Celebrating opportunity on Lunar New Year

For entrepreneur Alex Su, Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate and reflect on the life he has created in New Zealand.

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Illustration: Melissa Currie.

The 34-year-old came to Auckland as a student 17 years ago and now runs a business employing around 50 people.

"The [NZ] working environment, the government environment, all so friendly, it’s easy to do business.”

“New Zealand has given me wonderful opportunities,” says Su who imports massage chairs and portable massagers and was named ANZ New Zealand’s 2017 Migrant Entrepreneur of the Year.

“I’ve lived half my life in New Zealand. I got my degree here, got a good job and learned a lot before I started my own business. I was so lucky I had so many people who helped me.”

ANZ New Zealand’s Head of Migrant Banking and Auckland Asian Banking Jack Hou says Su’s story is a perfect example of the contribution migrants make to the community.

“Small-to-medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the economy,” he says. “Chinese and Asian communities are hard-working and enterprising and provide growing contributions to our community.”

Both Hou and Su will be among the many people celebrating the Lunar New Year.

“It’s quite important to my family because I am spending most of my time with my staff, my business, so it’s good to spend time with my family” Su says.

“For me I always I always think about my plan for the coming year and what I am planning to achieve.”


Hou says the period is “really a family reunion” for many people of Chinese descent.

“Every year tens of thousands of people try to travel long distances to ensure they make it home to spend this very special time with their families and loved ones,” he says.

“My father in law will be travelling to New Zealand to see us and to see his new grandson who is six month old and his granddaughter who is six years old.”

The events are enjoyed by tens of thousands of people, Hou says.

“[The events] are testament to New Zealand’s recognition of Asian communities and their contribution to New Zealand,” he said.


Around 30,000 Chinese will visit New Zealand during the two-week festival. Hou says the celebrations are another way to connect New Zealand with the wider region.

Because it is based on the lunar calendar the New Year begins on a different date each year. This year the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Friday the 16th of February, ushering in the Year of the Dog.

According to Chinese astrology 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Anyone born in the coming year is said to be communicative, serious and responsible in the workplace.

The celebrations are also a time to reflect on the growing trade relationship between New Zealand and China.

Two-way trade has almost tripled over the past decade, from $A8.2 billion in the year ended June 2007, to around $A23 billion now. The trade has accelerated since the 2008 signing of a Free Trade Agreement.

Su is a small part of that two-way trade, importing his products from China. But his business also contributes to the domestic economy with around a dozen stores and around 50 staff.

“The thing that make me stay here, the life here is pretty relaxed,” he says. “Another thing is if I have proper plan, I can make it happen. The working environment, the government environment, all so friendly, it’s easy to do business.”

“I really have to thank my parents for sending me to New Zealand to make sure I have the opportunity to study here and work here."

  • ANZ is a sponsor of the Auckland Chinese New Year Festival & Market Day and Wellington’s Chinese New Year Festival.

Tony Field is a bluenotes contributor in NZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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