The earliest Chinese miners brought their own form of lottery. Pakapoo (in Chinese, Pak kop piu) originated during the Han Dynasty in 187 BC. In New Zealand, pakapoo tickets bearing 80 Chinese characters from the Thousand Character Classic were sold for sixpence. The purchaser marked off ten of the characters and returned the ticket to the seller, who noted the marks in a duplicate book and then returned it to the 'bank' (in the goldfields era usually a store-keeper's back room) where the drawing took place. Tickets were removed one by one from a jar or basket until one of those drawn had a number corresponding with a ticket that had been purchased. This was the winning ticket. Originally prizes were traditional Chinese items from the shop, but as the game became popular among Europeans as well, money prizes became more common.
Pakapoo was enormously popular among Chinese in colonial New Zealand. In their bigger communities such as Round Hill (Canton), there could be up to five lotteries a day. Store-keepers employed ticket-sellers who walked from claim to claim selling tickets and, after the lottery was drawn, delivered prizes to lucky winners. Their role was crucial in keeping the operation solvent. They received half the profit from the organiser, and one-tenth of the winner's prize. In good times there was never any shortage of such jobs. The Chinaman's Hill community, near Tuapeka, played host to some 50 transient chinese at anyone time. Most were failed miners for whom selling pakapoo tickets was welcome employment.
GAMBLING IN HAINING STREET
For non-Chinese, one of the main attractions of the street was pakapoo (sometimes spelt pak-ah-pu). Although indecipherable to most of its players, the 80 Chinese characters printed on the ticket are the beginning of an ancient prose poem describing the world and its creation. The poem is composed of 1000 Chinese characters, with no two repeated. It is entitled the 'Thousand Character Classic', a primer that all Chinese children once learnt to read and write from.
The name pakapoo comes from 'bak gap biu', white pigeon tickets. Originating during the Han Dynasty in 187 BC,49 it has been compared by many to modern-day Lotto or Keno, except that the odds were much better. Players marked up to ten choices with a brush dipped in ink, and a copy was made and kept by the agent. There were several draws a day, and winnings were paid in proportion to the number of characters that corresponded with the master ticket, with 20 out of the 80 characters being drawn elsewhere at a place called 'the bank'. Copies of this ticket were marked and sent by the bank, via runners, back to the agent. In this way the agent knew if he had sold a winning ticket and was able to greet the winning client with the news.
After a fire in a disused shop on the corner of Haining Street, workmen found hundreds of draw tickets blowing about, each about 600 mm square with a single character on them. In 1905 and 1907 it was reported that, for an outlay of six pence, it was possible to win between one shilling and £70.
One of the major leisure activities amongst the Chinese was gambling, possibly due to the absence of female company and family life. Some Chinese were fully occupied conducting Fan Tan, Gee Fah and Pak-a-pu banks, much to the righteous wrath of the European Community. Often several activities were carried on by the one person. For instance a storekeeper might also run a boarding house and gambling establishment on the same premises.
Pon Sun, a gardener, of Bayswater, one of the Chinamen charged with having been on the premises, stated that about 8.30 p.m. on July 13 he visited premises known as 133 James-street, of which accused, Ack Yam, was the occupier. Witness found between 40 and 50 of his countrymen play ing "fantan," a Chinese gambling game played with beads and counters. Shortly after his arrival "bowgow," another gambling gamee played with dominoes and dice, was started and a number of those who had been playing "fan tan" left the premises. With the aid of the paraphernalia seized by the police, Pon Sun, who declaimed that he gambled himself, described the method of playing the Chinese game "pi-que," in which cards and dominoes were used, and "chee fa," a lottery game.
Baby Shang, Sing Dick, Ah Hoy, and Lin You were charged with assisting to keep a common gaming-house at 37 Murray-street. Detective Dempsey gave evidence that, in company with other officers of the Criminal Investigation Department, he visited the premises named and found gambling going on. Baby Shang and Ah Hoy were in charge of the fan-tan tables, and the other two in charge of the chee-fah. Baby Shang and Sing Dick were fined some years ago for a similar offence. Mr. J. B. Mills, who appeared for the defence and pleaded guilty, asked for leniency on behalf of his clients. He thought it would be better if the police were to "spread their net, and make a haul in Barrack-street." Baby Shang and Sing Dick were each fined £10 including costs, in default two months' imprisonment. Ah Hoy and Lin You were each fined £7, in default one month's imprisonment.
Like many others in Trader Bay, Sebastian lived mainly for the excitement of the Chinese 'Cheefa', or gambling riddles that teased and tantalised as the players looked for clues in local happenings and obscure dreams. Tonight, as every night, he would join the chattering crowd in the room behind Tin Tack's shop, his thin, paper ticket clasped with a miraculous medal in his perspiring fist. In breathless suspense he would watch as the Chinese banker drew forth the answer to the day's puzzle from the lacquered box. Thirty bob if you guessed it right, but heaven was never generous with the winning clues. Only once before had the miracle happened. Everyone remembered how Sebastian had cracked that hard nut, 'quick thing, now he go slow'. He had dreamt of a pet monkey that used to follow him everywhere when he was a boy, and on waking, in a flash, he had it — 'Monkey on a string! Then he had walked on.
This is the story of an Australian girl from a malay father and islander mother (1914) Source
Despite all efforts on her behalf, Arima was now fully in the grip of the Act. When she asked for 10 shillings out of her earnings to send to her ailing father, the Brisbane (female) Protector passed on the request to the Chief Protector. He consulted the local Protector at Thursday Island, who considered that 'the father is not in need and could probably do light work if he cared to.' Much doubt was cast on the character of Atima's father in this correspondence through reference to his gambling habit. He engaged in the very popular Thursday Island pastimes of gee far, 'luk-luk pat,' and other games. His fortunes rose and fell and he may, in times of need, have leaned on his children. According to his two surviving sons, he amassed the wealth to buy a house at Thursday Island through gambling, and lost it in the same manner. With the removal of Arima, the whole family became subject to the paternalistic rhetoric and unsubstantiated detrimental comments about people's lifestyles which was the discursive culture of the Department.