te Aro Seed Company :Garden annual, 1934-35. [Front cover] Designed and printed by L T Watkins Limited, Wellington.. Te Aro Seed Company :[Garden guide or garden annual - price lists. 1900s-1940s]. Ref: Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-TeAro-1934-01-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22708878

Te Aro Seed Company: Garden annual, 1934-35. [Front cover Designed and printed by L T Watkins Limited, Wellington]

Cover of sales catalogue for Te Aro Seed Company, Courtenay Place, Wellington. Shows an illustration of an assortment of vegetables arranged in a field: pumpkin, swede, turnip, carrot, beetroot, potato, onion, celery, leek, marrow, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, green and yellow beans, peas.

Colour photo-mechanical print(s) on cover of booklet.

Physical Description: Offset print, 247 x 156 mm.

Provenance: Purchased from Barney Brewster, Nelson, in 2004.

Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-Tearo-1945-01-front

Te Aro Seeds Limited :Garden annual, 1949-1950. Printed by L T Watkins Ltd., Cuba Street, Wellington [Front cover. 1949].. Te Aro Seed Company :[Garden guide or garden annual - price lists. 1900s-1940s]. Ref: Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-TeAro-1949-01-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22625370

Te Aro Seed Co (Firm) :Garden annual. Victory edition 1945-46. Te Aro Seed Co. Seeds that grow. [Front cover. 1945.]

Shows a woman in straw hat, check shirt and dungarees, standing in a filed of vegetables, holding a wooden box of assorted vegetables.

Physical Description: Photolithograph, on cover of catalogue 215 x 140 mm.

Provenance: Estate of Hallam Leslie Secker, 2002.

Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-TeAro-1949-01-front

Te Aro Seeds Limited :Garden annual, 1949-1950. Printed by L T Watkins Ltd., Cuba Street, Wellington [Front cover. 1949].. Te Aro Seed Company :[Garden guide or garden annual - price lists. 1900s-1940s]. Ref: Eph-A-HORTICULTURE-TeAro-1949-01-front. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22625370

Te Aro Seeds Limited :Garden annual, 1949-1950. Printed by L T Watkins Ltd., Cuba Street, Wellington [Front cover. 1949.]

Shows a smiling young Chinese woman reading a Te Aro seed catalogue, with a basket of vegetables in front of her, and springs of pink blossom behind her. The green and yellow logo of the New Zealand Horticultural Trades Association is at lower right.

The Te Aro Seed Company was run by a Chinese family, the Ting family.

Quantity: 1 colour photo-mechanical print(s).

Physical Description: Photolithograph, on cover of booklet, 218 x 142 mm.

Alternative form available: Scanned from original. File print in Ephemera Room

Prizes

In December 1944, Te Aro Seed Company sponsored a prize of 5/- of seed for a Horticultural Show in Upper Hutt.[10]

Agents

Several businesses, including florists, greengrocers and a cycle and saddlery shop in the greater Wellington area, as well as further afield, acted as agents for the Te Aro Seed Co.[11][12][13]

  1. Tung Jung Association http://www.tungjung.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24&Itemid=31
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lee, L., Lam, R., & Dominion Federation of N.Z. Chinese Commercial Growers. (2012). Sons of the soil: Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand = Huángtǔ zǐsì. Pukekohe [N.Z.: Dominion Federation for New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers.] Page 123
  3. Page 142, Wong, H. (2016). Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story. Bridget Williams Books.
  4. Chan, H. D. M., & Tung Jung Association of NZ. (2007). Zengcheng New Zealanders: a history for the 80th anniversary of the Tung Jung Association of NZ Inc. Katoomba, NSW: Echo Point Press for the Tung Jung Association of New Zealand. Page 113
  5. Dominion Federation of N.Z. Chinese Commercial Growers (Inc.). (1949, September 1). The N.Z. Chinese Growers’ Monthly Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2017, from http://www.nzchinesejournals.org.nz/collect/pagescjp/cgi-bin/pagescjp?e=01off-------101en-9999-10-1-0--0-0-1&a=d&d=D42.31
  6. Advertisements Page 12 Column 3, Evening Post, Volume XCVI,Issue 78, 28 September 1918 http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19180928.2.73.3
  7. Wellington City Council. (2017). Heritage shop fronts - A guide to maintaining  and enhancing Wellington’s historic shops. Retrieved 8 November 2017, from https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/services/community-and-culture/heritage/files/heritage-shop-fronts.pdf
  8. Dominion Federation of N.Z. Chinese Commercial Growers (Inc.). (1949, September 1). The N.Z. Chinese Growers’ Monthly Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2017, from http://www.nzchinesejournals.org.nz/collect/pagescjp/cgi-bin/pagescjp?e=01off-------101en-9999-10-1-0--0-0-1&a=d&d=D42.31
  9. National Library of New Zealand: Te Aro Seed Company :[Garden guide or garden annual - price lists. 1900s-1940s]  https://natlib.govt.nz/items/23234830
  10. Upper Hutt Leader. (1944, November 16). Upper Hutt Leader 16 November 1944 — Upper Hutt Leader Newspaper Collection. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://newspaperarchives.uhcc.govt.nz/cgi-bin/upperhutt?a=d&d=UpperHuttLeader19441116.2.14&srpos=1&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-te+aro+seed+co------
  11. Advertisements Page 8 Column 5, Horowhenua Chronicle, 28 August 1929 http://wellingtonchinesehistory.wikia.com/wiki/Advertisements_Page_8_Column_5%2C_Horowhenua_Chronicle%2C_28_August_1929
  12. Advertisements Page 6 Column 2, Rangitikei Advocate and Manawatu Argus, Volume XLV, Issue 11861, 30 June 1919 http://wellingtonchinesehistory.wikia.com/wiki/Advertisements_Page_6_Column_2%2C_Rangitikei_Advocate_and_Manawatu_Argus%2C_Volume_XLV%2C_Issue_11861%2C_30_June_1919
  13. Advertisements Page 1 Column 3, Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume I, Issue 25, 5 June 1936 http://wellingtonchinesehistory.wikia.com/wiki/Advertisements_Page_1_Column_3%2C_Upper_Hutt_Weekly_Review%2C_Volume_I%2C_Issue_25%2C_5_June_1936

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