Chinese laundries first opened in the 1880s and were an integral part of New Zealand's social fabric until at least the 1950s. How did they develop in towns from Southland to the far north before slowly disappearing after the 1940s? Who ran them and how did they fit into their communities? Starch Work by Experts: Chinese Laundries in Aotearoa New Zealand tells the story of the laundrymen, their families and customers. Hand laundries were one of four main occupations for early Chinese settlers, along with mining, market gardening and storekeeping. They provided a low-cost stepping stone to a new life through hard work, skill and long hours. This book counters the stereotype of Chinese laundry work as menial and unskilled. While Chinese laundries were humble establishments, Chinese laundrymen (and women) were experts in starching, particularly men's shirts and detachable collars. Blending documentary research, personal stories and fascinating images, Starch Work by Experts goes beyond the grille to step inside the world of steaming coppers, hissing irons and perfectly starched collars.