Ah Lum

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Ah Lum
Lau Lei
Bornbefore 1909
OccupationStore Owner, Gold Miner

Ah Lum (before 1909–1925) was a gold miner and store owner in Arrowtown, New Zealand.

Personal life[edit]

Ah Lum was born in China, and later moved to New Zealand where he opened a store in the Otago town of Arrowtown. He was a well-respected leader in the Chinese mining community at Arrowtown, and served as an interpreter between the Chinese and European peoples. Ah Lum became a local hero after he saved the life of a European miner who was drowning in the Shotover River.[1]

Ah Lum's Store[edit]

Ah Lum's store

Ah Lum's store was built from mortared stone rubble with an iron roof. Inside, there were five rooms, as well as a loft space.His store was one of the few original buildings in the Chinese settlement to remain standing.[2] Ah Lum acquired the store in 1909, and the building began to serve as a shop, a bank, a place for socialising, and as accommodation for both travellers and visitors. The store stocked both Asian and European supplies.


After Ah Lum's death in 1925 (some sources say 1927[2]), the store closed and the Chinese community disappeared. The building was restored in 1986, and is now registered as a Category I Historic Place.[2]