A new heritage panel documenting the life of New Zealand’s first Chinese immigrant Appo Hocton is a fitting acknowledgement to a man that accomplished so much in Nelson says his descendants who have been working to get his legacy recognised.

Appo’s descendants, Alvin and Priscilla Schroder, first approached Nelson City Council in 2017 to have an unnamed walkway between Pioneer Crescent and Valley Heights – a trail that winds through the very area of town Appo owned multiple properties - named after him.

They were successful, and the path was named Appo Hocton Way late last year.

Now, an information panel featuring a picture of Appo and an overview of his life and successes will be unveiled at the Pioneer Crescent end of Appo Hocton Way later this month.

Information for the panel was taken from the book Appo Hocton, Wong Ah Poo Hoc Ting, New Zealand’s First Chinese Immigrant - Nelson 1842-1920, by Karen Stade.

Wong Ah Poo Hoc Ting, who later became known as Appo Hocton, left China aged nine before gaining a steward job on the New Zealand-bound Thomas Harrison. The ship berthed in Nelson on 25 October 1842, where he joined other crew members and jumped ship.

Appo was hiding in the Port Hills when the ship left two weeks later.

Appo went on to become the first Chinese man in New Zealand to become naturalised. He bought land in Washington Valley above the tideway, and build several houses, some of which are still in the Hastings Street/Washington Road area.

Priscilla said; “I’m really pleased there is some recognition there and people will be able to walk up there and think about what he accomplished.”

The panel will be unveiled in a small ceremony with some of Appo’s descendants and community members, including the NZ Chinese Friendship Society on 25 August at 3pm.

The ceremony will only take place if the city remains at COVID Alert Level 2 or below. If you are interested in attending the event, please email your name and contact number to Arts and Heritage Adviser Tom Ransom on tom.ransom@ncc.govt.nz, to ensure numbers do not go over 100.