Chong, Chew

Chong resize

Chew Chong

Guangzhou-born Chew Chong arrived in New Zealand in 1867 and moved to Taranaki. There he identified the jew's ear fungus - "Taranaki wool" - growing on native trees as suitable for food and medicine.

Chew Chong opened a store in New Plymouth and established fungus as a crop, cornering most of the Taranaki trade and exporting it to China. He opened branches in Inglewood and Eltham, trading in a variety of goods including butter which he also started exporting.

Chew Chong opened the Jubilee butter factory in Eltham in 1885, added four creameries and bought the nearby Mangatoki factory.

In 1889 he installed a Hall's refrigerating machine at the Jubilee factory - probably the first freezing machine in a New Zealand butter factory.