Nigel Murphy is a sixth-generation New Zealander of Irish-German-English descent and a librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library/National Library of New Zealand. He has studied Chinese New Zealand history for over 20 years and has been involved in the Chinese New Zealand community for nearly as long. He has been secretary of the Wellington Chinese Association and is currently chair of the Wellington Chinese Language School. He has published and lectured widely on the history of the Chinese in New Zealand, and on racism and White New Zealand. His most recent publication Aliens at My Table: Asians as New Zealander see them, co-authored with Manying Ip, was published in 2005.
In 2002 he was seconded to the Office of Ethnic Affairs as a researcher and historian to support the Chinese poll tax apology reconciliation process. One outcome of this process was the National Library exhibition ‘A Barbarous Measure: the Poll Tax and Chinese New Zealanders’ which he curated. The exhibition was held at the National Library in Wellington in 2003 and toured New Zealand between 2004 and 2005.
He has recently completed a Masters of New Zealand Studies, his thesis being ‘Racism and Empire: Discourses of Race and Empire in the Formation of New Zealand’s National Identity 1890-1907’.