Meilin Chong nee Hing 黃 美 蓮
My family story
I was born Meilin Hing, the 4th daughter of William Hing ( chinese name - Wong Gum Jook) and Leung Ei Jun both of Zhongshan, China. My mother died soon after my birth leaving 3 other children, my sisters Eva aged 8, Ehlin aged 7 and Wailin aged 4. My father being unable to look after me placed me with a Mrs E. Paice who fostered hundreds of children during her life. Most of the fostered children stayed from birth to 6 mths but I was one of the few who stayed longer. I was with Mrs Paice till I was about 3 1/2yrs old. My father remarried in 1944 and I came home in 1947.We lived in Khyber Pass Rd. Newmarket. Auckland where I spent my growing up years.
I don't remember much of my early childhood but do remember being walked home from Kindergarten hanging on to a loop on a rope with other children who were also being taken home.I attended Newmarket Primary School 1948 - 1954, Normal Intermediate School 1955 -1956 (only normal children went there we bragged) and then EGGS 1957 - 1960. I enjoyed school where I was able to play with other children and made friends with children my own age. When I was growing up there was only one other chinese family besides us, still living in Newmarket. My parents did not encourage us to mix with Europeans but how could I not when I was the only chinese in my class and the only one in my year at EGGS!!
On leaving school I went to work in the office of Levene's Paint and Wallpaper shop in K'Rd. for a year. During that year they moved to their new warehouse in France St., My father had wanted me to work in the fruit shop but I baulked at that arguing that since none of my older sisters had to work there,why did I? I had wanted to go nursing but father was not keen for me to do this. During the year I applied for nursing and got accepted into the Jan. intake of 1962. I went to Middlemore to do my 3mths preliminary training as did my best friend from school Rosemary Bowick. My other good friend Kaye Rhodes who I had grown up with since kindergarten days went to the Greenlane Preliminary school. After Prelim. we were able to request where we would like to be based and I and my friends chose Auckland Hospital. In those days Auckland, Greenlane and Middlemore were under the one Board. I loved my years of nursing and made lifelong friends there.
In Feb 1968 I married Jack Chong (Ho) a market gardener who grew Hot House Tomatoes. I returned to nursing and only left when my elder son Martin was born. I went on to have 3 more children and became a stay at home mum and helped out in the glasshouses. All our children are university graduates, 3 of whom are now married and we are the proud grandparents of 4 with no 5 due at the end of Aug.
Jack's chinese family name is Ho - his father's name was Ho Chew Chong, that is why the family name became Chong. Our children have now all changed their surname back to the family name of Ho.