The Lost Voyage of 499

What: The Lost Voyage of 499
Where: Maori Television
When: Monday 17th November at 9:30pm.

Synopsis (written by the Natural History NZ - the film makers)
The S.S. Ventnor leaves Wellington bound for Hong Kong on October 26th 1902, on a mission to return the bodies of 499 Chinese miners to their place of birth in Guangdong, China. According to ancient Chinese tradition, a soul cannot rest in peace far from home.

Tragically, the ship sinks ten miles off the coast of the Hokianga Harbour. Most of the crew make it to shore but the steamship’s cargo goes down with the ship, which has never officially been located.

The Lost Voyage of 499 follows Duncan Sew Hoy, the great grandson of Choie Sew Hoy, one of the first and greatest Chinese pioneers in New Zealand whose remains were aboard the lost ship.

Duncan and his son Peter explore Choie’s legacy in Dunedin and discover the history behind the voyage of the S.S. Ventnor before travelling to Hokianga. There, along with other Chinese descendants of the 499, they meet people of the Te Roroa and Te Rarawa tribes, whose ancestors took it upon themselves to become guardians of the souls of the 499 and bury remains that washed ashore on their own sacred land.

Finally, Duncan and Peter make the ancestral journey back to China, as they seek to complete the circle and lay to rest the spirit of Choie Sew Hoy.