A ship that sank 112 years ago while carrying the bodies of 499 Chinese miners was recently discovered near Hokianga Harbour, New Zealand.
Most of the miners were sealed in wooden coffins or zinc caskets and had died during New Zealand’s gold rush, CRI reports. They had paid in advance to have their bodies shipped back to China, but the ship, S.S. Ventnor, sank off Zealand’s northern coast not long after it took off from a Wellington port.
The shipwreck was discovered by a team led by John Albert, an amateur filmmaker from New Zealand. Albert is now considering making a documentary about the find, which has sparked some fury among those that think the ship should remain untouched and treated as a graveyard.
There was “genuine dismay felt across the NZ Chinese early settler community for the lack of respect being shown towards their ancestral remains and the disregard for the communities – Chinese and Maori – whose story it is,” said Kristen Wong, speaking on behalf of the New Zealand Chinese Association.