Thursday, July 26, 2007

Unfolding History, Evolving Identity

Unfolding History, Evolving Identity THE CHINESE IN NEW ZEALAND
edited by MANYING IP
The Chinese have since the 1860s been the largest non-European and non-Polynesian ethnic group in New Zealand. A visible minority, they did not fit into the colonial image of a 'better Britain' and were harshly excluded from political discourse, socially marginalised and often victimised. Unfolding History, Evolving Identity provides a comprehensive overview of the history and experience of the Chinese in New Zealand up to the present day. The contributors offer different perspectives according to their expertise or according to their background. Topics range from the Chinese on the goldfields to a study of Wellington's 'Chinatown' to studies of settler families; later chapters study aspects of recent Chinese immigration such as transnationalism and the underemployment of skilled people; a final section discusses political strategies adopted by the Chinese, including an analysis of the search for an apology for the wrongs inflicted by the historical poll tax.
Fascinating reading, this very topical book also provides much fruit for reflection in a society proud of its devotion to egalitarianism.
Unfolding History, Evolving Identity was launched by the Rt Hon Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, on 28 March 2003.

Eating Pork'n'puha With Chopsticks

Eating Pork'n'puha With ChopsticksTuesday, 17 July 2007, 11:25 amPress Release: Maori TV PUBLICITY RELEASE TUESDAY JULY 17 2007
Eating Pork'n'puha With Chopsticks - On Maori Television
The story of New Zealand's unique Maori-Chinese community through the experiences of one Auckland family is the subject of a new documentary, EATING PORK'N'PUHA WITH CHOPSTICKS, screening on Maori Television for the first time.
The hour-long film - headlining the New Zealand Documentary slot, Pakipumeka Aotearoa, on Wednesday August 1 at 8.30 PM - is produced by Coromandel-based Freckle Films Limited.
Director and executive producer Alison Carter says the documentary follows three generations of the Lee family with the story beginning in the market gardens of South Auckland in the 1920s.
As well as featuring footage of trips back to China, the Lee family share with viewers what it is like to be both Chinese and Maori - when the Maori treat you as Chinese, the Chinese treat you as Maori, and Pakeha do not know what you are.
EATING PORK'N'PUHA WITH CHOPSTICKS examines questions of identity and racism, and illustrates the shared values and differences between the two races, Carter explains.
"By following an extended family through the stories of three generations, we look at what it meant to be Chinese Maori in the past and what it means today.
"The documentary focuses not only on their struggle to cope with their dual identity but on the positive things they share as cultures, strong family ties, respect for elders, the honouring of the dead, and manaakitanga.
"It provides a rich story of a people who although not large in number have played a special part in New Zealand's history."
EATING PORK'N'PUHA WITH CHOPSTICKS screens in Maori Television's New Zealand Documentary slot, Pakipumeka Aotearoa, on Wednesday August 1 at 8.30 PM.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Body of Lonely Planet writer found on Chinese mountain

Body of Lonely Planet writer found on Chinese mountain
3:37PM Wednesday July 25, 2007
SYDNEY- One of Lonely Planet's most experienced travel writers, Clem Lindenmayer, has been found dead on a Chinese mountainside, three months after he was reported missing.
Mr Lindenmayer, 47, had set out to climb Mount Gongga, in a remote area of south-west China, telling his family that he expected to complete a circuit in six days.
When they failed to hear from him, his relatives posted messages on travellers' websites.
China's official Xinhua news agency reported that villagers found his body last Thursday.
The Australian-born writer had been based in Switzerland "on and off" for nearly 20 years, according to Lonely Planet.
He was not on assignment for the guide book publisher in China, but the company had said that it was aware of the situation and was in touch with his family.
Mr Lindenmayer, author of Trekking in the Patagonian Andes, published in 2003, and Walking in Switzerland, was a highly experienced hiker who had undertaken many similar treks.

His family last heard from him on May 2, when he emailed his wife from Kangding to tell her that he was preparing to hike around the nearby mountain range, in Sichuan province.
Mount Gongga, also known as Minya Konka, is the highest in the area, with more than 20 peaks above 6,000m and a 7,556m-high summit.
The mountain range, situated in a rugged region that was once part of Tibet, is said to be notoriously dangerous for climbers.
More than 20 people have died trying to scale Mount Gongga since 1957, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Only twenty-four have reached the peak.
Mr Lindenmayer's family became alarmed when they had not heard from him by the end of May.
One of his relatives posted a missing notice on Thorn Tree, a Lonely Planet internet forum.
She described him as "a 47-year-old, very fit Australian male with a ready smile", and "a seasoned traveller with many years trekking experience".
As fears grew for his safety, the family offered a reward for information that could help locate him.
It was advertised on numerous websites.
Early last month his brother, Peter, and nephew, Tim, left Australia for China, to conduct their own search for him.
His father, Graeme, said: "He was going to go for a walk for about six days around the mountain ..
he was just going to do what was a pretty standard hike." He added: "It's known to be a trip where you need experience and common sense before you undertake it. This area is an extension of the Himalayas."
According to Xinhua, rescuers searching for Mr Lindenmayer had earlier found a body believed to be that of a Japanese mountaineer who disappeared 26 years ago.
Mr Lindenmayer, who was from Melbourne and spoke Mandarin, German and Spanish, had written for Lonely Planet for more than a decade.
In addition to the two books that he researched and wrote, he had helped to update guides to China, Malaysia, Germany and Sweden.
Lonely Planet said he had "developed a special affection for the Swiss Alps".
His mother told Australian Associated Press that she had been told of the discovery of his body - at Riwuqie Peak, 4,600m above sea level - last weekend.
The ABC reported that he would be cremated on the mountain where he was found, and his ashes brought back to Australia.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Four extracts from a novel in Sport 23: Spring 1999

Alison Wong
Four extracts from a novel
The Wife
Red Silk
When a woman is young, she follows her father When she marries, she follows her husband And when she is old, she follows her son.
My father was a shipbuilder and his father before him. They built the large riverboats that plied the Pearl River with their cargoes of salt, and the seafaring junks that sailed from Canton to Amoy and Formosa. My father had three hundred men who worked in his yards, and we lived in a red-columned mansion in the eastern hills of Canton.
Father was an enlightened man. Although I was only a daughter, he made sure I was educated, almost like a son. We had a private tutor who taught us calligraphy, painting and poetry. I read the Five Classics, the Four Books, the Book of Filial Piety. And I dreamed of Muk Lan, the daughter who dressed as a man and saved her father from battle.
But I never wore the clothes of a man. I could not go out like my brothers, to watch the street theatre, or sit in tea-houses with pearl-faced women—the red dust of their cheeks, their lips painted rose-bud vermilion. Sometimes I'd go out in a sedan chair and watch the world from behind its curtains, but mostly I stayed at home, reading The Dream of the Red Chamber, Journey to the West, or doing needlework.
I was a good girl, respectable. Until I was fifteen, no one outside of the family knew of my existence. Then my father's elder sister arranged my marriage. She enquired after all the good families with eligible sons. There was the eldest son of Magistrate Chew, but although his father was known as a fair man, the son was renowned for his foul temper and lack of respect for the ancestors. There was the second son of the Lees, the wealthiest family in Canton—ah, but he was a spendthrift and a gambler. There was the third son of the Kwoks, who had a thriving silk business, but he was born with not enough breath—they say he had beautiful blue-white skin, a gentle man waiting to expire.

Read the rest of the extracts -

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Alison Wong - Radio Interview July 2007

Lynn Freeman, of Radio NZ National's Arts on Sunday programme,interviewed me today together with Laura Kroetsch (Montana Poetry Dayorganiser) & Renee (playwright, fiction writer, and now poet) and it'llbe broadcast on Sun about 2:30pm or 2:35pm. It's pretty much aboutwhat's happening on Montana Poetry Day around the country - nothinglike what I was expecting - it was originally going to be with James Brown (finalist in main Poetry category at the Montanas) but he's Playing Favourites with Kim Hill on Sat morning so they suddenly changed it all and I didn't know until I walked into the studio. I get to read apoem tho'.The interview will be available online for a month



Sunday, July 15, 2007

In the money

  • :00AM Sunday July 15, 2007By Suzanne McFadden

    When real estate mogul Don Ha achieves a goal, he sets another one, then achieves that. When he wanted to know what it was like to spend $2 million on a horse, thats what he did.
    Don Ha shimmies beneath the imposing square jaw of DH Ruler, wary of the horse's power. It's one of the rare situations where Ha doesn't feel in control.
    "They're big animals, eh?" he says, in his slightly nervous Kiwi-Asian cadence.
    "Just pull his head up, Don. Show him who's boss," says Ha's private racing trainer, Grayson Shirley, a master with a horse. Doesn't DH Ruler (stable name Nigel) know who pays for his food and luxury board here?
    The 3-year-old chestnut gelding has the privilege of living on this 14ha rolling green paradise at Pukekohe which Ha, a millionaire real estate mogul and property developer, bought last year. He has transformed it from a grazing block into a horse haven with 1.5km of stained wood rail fences, gleaming steel farm gates and motel-like stables.
    Ha would like to hang a sign at the gate welcoming visitors to Don Ha's Playground. This is his retreat, where he comes up to three times a week, sometimes with his two young daughters, to escape office pressure.
    The impressive stables are a far cry from the mines of North Vietnam, the gutters of Hong Kong and the refugee centre in Mangere where Ha once lived: the man who hit the headlines earlier this year, casually forking out a record $2 million for the first Zabeel-Sunline colt, lives a genuine rags-to-riches story, and it is barely 39 years long.
    The offices of Don Ha Ray White are not a jot ostentatious, squeezed between the bakeries, fruit and vegetables, and office supplies of back-street Manukau.
    Ha's own office has no view; instead there are photos of family and horses leaning against the wall. Wearing a plain uniform of sky blue shirt and dark blue tie, he pokes at his battered BlackBerry. You could be fooled by the office worker look.
    Real estate awards on the wall reveal the true picture. From the 2006 Ray White national awards: No 1 Auckland office, No 2 national office, No 2 supreme salesman - Don Ha. And the personal honour Ha seems most proud of: No 2 in the Ray White international leadership awards, 2005.
    Success is spelled out in a company memo on his desk. In May this year, the Manukau branch fell just short of breaking the company's record for the month's sales. Ha's agents sold $31.9 million of properties that month and they claimed top growth in the country.
    "Not bad for an area where the average house price is $290,000, eh?" says Ha, his chest inflating with pride. "It's just amazing, overwhelming."
    Even though Ha is the branch manager and franchise owner, it hasn't hampered his sales record: he is still the No 2 Ray White salesperson in the country. He makes no secret of wanting to dislodge the company's leading agent for the last three years, Kingsland's Lesley Hawes.
    "You have to have goals. If you don't have a goal, how can you achieve it?"
    There have always been goals, since the skills of this savvy salesman were cultivated as an 8-year-old, living in a refugee camp in Hong Kong. Ha's family was given cans of European food - mutton, corned beef and sardines - to live on, so his mother sent him and the cans into the streets.
    "I would sit in the sun under an umbrella all day, and sell the cans for $2 apiece. On my way home, I bought Asian vegetables that my mother cooked for our dinner." He laughs long and loud. "I guess my Mum was my sales trainer."
    When the Ha family - parents and seven children - came to New Zealand as refugees in 1977, Don continued in trade, picking watercress from the Onehunga spring on his way to school and selling it to shop owners for 99c a bunch.
    "I was selling 100 bunches a week. It was a great business until the council cleaned the spring out. I was devastated," he says.
    Ha's family opened the first in a string of south Auckland bakeries in 1984, but Don was determined he wouldn't work in one. He wanted to succeed on his own, and imported shoes and belts from Asia, then sold shoes for an importer to factory workers. But he was too successful for his own good: "There were quotas - you could only import 50,000 pairs of shoes, and I filled his quota so fast, he put me out of business."
    Ha relented and opened the Saigon Bakery in Mt Roskill in 1991. That, he says, was truly hard work - 72-hour weeks starting before dawn, six days a week.
    The profit was meagre, but Ha poured any into property. Warwick James, a salesman with the Professionals company, sold him one of his first houses - a $40,000 home in Takanini, James recalls.
    "I asked him if he wanted to make some more bread; would he consider joining the real estate industry? He was immediately interested," James says.
    Ha was attracted by the commission - he could make the same money selling a $95,000 house as he could baking 1500 French sticks.
    Ha struck a deal with James - if he coached him to pass the correspondence sales course, Ha promised to become his No 1 salesman. Every Monday, on his only day off from the bakery, Ha would go to James' Papatoetoe office and study.
    "It was on the clear understanding he had to write his own answers," James says. "He would regularly stay till midnight. He understood the principles, but it was a hard proposition getting it down on paper."
    Ha struggled with English. He started school in New Zealand at Std 4 without knowing a word of the language - kids taught the naive Ha to curse like a sailor, and "I'd come home and swear at my mum".
    He repeatedly failed the real estate course. "When you're in a bakery you know how to spell doughnut and lamington," he says. But he stuck with it, "as only Don could", says James, and after three months, passed the exam.
    Ha sold his bakery, at half its valuation, to sell houses in James' office in 1994. His mother cried the day he sold the bakery: "My parents had a strong work ethic, but they didn't support risk."
    He soon discovered it wasn't easy going to work in a suit. "There was a lot of anti-Asian sentiment around. I had walked into an office with a lot of Europeans, and I was really shy. I didn't ask anyone for assistance," he says.
    "In my first month I sold a house, and no one said anything to me, so I thought 'maybe I'm not good enough'. The next month, I sold three. Still no one said anything. But I decided to just keep going."
    By the end of his first year, he had sold 86 houses - $10.6 million of sales - and won Rookie of the Year for the Professionals. He paid back his promise. "That's when I knew I was good," Ha says.
    James describes Ha as someone who could walk the talk. "His energy and enthusiasm influenced everyone he was associated with. He wasn't afraid to work seven days a week, and he was often showing people houses late at night," James says.
    "He would never put off till tomorrow what he could do today, and he'd follow that religiously. Providing that faster service was a major factor in his success."
    It wasn't enough for Ha, who wanted to double his success the next year.
    "And believe it or not, I did it, and I've done it every year since," he says.
    There is something overwhelming about Don Ha - he seems constantly in awe of his prosperity. He peppers words like amazing, incredible and unbelievable throughout our conversations about his success - as if he can't fathom it's happened to him.
    After 10 years with the Professionals, Ha was headhunted by rivals Ray White to open his own franchise in Manukau. He had outgrown where he was, but he was a stickler for loyalty.
    "That was a very hard decision to make - loyalty is very important in my life. At the end of the day, I asked myself: 'What is best for you, your family and your future?' Then it was clear, it was the best thing for me to do, and it was the best thing that happened to me in my career."
    The branch office wasn't ready when Ha was, so he and his four staff worked out of McCafes for a few months. "One day we had five different customers at five different tables. I told my staff to remember these times; these will be our best memories."
    Ha's success is not limited to selling houses - he buys and builds them as well. And working in real estate has helped him achieve other goals - he develops subdivisions and owns a construction company. Then there is his growing interest in horse racing, and a sideline in mentoring, motivational speaking and writing books.
    He won't divulge how many properties he owns, except to say: "I buy more houses than shoes. It's actually harder to buy shoes than houses and I'm a mad shoe person."
    He rents out the houses; some are in rent-to-buy agreements. He only buys houses in south Auckland, because that's what he knows and lives.
    "Sometimes I'll be at one of my developments, and there will be four of us in the car, and collectively well own 140 houses," Ha says.
    He has encouraged all of his family - all still live in Auckland - to invest in property, and he does the same with the more than 70 people who work with him in the office (he refuses to say they work for him, and "boss" is like one of those swear words he learnt at school).
    Seven years ago, Levani Lum-On was slaving over a hot stove, working as a chef with one of Ha's brothers-in-law.
    "When I met Don he told me to buy 10 houses. I bought two, and six months later, the market in that area went through the roof. He told me I had missed out on a million dollars just like that," Lum-On says.
    "From then on, I listened to him 100 per cent. I was buying that much property off him, and sending so many friends and family to Don, he told me I should be selling to them. So I went to work with him. I now make in a month what I used to in a year."
    Lum-On, one of the top salesmen at the Manukau office, dreamt of owning 30 houses - he says he's exceeded that in only four years. He owns five racehorses, as well as shares in the Zabeel-Sunline colt, which Ha offered to some of his employees.
    Lum-On calls Ha "a good mate", who's happy to tag along to the pub with his work colleagues even though he doesn't drink.
    "I've learned so much from him. He's very competitive and obviously likes a challenge, but he loves making it fun. A lot of people have a couple of million in the bank and they're miserable. When we all go out, we spend heaps of cash and have a great time. I think that motivates you to make more."
    Lum-On is but one of Ha's proteges. To Ha, sharing his knowledge on becoming rich is just as important as being wealthy. He sees every client as a potential millionaire even if they're buying their first home. It's how he started in this business, but it's also part of his way of giving back to the community which adopted him and his family.
    He encourages and coaches people who never thought they'd be able to scratch together a deposit, putting them on saving regimes or rent-to-buy schemes.
    "Sometimes I move families into garages for three months to get them to save. No one else wants to know them. They are so grateful. It's quite emotional when you meet a client you helped to buy their first house, and now it's worth five times more.
    "They're now buying their third or fourth house for their families. I'm selling to the next generation."
    Ha credits his parents for his work ethic and honesty. He knows little about where he came from or what his parents did before they fled their war-ravaged homeland of North Vietnam.
    "It's sad I don't remember much about where I came from. I know my father was a miner. Having seven kids, he wouldn't eat during the day; he brought his food allowance home to feed us.
    "I have great respect for him, especially now I have my own kids."
    The Ha family - Don is the second youngest of five boys and two girls - spent a year in Hong Kong waiting to be relocated in the refugee programme. The quotas for every country were filled except New Zealand.
    "We had no choice but to come here, Ha says. I think now, regardless of where I ended up, the person I am was always determined to make it. How far I would have gone living somewhere else, I don't know.
    "But we have been more than happy here. It has been a great opportunity for us."
    Ha admits feeling alienated throughout his school years in Auckland - Ferguson Intermediate and Hillary College - trying to grasp the language, wearing trousers instead of shorts because he was too shy. Although he was a fast learner, English became more difficult at secondary school.
    "I passed School C - I did OK at maths, because I didn't need English to read numbers, but my accounting was terrible. I just passed, and so I paid my $8 for a recount, and it came back failed. Since then I learned if you pass, just keep your mouth shut," he giggles in his high-pitched trill.
    Ha gained confidence and a passion for winning through martial arts - he is a black belt and teacher of Kung Fu, and regularly travelled to China to compete.
    Ha thinks his achievements have been rounded out by becoming a parent. He adores his daughters, aged 6 and 3, and calls them his next progression of success. He didn't expect to feel this way.
    "When our first daughter was born, I thought having kids would make you lose money. But it's the opposite. I don't sleep-in anymore - I get up early and read the paper and see opportunities. I ring agents at 6.30am and get in and buy the houses first," Ha laughs.
    "I promised to take them to the beach on a Saturday, so we headed to Cockle Bay; I saw an auction and I bought the house. By having kids, I've made more money.
    "But truly, they are wonderful. I think if you're successful on your own, you don't know the true meaning of it. You have no one to come home to, no rewards to share."
    Already his eldest daughter is showing a predilection for business, advising her father not to buy a potential subdivision in Tauranga.
    "She rang me on my way down in the car, and said, 'Dad, you are making a mistake. There's so much land in Auckland'. I agreed, so I cancelled the contract. I don't think [my children] will be selling houses one day, but I think they will end up running some of my companies."
    Unlike the man who toiled 12-hour days to make a start for himself, Ha now works four days a week, and never the weekends. He's happy fishing off his boat, playing golf or travelling with his wife, Mohini.
    The couple met when she was a tour desk operator at a hotel, and a smitten Don left a note on her desk asking her out. It took her a while to say yes. "But I'm a salesman, I was determined", he laughs.
    "Behind every successful man is a woman, and that's true. She's been an incredible support." A woman so understanding, she never baulked as her husband bid $2 million on a colt that had never seen a racetrack.
    On a subdivision site in south Auckland, Don Ha was talking to a huddle of developers when his phone rang, and he quickly walked off to take the call behind a stand of trees. For three minutes, he hid there, crying.
    "It was my first pet-death experience", Ha recalls of the moment a couple of months ago when one of his best horses had to be put down after breaking his leg in a gallop.
    "I went home and cried for an hour. It hurt. I never thought I would be like that. I never thought I would be so close to an animal."
    This love affair was kindled when Ha was a baker, and a Rarotongan customer gave him a tip on a horse.
    "I put $2 on, and it won $6. See how small I started? Shit, now I go buy a horse for $2 million."
    As his fortune built through property, Ha decided to invest in livestock. "I bought two horses - one I named after my wife, and the other Ten Million, because I was going to get there. The Ten Million horse never got to the track. He was hopeless."
    Last year, he decided to get serious and hired his own horse trainer, the genial Grayson Shirley, who suggested Ha needed a home for his clutch of six horses. They found the perfect piece of land in Pukekohe.
    When the National Yearling Sales at Karaka rolled around in January, Ha already owned 30 horses. But there was another historic buy he was determined to make - the first son born of champions Zabeel and Sunline.
    "The night before, I thought, you know this horse is the first of its kind, it will make history that will never be repeated. If he's good, he will never be that cheap again, either. So I'm washing the dishes at 11pm - I do the dishes every night - and I think, this is a punishment, I need a reward. So I do the dishes to justify buying that horse."
    As the colt was led around the ring, and the bidding passed the $1.5 million reserve, master horseman Sir Patrick Hogan, who prepared the horse for seven months, was reduced to tears. Ha barely blinked an eye as his final bid hit a record $2 million, and then he broke into one of his full-face smiles.
    "I always wanted to know how it felt to spend so much money on a horse. I did, and it feels great. Until the bill comes in."
    Ha was applauded for making a promise to keep the colt, later named Sun Ruler, in New Zealand. It is now being trained by its original owners Trevor and Stephen McKee at Ardmore.
    This new passion has since led to more records - $400,000 for a Zabeel-Myself weanling colt and $825,000 for broodmare Honor Lap at the Bloomsbury Stud sale in May.
    And yet he readily admits he doesn't know much about what he's buying. In fact, he says, if you swapped Sun Ruler, known round the stables as Jonah, for another horse, Ha wouldn't be able to tell.
    "I put my total trust in horse people. But they've all been good people", he says. Shirley is one of those people, and the trust is reciprocal.
    "Don is awesome. He's 10 years younger than me, but I didn't click - I used to look up to him as an elder. He's a good man, a family man, and he's willing to give the best to his horses," Shirley says.
    "He also gives people opportunities - young jockeys and old battlers like myself."
    Horses or houses, Don Ha is giving back.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Opportunities aplenty for NZ firms in Guangdong

00AM Wednesday June 20, 2007By Adam Bennett
It is difficult to imagine anywhere in China where the country's soaring economic growth is more apparent than in Guangdong province in the south.
The province is just across the border from Hong Kong, and the scale of its industry and the speed of its development has merged several cities, including the capital, Guangjhou, into a heavily industrialised and populated smoky megalopolis.
Guangdong has perhaps the longest and deepest history of trade with the rest of the world, something its government takes pride in, and is anxious to develop further.
Most of New Zealand's first Chinese immigrants came from Guangdong, and its government regards Chinese New Zealanders and other overseas Chinese who have their roots in the area as a valuable resource.
Like other provinces, it has an Overseas Chinese Affairs Office to maintain and develop and develop emigrants' links with the area.
Many people who have left in recent years and established themselves in other countries have returned. They have resources in the form of business contacts, knowledge of overseas markets and capital.

Those Chinese who have spent time in New Zealand, often gaining citizenship, before returning to China, can also benefit New Zealand's economy by providing a bridge between two cultures that are often divided by a lack of understanding, says NZ Trade and Enterprise's North Asia regional director, Merv Stark.
For New Zealand companies wanting to do business with Chinese partners, developing that understanding, particularly in the initial stages, can be difficult.
The Chinese language, although not easy for Westerners to learn, is not even the biggest hurdle in developing trust and co-operation.
At best, it is second to the cultural differences.
"In China when people want something, they want it now," says Stark. "As Kiwis, we don't have that sense of urgency about things, but we need to learn to work with that."
Adding to potential pitfalls is what some commentators have called China's "crisis of trust", which is manifested in widespread corruption and is most obviously visible to the casual visitor in the form of spray painted phone numbers on walls in poor neighbourhoods advertising contacts for false documents such as academic qualifications.
That makes the building of strong relationships with Chinese partners all the more crucial, and New Zealand businesses wanting to do business in China would do well to develop a working knowledge of "guanxi".
Guanxi is the dynamic involved in personalised networks of influence. In practical terms, it can mean building mutual respect and trust through a seemingly interminable series of meetings and banquets.
Rising incomes generated by China's booming economy mean the potential market for New Zealand businesses, especially those selling premium products, is huge.
Recent food safety scares have lifted awareness of New Zealand as a "green" producer.
Because New Zealand's business is dominated by small and medium sized companies, Stark says, it makes sense to tackle the Chinese market by banding together to form "clusters".
The 4th China International Small and Medium Enterprise Fair in Guangjhou in September this year gives New Zealand businesses a chance to make initial contact with potential partners in Guangdong.
Applications for exhibitors and buyers will close at the end of next month.