Mr. Chew Chong,
who is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, was born in the year 1830, in China, where he went to school. He has associated with English people since his early years, when he was a household servant in Singapore for ten years. In 1855, he went to Melbourne, Australia, and was engaged in storekeeping and goldmining for eleven years. Mr. Chong then came to New
Zealand, and in 1866 landed in Dunedin, where he remained for two years. He commenced travelling the colony, buying old metal to send to China, and during his journey he discovered the edible fungus—a favourite food in China. Mr. Chong was the first to begin the fungus industry, and bought and exported the first shipment.
Mr. Chew Chong.
From the years 1872 to 1904 fungus of the declared value of £305,995 was exported from New Zealand. Mr. Chong began buying fungus in 1868, and many a back block bush settler can testify to the help derived from the fungus harvest. In 1870 Mr. Chong settled in New Plymouth, and established a store, buying fungus as well, and continued this business for over twenty years, besides having branches at Inglewood and Eltham for some time. He subsequently turned his attention to dairy farming, when farm made butter would bring only 4d per pound, and in 1887 established the Jubilee Dairy Factory at Eltham, and equipped it with a separator. In 1889 he exhibited samples of factory made butter at the Dunedin Exhibition, and gained two certificates and a silver cup for the best half-ton available for export. Mr. Chong claims to have been a pioneer of the dairy industry in the Eltham district. At one time he had 200 cows in milk, in order to be independent in the matter of supply for his factory, to which he afterwards added a second. After sixteen years' experience, during which he had paid away large sums to local farmers, Mr. Chong sold out. In the year 1900 be retired from business, and has since resided in Courtenay Street. Mr. Chong married a daughter of Mr. Joseph Whatton, of Masterton, in 1875, and has three daughters and three sons.