Our Corporate Gold Members:
New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
Kiwis in Hong Kong G - L
Getting to know Kiwis in Hong Kong!
We asked a selection of Kiwis living and working in Hong Kong to tell us:
- Where are they originally from in New Zealand and how long they’ve been in Hong Kong;
- A little about their work and any memorable projects or experiences they’ve encountered;
- Whether they have family in Hong Kong; and
- What they most like about life in Hong Kong.
If you want to contact any of the Kiwis listed below, please send an e-mail to email@example.com in the first instance. We’ll pass your message on.
Here’s what they shared with us …
Kiwis in Hong Kong G - L
Ko Rangitāne me Ngāti Rarua ngā iwi
Ko Tapuae o Uenuku te maunga
Ko Wairau te awa
Ko Raukawa te moana
I was born in Auckland, my grandparents (Dad’s mum and dad) lived near and when my brother and I would walk home from school, there was a fork in the road, go home or go to Nana and Grandad’s. When I was six years old Mum got a job as the school nurse at the boarding school Church College of New Zealand in Hamilton. We lived above the school hospital for 20 years and my brother and sisters all went to high school there, along with many of my cousins. I studied at The University of Waikato for a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Business Studies. After university I moved back to Auckland where I worked in various roles before work brought me to Hong Kong.
Mum is from a little place called Wairau Pā which is one of the oldest and most significant archaeological sites in Aotearoa. Growing up, we’d always travel home to the Pā for holidays, reunions, weddings and tangi, it’s my most favourite place in the world. When I return back to Aotearoa, there is a mandatory trip back to the top of the South Island to spend time swimming in the rivers and ocean, hanging with my whānau and eating delicious seafood down the Sounds. This is what sustains me while I’m in Hong Kong.
Countdown is on to getting my PR, I’ve been here for 6 ½ years. I think when I look back at my life, the time I spend in Hong Kong will be one of those best phases of my life.
I’m Vice President of Corporate Accounts and sell aircraft furniture to airlines. I look after Asia Pacific and Africa regions. Needless to say that the last two years has been an interesting time working in the aviation industry. We’ve gone through huge redundancies and it still feels like a few more years before the industry recovers.
Our company used to be owned by Air New Zealand before being sold to a UK company called AIM Altitude. I’m the only employee in Hong Kong and work from home, so the commute is excellent.
Our company specialises in business class seats, bars and custom furniture in the aircraft, think James Bond sipping on a martini at a bar while flying or the couple from Crazy Rich Asians having a drink at the horseshoe bar on the way to Singapore. Pre-covid, my role meant I was travelling every often to visit with airlines or going to meetings at Airbus in Europe or Boeing in the US. There are so many things that I’ve always loved about my job, the places it’s taken me to and the people I’ve met. I miss meeting with customers in person.
A key highlight was being able to take Mum and Dad on a trip to the Boeing factory in Everett, USA. On another occasion, I remember hopping on a plane that had our furniture on when you first boarded the aircraft. I was following a man with his young son and heard the son say to his father, “Dad, this plane is cool” and I had a little smile on my face knowing we’d contributed somehow to that experience.
My passion is travel, I also love learning new things. As travel has been complicated for the past couple of years, the learning new things aspect has filled the void. I’ve started pottery and water colour painting. A few years ago I did my Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. This year I’ve added to that by becoming certified in Yin Yoga as well as Breathwork and Meditation. I’m currently studying for exams and doing my teaching hours to become certified as a Pilates Mat and Reformer Teacher. Hopefully travel resumes soon so that I can read more novels instead of textbooks. Other than that, I love being active outdoors, swimming is my solace and my guilty pleasure is watching Nordic Noir tv shows. Being involved in Te Hokioi kapa haka roopu and the Kiwi Events Hong Kong team also keeps me busy and grounded.
I love living in Hong Kong, in fact I think I should be on some kind of bonus scheme for the Hong Kong Tourism Board as a walking billboard. The quality of people you meet in Hong Kong is amazing. Everyone is doing something interesting and taking full advantage of life’s opportunities. Then there’s the food! From my local dim sum place to weekend brunches, it’s all delicious. Hong Kong is a juxtaposition of old and new, east and west, a vibrant paradox.
I'm a Wellingtonian. My family moved to New Zealand from Hong Kong after I was born, and we settled in Wellington where my dad took a role as a sports journalist for the Dominion. I grew up in Karori, went to Samuel Marsden and then Victoria University.
I moved to Hong Kong nine years ago for a change of lifestyle and for bigger career opportunities! Originally, I didn't intend to stay in Hong Kong for too long, but after getting over the initial shock of living and working in Asia, I felt pretty settled and the years have flown by!
I'm a Director at KPMG in the Asset Management and Private Equity tax team and I specialise in deals and transactions.
I mainly work with a number of private equity clients and international corporations that are looking to invest in the region. I also work with local and Chinese asset managers / private equity clients that want to invest abroad. I also advise clients on setting up funds in in the region.
I met my husband Andrew in Hong Kong. Andrew was born and raised in Sydney, but like me, he also has extended family that are based in Hong Kong.
Currently, it is just the two of us and our dachshund puppy, enjoying sunny Pok Fu Lam. We've been spending the last 2.5 years re-discovering Hong Kong - hiking, staycations, beaches and lots of dining out. I love entertaining, so we've had plenty of our friends over for cocktails and meals over the past 2.5 years.
In better times, we both love travelling so we'd normally be trying to pack in as much travel as the public holidays allow, or checking out all the fabulous international events that are held in Hong Kong
What I liked about living in Hong Kong is the diversity of culture, and the fact that is was such an international and dynamic city that attracts people from all over the world.
The career opportunities and the fabulous lifestyle is second to none, and there is really no place like it. Hong Kong is home to us now, and I really hope that Hong Kong doesn't lose it's international financial centre status, and that the charm of Hong Kong returns in 2022.
I was raised in Dunedin, where I went to University as well (go the Highlanders!).
I've been in Hong Kong for almost four years now. I originally planned to stay for two, but as seems to be the case with most people, still love living here and consider Hong Kong home for now.
I am the Senior Manager of Brand and Communications at the Hong Kong Rugby Union and for the world-famous Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
My day to day role normally revolves around the brand management, social media strategy, and sponsor relationship management for all of the HKRU properties, including the Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation, National Teams, Premiership Rugby and our associated events.
It's been very challenging without being able to play a lot of rugby or host our flagship HK7s event, but I am super proud of what our team has been able to achieve during this time - and I absolutely cannot wait to welcome everyone back to the iconic Hong Kong Stadium.
My partner and I adopted a giant puppy from a great shelter in Hong Kong called Catherine's Puppies, so I spend a lot of time with him out and about on the trails and beaches scattered around the islands.
Alternatively I love to eat at all the amazing restaurants Hong Kong has to offer - TMK in Sheung Wan or Sun Hing dim sum in Kennedy Town are particular favourites. I haven't been able to see my family for a number of years now, so I would love them to come and visit soon so I can take my niece to Disneyland and host my Dad at the Sevens.
I love that there are so many different things to experience in such close proximity - you could be at the top of a mountain hiking and having a world-class cocktail within the space of an hour. I also love how friendly and welcoming the community is. I've made some incredible friends and met so many interesting people here.
I came to Hong Kong when I was three in 1970. My dad, like many other antipodean lawyers, was recruited to (what was then) the prosecutions division of the legal department, but after a few years set out on his own and founded his own law firm.
My mum set up a ballet school here in the old Repulse Bay Hotel. I attended school here and then went to Canterbury to University where I met my husband, Will Hayward.
Since then, I have been mainly based in Hong Kong though we have worked in Australia and New Zealand at various times.
I worked for many years as a criminal lawyer, with a little human rights law added in as well. I now teach part time for the PCLL course at HKU.
I also run a small stall (Black Cat Badges) with children’s jewellery and badge making at the Handmade Hong Kong fairs in Discovery Bay every month.
My main passion however lies in macro photography and that has led me to also volunteer twice a week as a tour guide at the Museum of Biodiversity at HKU.
I spend a lot of time out in the country parks chasing spiders and insects around. If you want to check out my photos, you can see them on Instagram @haldanesasha
I have two children - Max just started his first year at Auckland Uni and seems to be really enjoying it. Alyssa is doing her GCSEs here and is also a passionate dancer. They were both born in Hong Kong, though also spent some time living in Auckland and going to school there, so have great connections to both cities.
In what little spare time I have left I also sing with the Hong Kong Women's choir - all the gigs and concerts we do have the aim of raising money for charity, and this year we are supporting RUNHK, who assist refugee women and their families.
I love living here as it has been my home for many years, and I have a lot of great friends still here.
I have ties from being here at school and working here and I love how easy it is to connect with new communities, such as though my photography and singing. But I also love the fact that in Hong Kong, I can go down the hill to the markets, shops and restaurants and the bustle of people, the colour and noise; or go up the hill and be in the peace of the country parks in minutes.
Many people don't realise just how diverse Hong Kong is and how easy it is to get to amazing trails and beaches, and experience the tremendous biodiversity we have here.
I grew up in Otautahi/Christchurch and more recently spent three-and-a-half years in Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland. I moved to Hong Kong in 1999 and have been here most of the time since.
I'm a university academic, with expertise in Psychology. Since 2017 I've been a Faculty Dean, which means running a series of Departments, first at the University of Hong Kong but recently I moved to Lingnan University in Tuen Mun.
My title is Dean of Social Sciences, so I lead Departments like Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, and Politics. At HKU I also managed the Journalism and Media Studies Centre.
At Lingnan we have Economics in our Faculty. I love the diversity of all these disciplines and needing to step out of the comfort zone of my own expertise to learn about other areas.
Having senior roles at universities in the last three years has been very challenging with the social unrest and then COVID-19. The occupation of HKU in the social unrest of 2019 was certainly memorable; along with my fellow Deans I spent the week on campus engaging with the protesters and the police to help keep temperatures cool. In the end, we had a peaceful end to the occupation, which was an incredible relief.
We have strong family ties to Hong Kong since my wife (Sasha Haldane) moved here as a child and attended ESF schools; her father (Warwick Haldane) set up Haldanes law firm and her mother (Denise Haldane) ran a ballet school at Repulse Bay. Our kids Max (now Year 1 student at Auckland Uni) and Alyssa (Year 11 student at South Island School) were both born here and grew up in Hong Kong except for a few years in Auckland.
I spend my free time running Hong Kong's trails in our great country parks - they are such an incredible resource for the city and we're lucky to have nature so accessible.
Hong Kong has been through some massive challenges in recent years, and they will continue. But what keeps me in Hong Kong is the people - I love the people I meet here, both the local Hong Kongers and the internationals - it's a very open place and one where you can make new friends easily and develop new professional networks.
I also love the physical environment. I've run trails over every part of Hong Kong, and there are some incredible places that feel very remote but are relatively accessible.
And, of course, it's hard to beat the food!
I am from Marton in the Rangitikei District and have been based in Hong Kong for 5½ years.
I am a veterinary pathologist and director of a Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at City University in Kowloon Tong.
As laboratory director, I manage a team of 22 technologists, scientists, veterinarians and support staff while also contributing to diagnostics. We receive animal samples from veterinarians throughout Hong Kong from a wide range of species, including mostly cats and dogs, but also pigs, poultry, fish, horses, zoo animals and wildlife.
As a pathologist, I mostly look down the microscope at the samples and make a diagnosis about what the problem is, so the veterinarian can treat the animals. I also undertake post mortem examinations, assist with university research projects and teach pathology to the veterinary students in the new veterinary programme at City University.
The most memorable project was establishing the laboratory from scratch. When we arrived in 2016, there was no laboratory. It had to be built, fitted out and staffed, and I led this project.
My wife, Lynne and I both came to Hong Kong. Our family of three adult sons and their partners are all established in their careers and live in Palmerston North.
My hobbies are centred around music, learning Cantonese, photography and hiking. I have played guitar for nearly 50 years and still play most days. My guitar collection has expanded in Hong Kong and now also includes a guqin, a 7 string Chinese instrument you can hear as background music in the gardens at the Chi Lin Monastery. I particularly enjoy the deep sound of this instrument.
I enjoy learning languages and have a goal of learning to have basic conversations in Cantonese.
When out and about, I always carry a camera and capture images portraying all the varieties of Hong Kong life and scenery.
My hiking goal is to climb all 130 peaks over 300 metres high in Hong Kong. So far, I've summited 119.
So many people living in such a small space in a 3D environment fascinates me. The efficiency of the MTR, the ease of getting from place to place and always feeling safe, no matter what time of day or night are features I value and a tribute to the the people here.
And the food choices. As a veterinarian, I am familiar with most parts of the animal body. Here in Hong Kong we get to eat every part of them!
Professor Christina Hong
I'm a second generation New Zealand-born Kiwi of Cantonese descent. My great-grandfather arrived in New Zealand on the passenger ship 'Mararoa' back in 1896.
I was born in Palmerston North (Palmy), shifted to Taranaki when my Dad bought a dental practice in Hawera and lived there during my primary school years, before the family moved back to Palmy for my intermediate and high school years and then undergraduate studies at Massey University.
I've been in the education sector throughout my professional career and have been fortunate to live and work in Wellington then Auckland (with spells in Europe for the Big OE and then the USA for post-graduate studies) before relocating across the ditch to Queensland (Brisbane) in 2009 and then to Hong Kong in 2017.
While my career has taken me many places, Aotearoa New Zealand is still very much the place I refer to as 'home'. My parents still live in Palmy and I have siblings in Wellington and Auckland (and New York).
I'm President of the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, aka THEi Hong Kong.
THEi is a higher education provider at the apex of the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council's value chain. We offer 21-honours degrees across the STEM, Creative Industries, Technology, Sustainability, Built Environment and Services sectors.
Our tagline, 'Work Ready, Future Ready Professionals' means that our programmes are strongly industry aligned, require work integrated learning (WIL) and use authentic project-based learning approaches. As a result our graduate employment rate is consistently high. The graduating Class of 2021 returned an employment rate of 95%.
I have loved coming to know and work with local companies and professional networks both in Hong Kong and internationally as THEi programmes have developed. I also have a particular interest in education for workforce futures, contributing to the global higher education eco-system, and advancing digital learning transformation.
Recent years have certainly been challenging for higher education sector institutions in Hong Kong, but it has also provided unexpected learning transformation as a result of disruption and right now, there's much talk about the need to rethink, reimage and reset education to meet the increasing demands of technology-driven workplaces in the post-COVID 'next normal'.
Others have said it before. The late Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and storyteller once said, 'Hong Kong is a wonderful, mixed up town where you've got great food and adventure'.
Hong Kong is indeed very 'mixed up' - and wonderfully so! The dichotomies and contradictions are unique, intriguing and palpable. The food is amazing, whether it's at a street 'dai pai dong' with great 'wok hei' dishes or at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
As for adventure, absolutely! I've met great people who work hard but also know how to enjoy life. I love walking through the streets with Hong Kong locals, discovering the 'real Hong Kong', hearing their stories about growing up in the neighbourhood and finding 'hidden gems' in unexpected places. Or exploring areas on and off the beaten track with fellow non-locals.
I've also come to appreciate the great country parks, the outlying islands, the beaches, heritage museums, galleries, shopping, the sometimes quirky co-existence of the old and the new, and of course, the efficiency of the MTR!
I was raised in a beautiful part of Auckland called Half Moon Bay. I also had a fantastic opportunity to complete my law degree in the mighty Waikato.
I am fortunate to have spent a significant amount of time in Hong Kong growing up, as my father has been running his law practice here for over 40 years. I also completed a Postgraduate Degree in Law (PCLL) at the City University of Hong Kong. Cumulatively, I have spent over 15 years here and have recently relocated back again six months ago.
I currently work with Summit Financial, Partner Practice of St. James's Place, a FTSE100 company. As a Consultant, I am in the process of working towards formal accreditation to become a Financial Advisor.
Prior to joining Summit in Hong Kong, I spent a number of years working in various roles with one of New Zealand's largest banks, followed by a position as General Manager at a specialist mortgage brokerage.
While my tenure at Summit is still short, having started in the role only four months ago, it has allowed me to pursue an area I have always been passionate about. I enjoy helping people via frank, yet sincere conversations. I pride myself in building long-term relationships and providing quality advice, while ensuring clients strive towards their financial goals.
I do not have children just yet but have been together with my partner for over five years. In addition, both my father and brother along with his family also reside in the city.
With a highly competitive personality, I have relished playing and competing in a variety of sports growing up, including rugby and cricket, where I have achieved representative status at junior levels respectively. Prior to injuries I also enjoyed playing rugby for Valley RFC here in Hong Kong. While golf is more my pace these days, I continue to enjoy frequenting the gym and can often be found hiking one of Hong Kong's many trails enroute to a watering hole.
The energy here speaks for itself, there's a unique buzz to the city. With a plethora of wonderful food options, the culture is vibrant, and the skyline is stunning.
What many also don't get to see outside of the concrete jungle is the amazing variety of hiking trails and the diverse range of activities on offer. A day out on a junk boat with friends is hard to beat.
It’s a little bit complicated; I am an Italian born New Zealander of Irish descent married to a lovely Japanese woman. I have lived in Hong Kong since January 1995 .
I was born in Rome, Italy, in 1967 whilst my Father was doing research for a Doctorate. Mum had bravely agreed to accompany him from Auckland despite the fact that she was seven months’ pregnant.
Dad was a lecturer at Auckland University and he was on a research trip to Rome to study the history of the Catholic Marist Fathers in the Pacific. Young Marist missionaries in the Pacific had been in the habit of sending letters back to the Marist archives in Rome, and Dad sifted through the old letters for material for his writings and lecturing.
I have three sisters and we all grew up in Auckland and in Canberra, the Australian component being due to regular sabbatical trips by Dad to the Australian National University for more research about war and peace in the Pacific. We also had extended stays in Suva whilst dad ferreted through the records at the University of the South Pacific.
Despite those periods outside of New Zealand I am a Northcote boy from Auckland. My mother still lives in Auckland, and has recently retired from being a barrister .
I qualified as a lawyer in Auckland in 1990 and then went travelling in September 1994 intending to have an OE in London, see Europe, and then go home after a couple of years. However when my best friend and I arrived in Hong Kong for a five day stopover on the way north I decided that Hong Kong deserved a closer look. As a result I have been practising law here since 1995 and I now manage the Hong Kong office of an English commercial law firm, Hill Dickinson.
Much of my time these days is spent dealing with office administration and management matters. I enjoy the challenge of that, and of trying to building a more sophisticated and profitable business year on year. However, being a disputes lawyer myself, it is not as euphoric as winning in Court or in an arbitration.
I have handled a wide range of interesting commercial disputes over the years; high value shareholder disputes, international trade and shipping matters, and plenty of debt recovery and insolvency matters. However, even though I now manage a commercial law firm, the cases that are the most personally memorable tend to be some of my earlier ones in Hong Kong when I was regularly handling Plaintiff personal injury work. For obvious reasons though, they did not have happy fact patterns.
For example, I represented a policeman and successfully sued the Hong Kong Police Department after my client was sent into an unsafe work situation and shot execution-style by armed thieves as a result. My client survived despite being shot in the head at close range. We sued the Police Department for not providing adequate information about the known risks of that particular assignment, and we ultimately settled the matter following a hearing in the Court of Appeal. The Police Department then very decently kept my client on in a lecturing role. I have also successfully sued a major European airline following a mass fatality incident in 1994 after an unqualified 16 year old boy was permitted to take over an aircraft’s cockpit controls. I acted for the families of Hong Kong businessmen who perished amongst the 75 who died. Another case I was involved with resulted in another settlement and in improvements to the lighting of the pedestrian pontoons at the old Discovery Bay Marina after a fatality there following a social gathering on board a live-aboard junk.
These days my personal caseload of disputes work is almost all commercial and most of it is resolved by way of arbitration rather than litigation in Court. I also sit as an arbitrator from time to time.
Others in the office handle corporate and transactional work, insolvency, insurance and regulatory work, international trade and transport disputes, construction, and property and probate work. So I still have exposure to a wide range of legal work which is both challenging and enjoyable.
I married late in life at the age of 44 and I now have nine year old twins, Maria and William. We are regular hikers in the weekend and the kids get a special kick out of hiking The Twins, which they first did when they were four years old. When the squash courts are open I also enjoy playing squash.
My wife, Junko, and I also jog together - with the kids sometimes grumbling along behind. It’s good training for their Sunday morning mini rugby.
The wide range of restaurants, the plentiful hiking trails, and the ease of socialising with friends and colleagues are big draws. Playing Masters squash in the public leagues I get to meet a very wide variety of people who I would never otherwise interact with were it not for the extremely well organised leagues run by Hong Kong Squash.
The ability to travel easily for business and pleasure, into China and regionally, is of course also (in normal times) a huge draw.
Leisure aside, I like the diversity and quality of legal work available in Hong Kong and I enjoy seeing junior lawyers that I have worked with and trained flourish.
Born in Wellington. I managed to spend early years in Whangarei, Foxton and Palmerston North, before returning to Wellington, prior to coming to Hong Kong in October,
Helping people to generate awareness about how they can be even more successful in their roles at work. I am a facilitator through CFT Asia and also run a business certifying people in the use of DISC profiles around the Asia and Pacific region.
I’ve been fortunate to be involved in people development through out my career in Hong Kong, first in sports management and coaching and then through corporate facilitation and coaching. My role is to help people identify how they can successfully manage themselves to have a positive influence on the interactions they have at work. This often involves developing team work, individual capabilities and approaches to leading others. I’ve been lucky enough to work with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. This is always particularly rewarding as it involves working with NZTE to become even more effective at assisting New Zealand businesses to create opportunities for bringing New Zealand offerings to Asia. As a Kiwi, it feels good to be able to contribute to this.
My family are now back in New Zealand, enjoying the experiences unique to Kiwi life style. I travel back and forth and while I’m here in Hong Kong I spend weekends making the most of Hong Kong trails and playing hockey for the Valley Rugby Football Club. Being able to make the most of the outdoor experiences that Hong Kong offers is a welcome change from the corporate environment I’m in during the week.
The buzz, intensity and opportunities that Hong Kong offer both at work and play are unique and a big contrast to New Zealand. I enjoy leaving Hong Kong, being able to dial down and then returning, dialling up and enjoying all that this great city has to offer.