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Big idea: What is the purpose of the Dunedin Chinese Garden?

Approximate duration: 4 lessons

Key competencies

  • Thinking
  • Relating to others

Effective teaching

  • Creating a supportive learning environment
  • Making connections to prior learning and experience

Links to social inquiry processes

  • Finding out information
  • Exploring values and perspectives

Conceptual understandings/learning intentions: Today we are learning that...

(Level 3) Students will gain knowledge, skills, and experiences to:

  • understand how people remember and record the past in different ways.

Key understandings:

  • The Chinese Garden is a permanent and significant commemoration of the contribution of the early Chinese settlers who arrived in Otago.
  • Dunedin has a close sister relationship with Shanghai.
  • This is the only authentic Chinese garden in the Southern Hemisphere and is one of only four outside China.

Activity 1

Brainstorm what the students already know about the Chinese Garden. You may like to use a KWL chart. This will be also useful as an assessment tool at the end of the unit.

What do you already know about the Chinese Garden?

What do you want to find out when you visit the Chinese Garden?

What did you learn at the Chinese Garden?


Activity 2

Graffiti sheets: Place the following photos around the room with large sheets of paper. Write a question on the sheet and invite the students to look closely at what they can see in the pictures and answer the question or make a comment about something else in the photo. The students use a crayon and go around the sheets writing up their ideas or response to the questions. If they agree with someone else’s response, they can just tick it. At the end, get each group to summarise a sheet and report back' their findings.

  • Write a caption for this picture.
  • What is in the foreground of the picture?
  • What can you see in the background of the picture?
  • Write a question for this picture.
  • Where do you think this might be?
  • What does this picture tell you about the people’s way of life?
  • What is happening in this picture?
  • What work do these people do?

This would then lead to a discussion about the early settlers in Dunedin and why they are a very important part of Dunedin’s heritage.

Click here to download the photos.

Activity 3

View the Powerpoint about the background behind and making of the Chinese Garden. This will inform and give students an understanding before they go on their visit.

Further background information

In 1864, many Chinese workers arrived in Dunedin to make money on the gold fields and send it home to their families.

The work was very hard and very few women came.

Workers were very homesick for their families.

When the gold rush finished, many of the Chinese stayed and their families came to settle here.

At the time, some of the Chinese got new jobs in market gardening, laundries, fruit shops, and fish and chip shops. Now this has changed and many of the Chinese people in Dunedin have very important jobs, such as the Mayor of Dunedin.

School Journals on the early Chinese settlers.

  • Part 2 Number 3 1994 Chinese Rock Dwellings
  • Part 4 Number 4 1988 Discovering Chinatown
  • Part 4 Number 2 2003 Following the gold
  • Part 1 Number 3 1981 Mr. Schieb – gold miner
  • Part 3 Number 3 1979 A coat of gold
  • Part 3 Number 2 1992 Buried in the Snow
  • Part 2 Number 2 1990 Lucky or unlucky

Activity 4

Question Activity: Prepare the questions that the students have written in their KWL for their tour of the gardens.

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