Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The emerging Chinese middle class

Chinese dream: As people pour into the cities, they bring with them millions of dollars worth of growth – and issues such as pollution and overpriced housing. china Lucy Wu, who moved to Shanghai from New Zealand, says she sees in her friends the stress that comes from wanting to succeed. Asia A 500 metre tower is growing out of the park where Lucy Wu, 28, used to catch the ferry across Shanghai's Huangpu River to play on the green grass with her father. When she moved with her family to New Zealand 20 years ago the Pudong area was underdeveloped agriculture land. It is now the heart of Shanghai's financial district and the city's most exclusive neighbourhood. China was once the world's most powerful economy. As late as 1820 China produced a third of the world's GDP. But when it failed to harness the industrial revolution, the West rose and China sank. By 1979 China's share of global economy was around 5 per cent and income per capita was just $260. So Wu's family moved to New Zealand to find more freedom and opportunity. "Twenty years ago, China was a very communist country, it was like North Korea," said Wu with an obvious Kiwi accent. But soon after her family migrated things began to change fast. When China opened to foreign trade and economic reform at the end of the 1970s, a 30-year period of remarkable growth lifted China to the world's second largest economy by 2010. This economic miracle was built on exports. Now, the growth will be fed by domestic consumption as millions of Chinese are lifted out of poverty and thrust into middle class with disposable incomes and aspirations for a happier, healthier life. China is still poor. More than 900 million, mostly rural, people still live on less than $5 a day, according to the World Bank's latest statistics. But for every peasant who moves to the city, there is an immediate injection of around $2000 to the domestic GDP. And with 10 million people moving to cities every year, urbanisation alone adds $2m of growth. China's President Xi Jingping calls this the Chinese Dream. His vision is as hazy as Beijing's sky, but the mission of a moderately prosperous nation by 2020 has captured the imagination of the Chinese people. A demographic whose parents were condemned to poverty can now see a China with stable jobs, good education for their children and a chance to live a more enjoyable life. A T A grubby supermarket half an hour from the bling of central Shanghai you can see the Chinese Dream. On the ground floor, Fonterra saleswomen scan the bone health of customers, customers who are much more likely to suffer from bone disease than their western counterparts. Up the escalator posters of Bond Girl Michelle Yeoh line the walls, selling Anlene, Fonterra's high calcium milk that can help prevent osteoporosis, to people who could never afford dairy in the past. The milk is sold in gift packs, which young, newly affluent, urban Chinese take home to their parents as presents on Chinese New Year. Bakeries are popping up around Chinese cities, the reciprocal version of Asian takeaways stores in the West. "They are all getting wealthier, not just in money sense but in world sense," said Kelvin Wickham, Fonterra China's managing director. Ad Feedback Wu moved back to the pace of Shanghai three years ago to work as business analyst for Fonterra China. "Things I experienced in the first six months here work wise, it would have taken me two years in New Zealand," she said. Her parents' life was regimented and restricted. Now China is open and free, far beyond Western perceptions, she said. Last year she went to a J Lo concert where the crowd knew every word. In May, the Backstreet Boys played took their comeback tour to Shanghai. But in such a rapidly moving mass, Wu sees pressure on her friends to succeed. Especially when the one-child policy means you are the sole output of your parents. If you are successful it is a sign they were successful. Her parents' friends in China call them in New Zealand asking why Wu hasn't got married. "When I first came to China I was 25. I felt fine in New Zealand. There were no pressures, we were all single girls having fun. I came to China, and all of a sudden I was old," she said. A CHILD IS also a significant investment. Education is expensive. And with the privatisation of the health sector and insurance sectors a wealthy child is the most secure retirement plan. Sitting with a double espresso in Beijing's Flat White Cafe, Jingyang Li is happily in the middle of the middle class. He is one of its lucky members. At 32 he is married, he has a newborn son, runs his own Mandarin Language school with 20 employees. His family has two homes in Beijing. One bought with a bank loan he will spend the next 20 years paying back, one gifted to his wife by her grandparents. They live in a good neighbourhood with good schools. "My life is better than my parents, and I think my son's will be better than mine," he said. But he sees many people struggling to make a new life in urban China. His sister moved to Beijing for greater opportunity, but her son does not have a Beijing ID card. This means education and health services are harder to get and more expensive. Li seems guilty his son has a local registration. As urbanisation increases, house prices in the cities - especially in areas with good schools - have become unaffordable. Government intervention in Shanghai and Beijing, including limiting married couples to owning one property, increasing minimum deposits for loans and a 20 per cent capital gains tax, have failed to relieve the property market. The cities are crowded and the pollution is real. The Beijing sky glows purple behind the smog and China's air pollution was linked to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, by the Global Burden of Disease Study. Food crises seem to crop up in the news each week. The people have growing power to get want they want in China. The middle classes appear happy to wait for political rights, but they want clean air now. They will pay a premium for safe traceable food and beverage. A savvy and active online community build and break brands' reputations. Launched on Friday, the NZ Pure Shop is an e-commerce platform selling New Zealand-made food and drink directly to China through its most popular online retailer, Tmall.com. The online store will reach more than 500 million registered users, selling Marlborough King Salmon, Sanitarium and Nelson Honey, in the hard to reach corners of China. China is becoming more and more aware of New Zealand's brand story of reliability and quality, said Aldo Miccio, chairman of NZ Inc Shop. "I think it is pretty cool that people are in China having Weet-Bix and New Zealand milk for breakfast," Miccio said. The middle class in China is still relatively small. "Mainstream consumers", those earning between $22,000 and $46,000 a year, made up just 6 per cent of the population in 2010, according to management consultants McKinsey & Co. This is still 80 million people. But if growth continues at its current rate, the current lower middle class will change the world. Within 12 years the world's middle class will double based on China's growth alone, according to John Ross, senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. In China hundreds of millions of people will own a car, domestic and international tourism will become high priorities and life expectancy will increase as access to a good diet becomes universal. "If you look at the point of view of sheer numbers, the effect is going to be incredible. By then you will have a middle class of hundreds of millions," said Ross. China's growth still amazes Lucy Wu every day. "Look at how fast that Shanghai Tower is built. Every time I go across there it seems bigger," she said. Due to be completed in 2014, The Shanghai Tower will be 632 metres high, the world's second highest building. By 2030, and probably even earlier, the emerging middle class will again make China the world's largest economy. This is the third in a series of stories by Simon Day, who is in China to report on the growing relationship with our No 1 trading partner. Simon Day travelled courtesy of the New Zealand China Friendship Society. SIMON DAY Last updated 05:00 09/06/2013 http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/8768722/The-emerging-Chinese-middle-class

Diamond chips are real gems

You could say takeaway shop owner Norman Num is a chip off the old block. Mr Num’s mother originally owned the fish-and-chip shop that is now Diamond Takeaways in Epsom. He bought into the business with his sisters 35 years ago, and turned it into a Chinese takeaway, which also does traditional Kiwi fish and chips. It was recently named Auckland’s best chip shop in the That’s Life Best Chip Shop competition. "We are very proud and privileged to have an award like this, because we are not a specialty fish and chip shop," Mr Num says. The chip king’s mother has now retired but his wife and children have become involved in the Great South Rd business. He says the award is a tribute to the effort the family has put into achieving high standards. The shop has picked up other awards in the past, including Metro magazine’s best Chinese takeaways and a radio station’s best take-away as voted by listeners. Mr Num says the staff members who are not family are from the same area of China as himself, Tai Shan county in the Guangdong province. It was formerly known as Canton and the food at Diamond Takeaways is based on Cantonese cooking. But chips are definitely an integral part of the business, he says. "A lot of things go hand in hand with chips. We always try to go for the best quality." The family started out peeling and pre-cooking their potatoes but now the chips are bought in and fried in top quality vegetable oil. "We have very discerning customers." Heart Foundation registered nutritionist Judith Morley-John was involved with setting criteria for the competition. Diamond Takeaways had to meet strict standards for the fat content, colour, crispness and cut of its fries. The chips were bought by a mystery shopper and analysed in a laboratory. This year’s six winning shops’ chips had an average fat content of 7.1 percent, down from 7.6 percent last year. "We’re just really impressed with what the takeaway shops are doing," Ms Morley-John says. The national winner was So Fine Seafoods in Wellington. - © Fairfax NZ News Last updated 11:49 27/11/2008 http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/central-leader/737144/Diamond-chips-are-real-gems

Ethnic dining in Christchurch

Christchurch is spoilt for choice of international cuisines, but are we making the most of what's on offer? A culinary journey I suspect I'm not alone when I associate the words "eating Chinese" with takeaways and plastic containers of chicken chow mein, steak fried rice or sweet and sour pork. While a plastic pack of Chinese cheerfully fills a Friday night gap in the supermarket shopping for us, it hardly qualifies as expert advice on where to go for the very best Chinese food in Christchurch. For help, I turned to someone much better informed than me. Grant Torrie, marketing manager at The Press, lived in China for two and a half years and is married to Jessie Wang, whose "home town" is the bustling city of Harbin (population: six million and rising). Of the numerous Chinese eateries in Christchurch, this couple have a clear favourite - Daphne's Restaurant at Church Corner. Curious to know why this one is special, and to get a feel for the real deal, I joined Grant and Jessie for dinner there. Over green tea, they told me Daphne's menu scores top marks for its authentic array of regional food, including hot and spicy Sichuan dishes from the southwest - popular throughout China - and also salty, pickled delicacies that echo the cuisine of Jessie's home province of Heilongjiang in northeast China. Harbin has a very cold winter so the local people preserve a lot of their food, using plenty of salt. Wheat is a more prominent part of their diet than rice, and is used in dumplings and pancakes. "Just wait until you bite into a Sichuan peppercorn - it'll make your lips go numb!" Grant said as we sipped our tea. He was right, of course. It was to be a night of spicy discovery. Starting with soup is not a northern tradition; Jessie prefers to kick things off with cold dishes. Tripe, beloved in the north, was on the menu, but instead we began with servings of pickled vegetables - cubes of salted turnip, dribbled with chilli oil - and sliced beef with chilli pepper dressing. The latter has a kind of fierce delayed heat to it, but is regarded by Jessie and Grant as merely "averagely spicy". I found it helped to have the green tea at hand to cool the mouth. Our third entrée roughly translated as "saliva chicken" - so tasty, one's mouth waters in anticipation of the next mouthful. In Harbin, it is also customary to begin with a bowl of roasted peanuts in the centre of the table. "You know you've been in China for a long time if you prefer to eat your peanuts with chopsticks," observes Grant, (although I was personally relieved not to face that challenge). Hot spicy flavours dominated the main course selections of Sichuan-style poached sliced beef in hot chilli oil, along with another fiery southern dish popular in Chongqing, griddle-cooked spicy chicken in a hot pot. Also on the table was a serving of a Daphne's house dish of deep-fried tofu on a sizzling plate with sweet chilli sauce. With a soft scrambled-egg consistency inside, these tofu bites were mercifully milder than the rest. Ad Feedback In short, it was Chinese food, but unlike anything from the corner Chinese takeaway - hot, full of chilli and not a noodle in sight. Dining at Daphne's reminds Grant and Jessie of memorable nights out on Beijing's celebrated "Ghost Street" or Gui Jie, home to more than 200 restaurants and some of the best specialty food in China. Daphne's is well-priced, too, with our three entrees, three mains and tea costing just $70 in total. For diners who don't like it hot, Daphne's does offer less challenging options. "Our goal is to bring real Chinese food to the local market, but if we have a group of Kiwis coming in, we do remind them that we can make it less hot and adjust the flavour if they wish," says Daphne Kiriaev, who owns and manages the restaurant. Daphne hails from mainland China, near Shanghai and her husband is Russian/Chinese. Other Chinese restaurants rated highly by Grant and Jessie include The Big Chef Kitchen in Burnside, specialising in dry, hot and spicy food from China's south-central province of Hunan, and the Shanxi Noodle House in Addington. Just like the plastic tub of Chinese takeaways, some of what passes for Indian food in Christchurch bears little resemblance to the original dishes, according to Bombay-born Aaron Sanchis, who has lived here for a decade. It can be difficult, for example, finding a good authentic butter chicken in Christchurch. Too much butter, cream and off-the-shelf tomato puree invariably spoils the flavour, he says. "Kiwis say they like the cream and butter, but the result is not butter chicken; it's more like a curry that is quite sweet and fatty." For a true Indian-style butter chicken, he suggests a visit to Corianders Restaurant in Edgeware, his favourite destination for "a taste of home". "It's pretty much authentic and the ingredients are fresh." Corianders also serves up two other "must-haves", namely delicious Bombay chicken (diced chicken fillet with freshly ground spices and herbs) and murg kadai (chicken cooked in thick gravy with crushed tomatoes, cream and fresh coriander). If seeking a hotter dish, he will sometimes order lamb rogan josh, (lamb chunks cooked in whole spices with onion, ginger and garlic, finished with a touch of coriander). "It's quite peppery and if you chew on the meat, you get the full flavour of the curry inside it." Aaron says no Indian restaurant worthy of the name ought to be serving up naan flat bread, tandoori chicken or chicken tikka not prepared over charcoal in a tandoor oven. "If your naan has not come from a tandoor oven, don't order it - and herbs like coriander should be fresh, not from a packet." He says New Zealanders also tend to think of "hot and spicy" as one and the same, where a lot of Indian food might be "hot or spicy". It is a mistake to think Indian food consists only of hot curry flavours. Other favourite dining destinations for Aaron are Two Fat Indians in Merivale - "again, it's beautiful food" - and Bombay Butler on Colombo St, which has "butler's venison" flavoured with Indian whole spices and herbs, along with a tasty chicken biryani and a good selection of vegetarian curries. He also recommends the Maharaja on Papanui Rd, Indian Sumner and the Indian Ocean in Ferrymead. Japanese-born Koji Miyazaki, owner of Form Gallery @ 468 Colombo St, has lived in New Zealand for more than 20 years, but still enjoys the flavours with which he grew up. His leading tip for finding a good Japanese restaurant is to simply ask where the chef is from. If they're from Japan, chances are they'll know how it's done. His top pick is Riccarton's Cookai, which brings "a little twist" to traditional Japanese food. "I like the way they present their food, the sushi and tempura," says Koji, who enjoys starting with sashimi. "It is simple fresh food - really nice." His recommendations from the a la carte menu include crispy tempura chicken with lemon soy sauce, and ginger pork. Donburi rice dishes - beef or chicken and egg - also feature on his list of favourites. For something a little more traditional, Koji suggests dining at Kinji Japanese Restaurant on Greers Rd, while a good lunch spot is the Samurai Bowl on Colombo St. "Try the beef gyudon for something a bit different." For tips on the best Thai restaurants in Christchurch, we went to Khunita Khemarangsan (Kang), 27, who is from Thailand and has lived in New Zealand for 12 years. She and her husband, Boris Kang, dine out for lunch most days and for dinner twice a week. One of their regular destinations is Thai fusion restaurant Spice Paragon, owned by Khunita's brother, Titi Khemarangsan. Spice Paragon mixes up the flavours of Thai cuisine with influences from this country's modern cooking style and is popular with both Kiwi and Thai diners. "There's a bit of Kiwi food in there, too, so, for example, the menu might include lamb shank mussaman curry and mashed potato, as well as fish green curry and rice," Khunita says. "My favourite starter would be the miang spinach leaf, which is topped with prawn or crispy belly pork or smoked salmon. We order that every time we go there. For the main, we always order the mussaman curry of slow-braised lamb shank on Asian sweet potato mash or the pad thai in egg net with free-range chicken, tamarind sauce, peanuts and lime." For a real taste of authentic Thai flavours, Khunita also loves dining at Hammersley's Thai restaurant (Shirley Rd). "They can make it pretty hot if you like lots of chilli! For Thai people, the food there is really spicy, though they usually tone it down for Kiwi clientele. It tastes a lot like the food I'd eat back in Thailand, so I'd recommend it if you're looking for that genuine taste of Thailand." Her "must-try" recommendation from Hammersley's is the tom yum chicken noodle soup. Sema's Thai Cuisine in Richmond is another favourite. "It's another fusion restaurant where a lot of Kiwi and Thai people go. It's really popular and the prices are very reasonable." She suggests trying the pad thai (stir-fry rice noodles) from any of these restaurants. For insight on the finer points of Italian food, I headed to Massimiliano Capocaccia's architecture studio in Sumner. Massimiliano, also known as Max, was born in Rome and has lived in Sumner for five years. He eats out several times a week, but finds many restaurants claiming to be Italian lack the authentic touch. He says Italian food sold here is frequently "over-complicated", weighed down with too many ingredients and flavours. Pizza is a big problem, Max says. "Take the margherita pizza. It should just have tomato and mozzarella, but instead I often find the topping is quite overwhelming and has lots of ingredients - and, unfortunately, the base is usually more like pie than pizza!" Similarly, too much sauce tends to be served with pasta and the sauce itself is often overloaded with too many ingredients and flavours. Max says Italians love to keep it "quite simple" with the four essentials: garlic, olive oil, chilli and tomato. For a true taste of Italy, Max heads to Tutto Bene in Merivale. "There I can speak Italian with the waiters and the owners and taste some real Italian food." His favourites include best-ever lasagne (with Tuscan rich meat sauce, vegetable and cheese sauce); mixed gnocchi (served with Napoli sauce or rich meat sauce); and bistecca florentina, (grilled T-bone steak served with rosemary and garlic vino rosso sauce or mushroom sauce). "It even looks very Italian there and they often play Italian music." Freemans Dining Room in Lyttelton gets rated highly, too, even though it is not a specialty Italian restaurant. "I've tried both their cannelloni and ravioli - delicious." I asked Max if he had a favourite dish from his days in Rome. He had to spell it out for me - salti in bocca alla romana - which is veal with ham and sage tied together with a toothpick. The name of the dish apparently translates as "jump in the mouth". And so ends my international food journey. All that remains is to decide which of these recommended dishes will "jump into your mouth" on your next dinner date. A guide to the city's international cuisine KIM NEWTH Last updated 08:40 29/11/2012 http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/avenues/features/8008570/Ethnic-dining-in-Christchurch

On the cheap - Dumpling House

Sometimes it's good to target a place for a cheap eat where you can enjoy a meal and catch up with friends for minimal cost, or maybe buy decent, reasonably priced takeaways for everyone to tuck into at home. The Dumpling House in Claudelands village has helped out for these purposes since it opened about a year ago, and various dishes have been ferried back to our place since then. The generous servings of steamed dumplings are good for a crowd. Depending on what flavours you order, you get 20 plump dumplings for $10 to $12. The premises aren't flash for eating in - plastic chairs and metal-topped tables - and it's unlicensed, but the food is good and there are dishes not seen on the average Chinese takeaway menu, such as hotpot of snapper head and tofu, oxtails and vegetable hotpot, braised beef tendon, pig's intestine hotpot and pork and seaweed. A few ready-to-eat dishes are available in the warming cabinet, but most are ordered from the whiteboard menu. It seems to me that this menu has (thankfully) not been reinvented for Western tastes. The family who run the Dumpling House are from northern China and last Friday night when my friend Nicola and I called in for dinner, we were greeted warmly, even though it looked as if they were getting ready to close. Yes, they said, we could have a sit-down dinner, no problem. Steamed dumplings are a must here, so we shared an order of my favourites with lamb and carrot filling. Nicola chose another of my favourites for her solo dish, dumplings in hot and spicy chicken soup, and I had meatball and vegetable hotpot. Our dumplings were delicious, the wrappers silky and tender, the lamb and carrot filling delicate and delicious, and there were sides of chilli sauce and garlic and soy sauce to pep things up. The dumplings, which I guess we'd envisaged as a starter, arrived after our other dishes, so we just skipped between everything. My beef meatballs had a lovely hit of ginger, the broth was laden with glass noodles, neatly chopped carrots and Chinese cabbage. Nicola was similarly pleased with her spicy, fragrant soup, rich with dumplings, vegetables and flavour. Both dishes were piping hot and generous. We enjoyed a happy hour of food and conversation, split the bill of $30, and departed with a package of leftover dumplings that we couldn't make room for. You can't do better than that for a cheap eat. THE WRAP What: Dumpling House, 698 Grey St, Claudelands, Hamilton, ph 07 855 8968. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 8pm or thereabouts. Closed Mondays. Food: Chinese dumplings, stews, noodle soups, hotpots and more. Most dishes $10 to $12. Service: Friendly. Sometimes a few language difficulties, but there always seems to be someone who sorts things out. Bonus: Home cooking from China. - © Fairfax NZ News DENISE IRVINE Last updated 14:14 21/05/2012 http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/life-style/food/6959436/On-the-cheap-Dumpling-House

Sense of belonging'

A second generation Asian-Kiwi is inviting New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to visit the unofficial Chinatown segment of Dominion Rd after debate around ethnic signs. The findings of a Massey University study out last week say the proliferation of Asian signs around Auckland create a sense of belonging for new migrants. They estimate the city's Asian population is expected to make up a quarter of Auckland's 1.3 million people in five years time. The need to understand the city's "linguisitic landscapes" is critical, study co-author associate Robin Peace says. But Mr Peters says migrants should acknowledge they live in an English-speaking country. He says the study shows that migrant business attitudes must change. "Migrants who come to New Zealand are supposed to arrive with an understanding of the English language but many are failing to use it to integrate into this country." Mr Peters says the study found areas of New Zealand have become "ethnic precincts" where migrant businesses use foreign language to advertise – often alienating themselves from the wider community. He agrees with Auckland Chinese Community Centre chairman Arthur Loo who says it "would be nice" if migrant businesses made the effort to translate signs into English. Auckland resident Steve Chung says it's fair to call for some translation of ethnic signage but thinks it's only natural for cultural hubs to emerge. But a visit to the Balmoral shops on Dominion Rd around Wiremu St proves it is hard to find a sign that does not have some form of English translation already. Mr Chung would like Mr Peters to see the streetscape for himself. He says the community sees the signage as "acceptable". However Mr Peters responds: "There is English translation on some hoardings or advertisements but a number do not have it. That's really my point." Mr Chung says his generation has "Kiwi-ised". "My father came across in the 1940s. My mum was born here. The generation of my youth grew up with fruit shops and dairies." Mr Chung says his generation has had the privilege of going to university within New Zealand. He says Balmoral migrant business owners "are still establishing themselves". "They are a new generation of migrants. They have to earn a living. A lot of them came over here with limited English and so if they can sell things to their fellow immigrants then what's wrong with that?" Ad Feedback Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes wrote about the debate on his Facebook page. "Personally, I enjoy the cosmopolitan feel of Dominion Rd and never feel ill-at-ease when dining in any of the Chinese, Thai, Japanese or Indian establishments. "As my mother grew up on Dominion Rd, many of my earliest childhood memories are of visiting my grandparents there, so I've given the changing face of the road much thought." The Albert-Eden Local Board is hosting an exhibition of photographs which profile Dominion Rd. The images were taken by AUT University senior lecturer King Tong Ho to depict the changing face of the road. The exhibition runs until June 17 and is open weekdays from 8.30am to 5pm at 135 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden. - © Fairfax NZ News RHIANNON HORRELL Last updated 08:40 23/05/2012

Stationers a constant in changing Island Bay

Right in the heart of Island Bay's ever-changing central shopping area is one business that has stood the test of time. Island Bay Stationers, at 151 The Parade, has been operating since the early 1970s. The building itself is more than 100 years old. It was the first in a series of commercial buildings established around the intersection of The Parade and Medway St by the building firm J Odlin and Co from the early 1900s until the late 1920s. Previously used as a confectionery store and beauty salon, the premises has changed ownership several times. But since the 1970s it has remained a news agency and stationers under the ownership of Bill and Fay Far. Mr Far, who is of Chinese descent, came to New Zealand with his family in 1939. He helped his father operate a fruit market in Courtenay Place, before settling in Island Bay in 1951. He and his wife bought the business in 1973 and, according to Mrs Far, the business has remained virtually the same since. "We used to sell toys and gifts, but have always generally been a news agency," she said. "When I started I had a lot of children's books and still do." Although the customer base included people of all ages, there was no disputing the bestselling books. "Children's books are the most popular and they are my favourite. "The Robert Muchamore series has been a big seller. "The Enid Blyton books are older, but they are still very good sellers." Mrs Far said she had noticed significant changes in the nature of Island Bay shops. "Business is definitely less local now the supermarket has taken over. We used to have five greengrocer shops in this little area, four or five dairies, a butcher, an electrician, a boot shop and three draper shops. "We had everything," she said. Mrs Far said she had thought of selling the business, but said it was "never the right time because we have too much stock". She knows what she and her husband would like to do next. "At our age we wouldn't do anything. "We'd retire. We will - one day." - The Wellingtonian ONATHAN BASILE Last updated 10:04 08/04/2013 http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/local-papers/the-wellingtonian/8506900/Stationers-a-constant-in-changing-Island-Bay

Methodist link to Moxham Ave

Residents of Hataitai's main street, Moxham Ave, may not know there could be an underground river running through their back yards. In colonial times, the Waipapa Stream flowed through the suburb - from where the bus tunnel is now, down between Moxham Ave and parallel street Ruahine St, to the beach at Evans Bay. Today, it is a one-metre wide culvert under back yards in Moxham Ave. Despite a marine chart from 1826 that marked the stream outlet as "Good Water", by the beginning of the 20th century, residents wanted the council to declare it a public drain. In 1909 a petition was sent to the city council, asking it to cover in the Waipapa stream. Residents said it had been polluted by people emptying "slops" in it, creating a "menace to the health of the district". The debate between council and residents about whether to culvert the stream raged for two decades. Residents complained of flooding on their properties, and ponds or "cesspools" attached to the river filled with rotten matter emitting strong stenches. By the early 1920s, council had taken heed and covered the stream. But the problems had not been fixed. Residents complained of "very nasty smells" coming out of the mouth of the drains, and flooding continued on some of the properties until the 1950s. One group of early settlers made good use of Waipapa Stream. Chinese have lived in Hataitai since the early 1880s. when they grew vegetables in gardens watered by the Waipapa stream. By the 1920s there were several fruit and vegetable shops run by Chinese in Moxham Ave. The street was initially named Charles St, after wealthy land- owner Charles Crawford. However, the name was soon changed to Moxham Ave, after William Moxham, who arrived in Wellington in 1858 on the ship Montmorency. Mr Moxham was an early farmer of Upland Farm, which is now the Botanic Gardens in Kelburn. Although there is no evidence he had interests in the Hataitai area, it is likely there was a religious connection. He was heavily involved with early Methodism in New Zealand - a choirmaster, organ player, superintendent of the Sunday school and church trustee for the Manners Street Wesley Church. In 1895 the Methodist Church built a wooden church, Kilbirnie Wesleyan Church, at what is now 111 Moxham Ave. About a decade after it was built, the street got its name. By 1913 the Methodist Church had been transported on rollers to a more centrally located site in Waitoa Rd. Significant development, shop openings and the increasing population of the suburb, centred around the Waitoa Rd/Moxham Ave intersection, continued into the 1950s. Today, a small shopping centre is centred in Moxham Ave. In 2011 the city council added Hataitai Village shops to its heritage buildings. - The Wellingtonian MARY BAINES Last updated 09:17 11/01/2013 http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/local-papers/the-wellingtonian/features/8161284/Methodist-link-to-Moxham-Ave

Along Stafford Street's northern end

Along Stafford Street's northern end Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009 Trevor Griffiths continues his occasional series of memories of the Timaru of his younger days. Here, he turns his attention to the northern end of Stafford Street. Obviously there have been many changes made in the northern end of Stafford Street since I was a boy in the 1930s and of course because there will always be change there will be more in the future. On the corner of Church and Stafford streets stands the Old Bank Hotel. It has seen many events over the term of its existence and no doubt many proprietors. Its name comes from an old Bank of New Zealand that was sited there from the earliest days. Next to it was the ladieswear shop of Miss Tovey, which in more recent times was known as Mavis Forde Fashions. Beside it was Faulks and Jordon chemists and nearby Brownies shoe store for fine footwear. I am not quite certain about the sequence of the next group but Self Help grocery was close by. You may think that the large supermarkets have all the new ideas but Self Help had a chain of shops right across New Zealand where the customer selected their groceries and took them to the counter to be packaged. Porter and Dawsons was a fascinating gift shop of every conceivable type of gift. Many people sought their help for the choice of wedding or birthday presents. On one occasion we purchased a gift there and somehow we paid a little too much. Later Tim met me at a meeting and gave me an envelope containing a few coins. Not to be outdone I returned the compliment and for several years we exchanged coins in this way. Millers Fashions was a hugely popular shop in the 40s and 50s. Their clothes and materials were always reasonably priced, which suited the customers of the time after the Depression and the Second World War. Next along the street came Woolworths and McKenzies, both stores being reasonably similar in their wares. The main advantage for the customers, their goods were about the cheapest in town. Laid out in a similar manner there were counters along both sides of the stores with a space behind for the attendant to serve the customers while in the centre of both shops ran double counters with attendants in the middle. They could be termed general stores. We hear so much today about faulty goods being imported from China. In those pre-war days our country was swamped with inferior goods from Japan. In fact, the railway engines of the time carried signs painted in yellow "Buy New Zealand made goods". After earning a little money I decided I would buy a pair of white sand-shoes. They were new and cost me one shilling and sixpence. Two weeks later my toes were through the sole. With much trepidation I took them back and was very happy when they replaced them for me. Ad Feedback Across the small access driveway came T and J Thomsons Department store. It was a large area at that time and had an excellent reputation for quality goods. My brother Colin joined the men's department when he left Boys High School in 1934 and then joined the army in 1939. For two weeks one Christmas I joined him there as a parcel boy. I believe the next business was S A Bremfords photography shop. Sid Bremford was a shortish, well-built man whose black hair was well groomed and was always known for his smile. He was also a photographer for The Timaru Herald and did splendid work for weddings and portraits. Next came the United Friendly Society's pharmacy, affectionately known as the UFS. In charge of it was AES Hanan who was mayor of Timaru for quite a period. I can still see him out on the footpath talking to people in the most friendly manner. To him fell the position of mayor during the years of the Second World War. The footwear store of Souters was quite a large area and handled a fine stock of well-made shoes. Next to it came the Regent Theatre, the fourth of the group. There was a time when all four theatres would be well attended. In those seemingly carefree days of our youth the major amusements were the picture theatres and the dance halls. A long way from the pastimes of the young people of today. McKirdys Grocery was further along from the Regent and they too were popular suppliers of groceries to the townspeople. I believe Whitehouse's hairdressers for men were close by. George, a dapper little gentleman, and his son Basil tended to the requests of the district's menfolk when mostly the demand was for "short back and sides please". Also in this area was the Para Rubber shop, which offered all sorts of rubber goods for the home and of course if you required a pair of gumboots this was the store to frequent. I believe the Para Rubber Company had many outlets all over the country and behind the scenes it was the Skellerup Industries that manufactured most of the items sold by them. A little further on came Miss Goddard Furrier who supplied fur coats and fur stoles and other items to those who could afford them. Like hat shops, furriers have disappeared from our view. Tucked in next was Lowe's Fruit Shop, where the Lowe family functioned for many years. Of Chinese origin, the two boys, Paul and Keith, attended the Main School and took an active part in the affairs of the community. On or near the corner of Canon and Stafford streets LA Waters Optician operated for many years and was well-known within our town's community. Now we cross Canon Street and arrive at one of the oldest surviving men's and ladies' outfitters in our city. This was and still is J Ballantyne and Co Ltd and of course is a subsidiary of the parent firm in Christchurch. They have the knack of supplying top-quality goods even though they also have a top-quality price. Originally the Timaru building was a very solid two-storeyed store which leaned towards an earlier time in its decor and outlook and curiously there was quite a large empty section on its northern side. For many years you would walk past a six foot iron fence which obscured it from view. When the old building was demolished the company spread its operations across this empty area and today the excellent new building has two storeys. The next shop in line was Grant Russells florist shop, which he operated during the 40s to the 60s. He was a tough little business man who called a spade a spade. Above this floral haven was Sammy Moore's milk bar, already previously mentioned. Above again was Watsons Hairdressers and Tobacconists. I frequented this shop only a few times but on one occasion I saw the proprietor receive quite a sum of money and tuck it away in a drawer, which was not the cash register. I believe there was another fruiterer before we reach the Dominion Hotel, which in its heyday served the local citizens and the travelling public with distinction. For some peculiar reason in recent years it has not functioned as a hotel should. Across the end of Sefton Street stands a sad example of man's inability to make decisions. I mean the Hydro Grand Hotel. It sits on what could probably be called the prime site of Timaru. It does occupy the highest point along the coastal frontage of the city and the views alone of the sea and coastline, the mountains to the north-west and south-west would make many hoteliers in other cities of this country green with envy. Apart from its superlative situation and having been occupied by the Richard Pearse Tavern for a short time, there appears to have been nothing done for some years. It saddens me and no doubt many others as well to see this grand old structure neglected. If it does nothing else it surely proves the saying that "procrastination is the thief of time". Just north of the Grand was situated Seaview House, a private boarding establishment. No doubt some of its occupants after a night out would realise that the magnificent view across the bay and harbour would brighten their "morning after" feeling. I am not quite sure of the position of Tommy Thomson's residence but I believe it to have been next. He was a well-known businessman and was known to walk down past the Grand on a Sunday morning to the nearby post-box dressed in his dressing-gown, pyjamas and slippers to post his mail. This, of course, took place during the 20s and 30s. Caroline Courts were the next series of buildings moving on down the Bay Hill. This was and still is an extended block of 10 to 12 flats, all with a wonderful view of Caroline Bay and beyond. You will all be aware of the New Year bonfire and carnival on the Bay. It was in the mid-50s we decided that as a family of six we would go and witness the bonfire at midnight and the hooters on the ships in the harbour. Previously we had tried to do this down on the beach but found it too dangerous for the children. The usual larrikins would throw crackers and many were under the influence of alcohol. We parked our van outside the first flat of Caroline Courts and not long after a lady invited us into her second storey flat to watch the proceedings. You know there are some very kind-hearted people about. Across the street from the Hydro Grand Hotel during my young years there used to be a very old cottage where an old lady lived on her own. It stood on the brink of the clay cliffs. I have no doubt that it caused the local authorities some concern and when she passed away it disappeared almost overnight. I often wonder about the truth behind this sudden action. On the corner of what is now known as the Port Loop Road was a petrol station with a prominent sign visible from well along Evans Street. In the next section were Solomon's Tailor and Paterson's stamp shop and then quite a large area which housed the roller skating rink. It was operated by the Allchurch family, who also had a thriving auction house within the city. Eddie Allchurch was a regular visitor to my home and although quite young at the time I am sure he was tracking one of my sisters. The skating rink was a very popular place in those pre-war days. Continuing down Stafford Street on the eastern side there was a Chinese laundry that made an excellent job of starching collars and shirts. I can still see my dad trying to get the studs into his collar and shirt before going out to a dance or a meeting. Sometimes the air was blue when the two would not come together. Further down came Seaton's butcher shop who had the unenviable task of creating that famous Scottish delicacy "the haggis" which was in demand from various Scottish organisations within the city. The address to "the haggis" was given on Burns Night as a celebration of the life of the poet Robert Burns. If you have never witnessed this address then you have really missed something. Quite close by was Manning's fish shop and below again was Johnson's milkbar and tearooms. Mr and Mrs Johnson conducted a successful business for many years. Also in this area was Blackwoods grocery store, an establishment that not only catered for the townspeople but also the country folk. I can recall one occasion when my brother-in-law, who worked there, took me on a country delivery with him. We visited Mrs Hardy who lived just south of Makikihi township near the railway line. She turned on some marvellous scones and baking for us. Another service lane and then we come to Lewis and Sons, a paint and glass business that only closed in recent times after sterling service to our city over a very long time. Further south again Thomas Cook and Son operated a travel agency until it gave way to the more modern franchise holders. Just about opposite T and J Thomson Ltd the car sales and service business of Dominion Motors was situated with a large showroom on the street frontage and an access-way on its northern side. The service and equipment areas appeared quite cavernous, being built in and over all round. Passing outside you were often very rudely awakened by a car horn in the covered alley. The property now hosts the greater part of the present day Mall. Mr Holland was the manager for many years, followed by Rex Gilchrist. Their main interest was Morris cars. Next we come to the State Theatre, the third of the four available to us at that time. Its lay-out was different to the other three in that the rows of seats sloped down as you walked in and at the screen end it swept up towards the screen. It was also a much narrower building than the other three. At one Saturday night's performance Mr Johnson placed my young lady and myself in two seats and for some odd reason I could not get comfortable at all. Something was pricking my back. At the end of the movie I reported it to the usher and we found a large drawing pin in the fabric. Forever after when we attended the State Theatre Mr Johnson would ask, "did you want your special seat again?" There was and still is an access-way on the south-side of the defunct State Theatre. In the building now occupied by the Westpac Bank a long stairway led to the Miss Thwaites dance studio. Many of the district's young ladies received lessons in ballet, highland and tap dancing from Miss Dorothy while her sister Winnie was a tremendous help behind the scenes. Back down on the street frontage was Norrie's Grocery. Mr Norrie was a stalwart of the now demolished Trinity Church. You will all know the song Where have all the flowers gone? It could be asked "Where have all the groceries gone?" Youngs fruit shop was established in this area by Norman, one of the family previously mentioned as being educated at the Main School. Finally we come to Slades Cycles on the corner of Stafford and Strathallan streets. Reg Slade was the proprietor, he managed the agency for Raleigh Cycles and most of my family had a cycle from there. As one looks along Stafford Street today, north or south, it is difficult to realise that so many years ago parking your car was comparatively easy. Today there are less parking spots and many more cars. It does not make you happy to see two and sometimes more delivery vans and trucks double-parked just to make things more awkward. Along Stafford Street's northern end Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009 http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/features/171468/Along-Stafford-Streets-northern-end

Exploring Upper Riccarton

From a Chinese bakery to a Dutch café, Upper Riccarton is a great melting pot. World on a plate Driving into Upper Riccarton from Yaldhurst Rd, the last thing you probably think of is a culinary adventure. But tucked away behind the slightly unloved shop fronts at the top end of Riccarton Rd are some surprising spots offering delicious and unusual edibles from all corners of the world, so instead of driving on, take a left and park behind the Church Corner Mall. While the footpaths along Riccarton Rd might seem empty, back here there's a whole different vibe. The car park is bustling, people are out shopping and this hidden-away area is thriving. When you start to look around, it's not difficult to see why. People head here for Asian specialities from shops such as the Red Bean Chinese Bakery, just behind the Church Corner Mall. The bakery has been here for 3½ years and the woman behind the counter says that while they do get some Kiwi customers, most of their clientele are Asians longing for a taste of home. Cream and custard rolls are among their best sellers and there are plenty of other sweet treats, from cute little bags of delicate green-tea biscuits to coconut loaves. For those with savoury tastes, there's an impressive looking "pork floss roll" made with shredded pork and herbs. A couple of doors along, the China Town Market is a great one-stop shop for anyone who likes to try their hand at Asian cooking. It's stuffed full of exotic ingredients, some of them slightly baffling and difficult to identify, but that's part of the fun. This is authentic stuff and you're unlikely to find most of it in your suburban supermarket. Inside Church Corner Mall, it's more about eating than shopping. Foodsing Chinese restaurant has been around for eight years, but has recently been taken over by new owners, Naomi Liu and Art Zhao Zi Tao. Originally from China, they've both lived in Christchurch for several years. Naomi says there is a good community feel among the Upper Riccarton business owners. She believes Church Corner is a very good location. "People that come here can choose from many places." On the weekday lunchtime that Avenues visits, Foodsing looks surprisingly busy with diners lured by an exhaustive menu. Popular dishes include whole crispy fish with sweet chilli sauce and the crispy hot duck, Art says. Their customers are about 80 per cent Kiwis and, like many of the businesses around here, they're open seven days a week. Just opposite is another longstanding Chinese restaurant, Yummy. A couple of doors further down, a smart-looking Japanese restaurant, Sakura, is hidden behind dark, wooden doors. There's always something slightly daunting about entering a restaurant when you can't see inside, as if you might be about to walk into a private family party, but push open the doors to Sakura and friendly staff immediately make you feel welcome. The restaurant itself is small - just one room with tables down either side, but they've resisted the temptation to cram in too many people and the minimalist decor gives a spacious feel. We pop in for a quick lunch. Everyone has told me to book in advance, so I do, and arrive to find an empty restaurant at 12.15pm. But half an hour later, it's nearly full with mostly Japanese diners, so the booking advice is worth heeding. Ad Feedback From a set menu, we opt for vegetable tempura and chicken yakitori. Both dishes come beautifully presented on flat black plates, accompanied by tiny bowls of rice and miso soup. The chicken yakitori is delicious - tender pieces of chicken skewered with delicately cut vegetables, while the vegetable tempura is crispy and light. The service is quick, the food superb and it's reasonably priced, with lunch dishes costing $12 to $15. The dinner menu is more extensive and more expensive, including sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delicacies. The chef at Sakura previously worked at upmarket Japanese restaurant Sala Sala on Oxford Tce, which was badly damaged in the earthquakes. So, if it's authentic Japanese cuisine you're after, this is the place. On the other side of the mall is one of Church Corner's long-term residents, Shih-Yen Chen, of specialist tea shop and café Tea'sme. Originally from Taiwan, Shih-Yen is passionate and hugely knowledgeable about teas. Not only is the shop full of some of the world's finest teas, but you will be offered tips on how to brew them perfectly. There are black teas, white teas, green teas and different blends of fruit teas. More unusual options include oolong teas such as Iron Goddess, a semi-fermented tea, but for something really unusual try a bubble tea. A traditional Taiwanese tea-based drink, it can be made with a variety of options, warm or cold, with green or black tea, with tapioca or coconut jelly. Shih-Yen makes me a cold, green tea-based drink and it's absolutely delicious and refreshing, with a hint of sweetness. When Shih-Yen first moved his business into the mall in 2007, things were different and there were fewer Asian businesses. The Japanese restaurant was a beauty salon; there were a couple of pharmacies, a bakery and a wool shop. "It was more European ... but now it's more multicultural," he says. Business has been good for Shih-Yen, particularly since the quakes, as shoppers have moved away from the central city. But he would like to see the area "tidied up a little bit", including cleaner pavements. With a lot of different landlords involved in the mall, getting agreement on communal issues can be difficult, he says. However, he's fully committed to Church Corner and believes there's a lot of potential for the future. "It gets better and better every year. People and businesses are thriving around here." Next door, an Asian grocery displays crate upon crate of pak choi. In stark contrast, the next shop is an elegant little Japanese bakery, Patisserie Yahagi. Owner Eri Yahagi moved to Christchurch with her family nearly seven years ago. She originally trained as a patissier in Tokyo, but also did a one-year pastry course at CPIT. Eri opened her patisserie in 2009 and the following year won two gold medals in the Bakery of the Year competition. Not only do her delicate creations look and taste good, they're also a little lighter on calories than many of her competitors' offerings. The Japanese influence on her baking has Eri finding ways to make her treats lighter and less sweet than traditional Western baking. Milk might be substituted for cream, oil might be used instead of butter and fresh fruit might replace heavy icing as decoration. The "tarte au poir" is superb and a slice of orange pound cake tastes so light and fresh it seems positively healthy. Heading out of the mall on to Riccarton Rd, there is a distinctive purple and orange House and Garden shop. Tucked away inside is the hidden oasis of café Seven. The interior is surprisingly spacious and there's an outdoor seating area, covered with a marquee and fully heated in winter. From here, you can look out overthe mini jungle of plants for sale. Serving counter food, à la carte dishes and blackboard specials, Seven attracts a mixed bunch of customers from students to business people and shoppers, manager Di Richardson says. It caters for them all with good, home-style food. "There are no muffin mixes in this café," one of the owners, Margaret Tate, says. When Seven opened its doors in 2006, the area was a lot quieter. "Back then, there was nothing between Riccarton Mall and Hornby," Margaret says. Since then, she has seen the area become increasingly food-focused. Across the road in the Bush Inn Centre, Dutch café Van Dam's is hard to miss, with its orange signage and display of wooden clogs. "We've never tried to pretend we're one of these flash, modern cafés and people quite like it, as it's a bit different; it's quirky," manager AJ Van Dam says. When the café opened 12 years ago, customers were mostly from Christchurch's Dutch community. Now, says AJ: "It's second and third- generation Dutch and we have a good mixture of Kiwis and other nationalities. A lot of people are becoming a little bit more adventurous about what they eat and more ready to try new things." Previously located on Riccarton Rd near the Church Corner Mall, the café moved over to the Bush Inn Centre in 2008. "We've seen some changes. It was a good café at Church Corner, but we found that the whole area ... there wasn't a lot of money put into it by landlords. In our café, we had issues with the roof leaks and so on." So when a place came up in the Bush Inn Centre, the business moved and it's worked out well. Trade has been brisk and there's been a further upsurge since the earthquakes. Much of the food in this family business is imported from the Netherlands. AJ's father, Kees Van Dam, started the import business first and then a café, which took off. Now, the café also houses a deli section full of Dutch specialities, including almond cakes, liquorice and big round cheeses. If you've never tried Dutch food before, AJ suggests the Dutch croquettes. Crumbed on the outside, and filled with beef, chicken, spicy beef or salmon, they are served hot, with bread and mustard. A sweet option is a Dutch doughnut - the batter is made with apple and sultanas, then deep fried and served hot with a dusting of icing sugar. "It's very healthy," AJ jokes. There are also three-layered toasted sandwiches, Dutch pea soup, milkshakes and hot chips with mayonnaise. Dutch food seems to be all about delicious ways to stoke up on cold days. Whether you're looking for a quick bowl of noodles or a full-on three-course dinner, one thing's for sure. You are spoilt for choice in Upper Riccarton. From Japanese to Thai, from Kiwi to Dutch - this is one foodie area that's on the way up. PATTIE PEGLER Last updated 09:40 29/08/2012 http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/avenues/features/7564352/Exploring-Upper-Riccarton

Bill Hoon: Hardworking businessman with charisma

Bill Hoon's story is a microcosm of Chinese-New Zealand history. His mother Sui Jung Hoon and father Sum Jock Hoon came from China in the 1920s, his father paying the 100 poll tax. Bill was born in 1943 in the family home, above FKLeong's fruit shop in Lambton Quay. His brother, Allan, was 14 months older. They were inseparable, and even began their school life together, at Thorndon School, although Allan was 5 1/2 and Bill only 4 1/2. They went on to attend Clyde Quay School. The family moved in 1953, when their father established a fruit shop in Newtown. Bill and Allan attended Wellington South Intermediate, and later Wellington Technical College. Brother Stan completed the family. When their father died in 1961, the two older boys left school to take over the shop, and the care of their mother and brother. Allan was 18, and Bill 17. The family takes great pride in the way Bill and his brother took this responsibility onto their young shoulders. They had no family able to help them, and no experience in business. There were debts to pay off, and a family to support. Bill and Allan supported their mother and brother, and built up a business, taking no wages until the debts were paid. This experience shaped Bill. He remained determined, hard working, and focused 100 per cent on making the best possible life for his family. Bill loved to be active. The shop was never his whole life, despite the long hours he put into it. Over the years, long-distance running, basketball, tennis and table tennis were outlets for whatever stress and worry he had. He went on to coach and referee basketball. It was through basketball that he met Mavis Sidnam, who lived in Feilding. So, to Feilding Bill drove, every Saturday after the shop closed. In a year-long courtship, he missed only one Saturday. Bill's persistence paid off and he and Mavis married in 1970. Bill's brother Allan and Mavis' sister Mary soon followed suit, and also married. The four of them worked together in Hoon's Foodmarket. Success was ensured by the Hoons' unique skills, personalities and hard work. The four became Newtown icons, serving generations of locals with excellent produce, with their brand of good humour, friendly efficiency and unparalleled product knowledge. They were responsive to changing times, selling aubergines and asparagus alongside taro and green bananas. Bill and Mavis wanted their three children, Nicola, Justin and Damien, to have a different life to their own, and encouraged them into education and sport. The greatest gift they gave, though, was their time. In the days when there were 13 fruit and vege shops between Newtown's John and Mansfield streets, competition was fierce. And yet, the Hoons chose not to open their shop on Sundays, to give them precious family time. Ad Feedback Bill was proud of his children. He would say, "I've got an accountant, a software developer, and a doctor. That's not bad for an old fruiterer." In 1979, the old shop was demolished, and the new Hoon's Foodmarket was one of the first self-service fruit shops in Wellington. The brothers were a great team. Allan's expertise lay in buying and managing produce. Bill was the front man. Charming, charismatic, yet modest, Bill's heart was as big as his smile. He loved the customers, regardless of social status or ethnicity, and they loved him. He had a special empathy with the Samoan community and Bill helped many of them over the years providing for funerals, celebrations, and family meals. For Bill, running a successful business meant people first, not business first. That philosophy also applied to staff, and Bill included them in shared meals, fun and conversation after a hard day's work in the shop. Community involvement was also a part of Bill Hoon's life. He was a founding member of, and a tireless fundraiser for, the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre. When Bill and Mavis, Allan and Mary planned their retirement they also planned for a life beyond work. The foursome took up ballroom dancing, sometimes practising their steps in the back of the shop. Bill's retirement only lasted five years, but he and Mavis packed in a lot – travel, time with grandchildren, golf and, of course, dancing. Golf partner and fellow dance aficionado Major Yee told of he and Bill stopping on the fairway to finesse a particular dance move. When Bill was diagnosed with incurable stomach cancer last year, his decision, as always, was to do the best thing for his family. He chose the difficult path of chemotherapy. This would buy Bill and his family a precious six weeks to make arrangements and to say their goodbyes. He chose to spend his final days at Mary Potter Hospice, so the family home would not be filled with sad memories, and so Mavis and the family would not be burdened with his care. He was courageous and loving to the end. He guided his family through every step. He let them know that he was happy with his life. He was not afraid. He was at peace, and ready to go. More than 500 people attended his funeral, where he was remembered as a compassionate, caring, community-minded family man and friend, always ready with a joke, a hug, and a practical helping hand.PINKY AGNEW Sources: Mavis Hoon, Allan Hoon, Mary Hoon, Nicola Chu, Justin Hoon, Damien Hoon, Rachel Joe, Sharon Hoon, Jared Hoon, John Campbell, Major Yee, Allan Ngan, Andrew Young. Bill Hoon: b Wellington, July 5, 1943; m Mavis Sidnam, 2s, 1d; d Wellington, May 2, 2012, aged 68. Last updated 14:04 26/05/2012 http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/obituaries/6993964/Hardworking-businessman-with-charisma

Family business is a cultural hub on Hobson St

LIFE’S WORK: Barry Wah Lee lives above the family emporium and works there every day. The Wah Lees emporium has become a cultural icon in Auckland. Reporter Danielle Street had a chat over the counter with Barry Wah Lee to try and figure out what makes the place so appealing. Barry Wah Lee has dedicated most of his life to working in the store that was opened with the help of his grandfather more than a century ago. The Wah Lees emporium on Hobson St is a rickety red building crammed with goods ranging from pickled sea slugs, to Chinese medicines, tai chi fans, lanterns, pottery, seeds and spices. The emporium began life in 1904 as a co-operative fruit store that operated in Auckland's Chinatown in Grey's Ave. "My grandfather could speak English, so they probably roped him in and got him to look after the place," Mr Wah Lee says. "It stayed with him and all the kids. The business was eventually handed down to Mr Wah Lee's father George, who moved the store up to Hobson St. "We moved up here in 1966 when they started getting rid of Chinatown and wanted to build up Aotea Square," Mr Wah Lee recalls. At that time Barry was a teenager attending Auckland Grammar School. He remembers watching his father talking to the Chinese market gardeners who would stop in and buy sauces and grains on their way home. "I loved watching Dad chat to people. He seemed to have no end of things to talk about," he says. "I loved hearing his stories of pig hunting." Behind the counter and away from the public eye there are several wild pigs' heads affixed to the wall. Each one was hunted and killed by George, whose photograph hangs beneath them. "He actually never ate the meat but there was plenty of people who would come and snap it up." Life wasn't always simple for the Wah Lee family. The shop also functioned as a bank in the early days but the money was all spent on booze and women by an uncle, Mr Wah Lee says. "So as youngsters all the hard work was to pay back all those Chinese who had their money with us." These days the emporium is an Auckland institution and draws mostly European shoppers, but there isn't so much time for chatting. However, Mr Wah Lee manages to keep up the social aspect via Facebook. The business has amassed more than 11,500 followers, no small feat for such a tiny store. "It's less than Justin Bieber though," he jokes. "I don't know where the people are coming from, maybe they don't know what they are signing up for." Many of the followers reminisce about visiting the store as a youngster. Others just seem to enjoy Mr Wah Lee's philosophical rants. One fan writes: "My big sister first took me there when I was 10 years old. I still feel 10 when I pop in for a shop. I love Wah Lee's." Despite having studied Asian politics and economics at university, it seems that Mr Wah Lee's destiny is entwined with the family business. He still lives above the shop and works there every day. Last updated 05:00 27/03/2013 - © Fairfax NZ News http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/east-bays-courier/8471506/Family-business-is-a-cultural-hub-on-Hobson-St

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bledisloe Cup for service to horticulture

Bledisloe Cup for service to horticulture ANNA LOREN Last updated 05:00 08/08/2013 It's a long road from living in a barn to receiving your industry's highest honour. But market gardeners Joe and Fay Gock have done just that after nearly 60 years in horticulture. The Mangere couple has received the Bledisloe Cup for services to the industry at Horticulture New Zealand's annual awards dinner. The award was first presented by Lord Bledisloe in 1931 and looks very similar to the rugby trophy of the same name. It was a totally unexpected win. "We were surprised we nearly fell over backwards," Mrs Gock says. The pair, who are both in their 80s, describe their career path as "a hurdle all the way". Mr Gock came to New Zealand from his native China as a refugee in 1940. At 16 he began working alongside his father at a market garden in the Hawke's Bay before they moved to Mangere. Mrs Gock's father ran a fruit shop on Karangahape Rd but she thought she was destined for office work like most girls her age. It was the 1947 polio epidemic that launched her career in horticulture. She began working at her father's fruit shop during the mandatory four-month stand-down for all North Island schoolchildren - and never left. The young couple met at the fruit shop when Mr Gock delivered a load of produce. They married in 1956 and started their own growing business but government restrictions on Chinese people meant they weren't permitted to own land or build a house. Instead they lived for many years in a barn on Pukaki Rd. "For many years we were up to our noses in debt," Mrs Gock says. "It's not just pansies and roses - even the roses have prickles." Over time their business grew into the largest market garden in Mangere out of nearly 100 others. The pair led the industry in a number of areas, including growing seedless watermelon, using under-earth heating to grow kumara year-round and placing stickers on individual fruit - the first growers in the world to do so. They developed a disease-free kumara strain in the 1950s and later donated their stock to Northland farmers after their crops were devastated by black rot. In the 1980s Mr Gock developed and patented the Gock bushel-sized polystyrene box, which keeps broccoli fresh during transport and is still widely used. The Gocks now grow a wide range of crops and say they do it for the love of it. Ad Feedback "It's not a job for making money - there never was big bucks in it. Growing healthy food is a service to all mankind," Mrs Gock says. Mr Gock says the outdoors have always called to him. "To me, it's a challenge trying to grow things that other people can't grow. We just try to be a couple of steps ahead of the others." Horticulture New Zealand president Julian Raine says the Gocks are "pioneers" who have contributed decades of "selfless and hugely valuable service" to the industry. They have provided a great deal of assistance and advice to other growers as well as donating to schools and community groups over the years, he says. - © Fairfax NZ News http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/9012161/Gardening-pair-called-to-the-outdoors

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Marathon centurion eyes his second ton

Norman Chan became the fastest New Zealander to run 100 marathons in September and predicts his quest to reach 200 will happen even faster. What makes the feat even more impressive is that it has come from a complete lifestyle change. Seven years ago Chan was told by his doctor that there was a real chance he would not make it to 50 years of age due to his lifestyle. That wake-up call spurred a desire to get more active, starting with smaller runs then larger multisport events such as the Coast to Coast. Then he found marathon running - and has never looked back. "I did my first one, then thought ‘I can survive this and it's not too bad'," he said. "I did five marathons in my first year, now I can do up to 26 in a year. I lost 20kg for a start-off and it's been good." Chan, who is based in Christchurch, completed the Dunedin marathon in September; his 100th marathon. That effort made him the fastest New Zealander to run 100 marathons, completing the feat in six years, five months and eight days. By the time he lines up in the Ascot Park Hotel Southland Festival of Running on Sunday, he will have completed another five marathons - making the Southland marathon his 106th. The good-humoured wine salesman, who can spend up to $10,000 a year on travel to and from marathons, now believes he will reach his 200th marathon even faster than he did his 100th. "I started off pretty slowly, just doing five a year, now I know I can do more than 20 a year - I'm pretty durable - so I think the next 100 will be quicker," he said. Speed has become less of a factor as the years have gone on, he says. His fastest time is 3hr 39min. His slowest - a tough trail marathon - took 9 hours. Nowadays, he prefers to pace other people and, given the huge number of marathons he does every year, personal best times are no longer on his radar. Chan has retained traces of his old lifestyle - being on the road for a job means his diet often consists of convenience food - and he enjoys a beer, particularly after a hard run. But he's a far cry from his former days and, at age 53, is feeling better than ever. Sunday's Ascot Park Hotel Southland Festival of Running will be Chan's fourth Southland marathon. Sport Southland events manager Matt Sillars said it was great to have people like Chan returning to enjoy the oldest marathon in the southern hemisphere. Ad Feedback "What Norman has achieved is quite outstanding, and it's great that he continues to support the Ascot Park Hotel Southland Festival of Running," he said. "To run 100 marathons, when he's been used to a far more sedentary lifestyle, just shows what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. At the end of the day, whether you're doing a marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k - it's all about achieving a goal. "We're hoping plenty of Southlanders will be looking to achieve their goals in this year's event." The Ascot Park Hotel Southland Festival of Running incorporates the Southland Marathon, Half Marathon, McDermotts Coachlines 10k and The Southland Times 150 Years 5k. It is being held on Sunday and entries can be made at Sport Southland. For more details, see southlandfestivalofrunning.co.nz. - © Fairfax NZ News Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012

Beer is the secret to running 100 marathons

For Norman Chan, the secret to completing 100 marathons in six years is not about a strict diet or a rigid training plan - it is all about having a beer. The 53-year-old Christchurch wine salesman will become the fastest New Zealander to run 100 marathons on September 9 in Dunedin - six years, five months and eight days after his first one in April 2006. He will break the current record of nine years and two days held by Ingrid Frost, of Auckland, and will become the 37th member of the New Zealand 100 Marathon Club. Asked if he followed a training plan or ate special foods to keep him in top running shape, Chan said: "Hell no." His weekly intake features pies and hamburgers, up to a bottle of wine and at least five or six beers, and he runs casually between races. "Part of the way I look at it is have a beer, relax, enjoy the moment, and that's what I'm doing now. I'm not a typical marathon runner," he said. Chan began running marathons after completing the Coast to Coast and decided to set his sights on a new challenge. His first marathon took place on April Fool's Day. "I loved it. "I had a fabulous time," he said. His feats have included completing five marathons on five consecutive weekends and two marathons in one weekend. He has taken part in six ultra-marathons, including a 24-hour, 164-kilometre race. His fastest marathon was the Christchurch Marathon, which he ran in three hours 39 minutes, and the slowest was a trail marathon in Queenstown that he completed in nine hours 24 minutes. "That one was really, really hard." Chan no longer runs to beat times; he now uses his marathons to help other people. "I started off going for personal bests and then I started to realise that you're going to break down, you're not going to survive," he said. "Now I'm helping people. "I've decided to make myself a larger goal - pacing people, helping people with their goals." Although initially wanting to do more, he said the financial side of being a serial marathon runner was an obstacle. Chan reckoned he had spent well over $10,000 on travel and entry fees. Despite this, there is no slowing down for Chan, who has resolved to join the exclusive 200 club as well. "I just think it's really good fun and there are some fabulous people you meet. We do get called nutters, but that's what we are." - © Fairfax NZ News ASHLEIGH STEWART Last updated 05:00 31/08/2012 http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7584048/Beer-is-the-secret-to-running-100-marathons

Chan duo lead talented team to Oceania medals

New Zealand has struggled in fencing at international level, but that could be about to change if a group of young Cantabrians have their way. Several secondary school fencers are making their mark in the sport, which was evidenced by their results at the recent Australian age-group championships, and the Oceania championships, which were held in New Caledonia. Canterbury competitors picked up three medals at the Australian age-group nationals, with Burnside High's Wai Ling Chan winning silver in the girls' under-17 epee, and schoolmate Lucian Nightingale picking up a second placing in the under-17 boys' epee. Cashmere High's Sheldon Ogilvie added to the province's success, with a bronze in the under-15 boys' epee. The trio then backed up those pleasing performances, a few days later, at the Oceania championships. Chan dominated the competition, taking gold in her under-17 girls' epee event. It was her fourth Oceania age-group title. She also went to this year's youth world championships in Croatia, which she said exposed her to a higher level of fencing. Nightingale shone at the Oceanias, winning silver in the under-17 boys' epee, while Ogilvie picked up a bronze in the same event. Christ's College's Daniel Keleghan claimed bronze in the under-17 boys' foil. Anthony Goh, Ogilvie, and Nightingale joined up to win silver in the teams event. Fencing Institute coach Daniel Chan, who mentors the young fencers, said their results were testimony to their dedication and commitment. The fencers train four to five times a week, including sessions before school, and he said they had made heartening progress. They will be out for more glory at the upcoming New Zealand secondary school, and under-20 junior championships. The students have one of the best in the business to learn off, with Chan a Hong Kong representative at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where he advanced to the second round of the epee event. Daughter Wai Ling is now following in his footsteps, and is aiming to qualify for next year's Youth Olympics in China, along with Ogilvie. Chan Sr said fencing could be tough initially for beginners, but with perseverance, it became easier. "Fencing takes a long time to master the skills. A lot of people start, but not many stay in it. With fencing you have to put in a lot of practice to master the sport." He believed fencers need strong mental skills, agile footwork, solid technique, and a high fitness base to do well. - © Fairfax NZ News http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/sport/9009837/Chan-duo-lead-talented-team-to-Oceania-medals BRENDON EGAN Last updated 05:00 07/08/2013

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Missing tourist officially ruled dead by coroner

A Malaysian tourist who went missing on Aoraki Mt Cook in 2009 was today ruled dead by a coroner. Kok Liang Wong, 32, is believed to have died after falling down a steep, rocky gorge after attempting to walk down a track at night. Despite a large-scale two-day search, his body has never been found. At a coroner's inquest in Timaru today, police said there were no suspicious circumstances in his disappearance. He was not likely to have left the area, police concluded. Senior Constable Leslie Andrew, stationed at Twizel, told the hearing that Mr Wong had last been seen between 2.30pm and 5pm on September 30, 2009 when he confirmed a bus booking at the Mt Cook village youth hostel. The most probable area of his disappearance was a track known as Red Tarns - which is at the top of a two-hour return trek from Mt Cook village, Mr Andrew said. He said if descending at night, the lights of the village could be seen ahead but the track veered away and could be disorienting. Coroner Richard McElrea said it was possible Mr Wong left the track and got into difficulties. Mr Andrew referred to very steep, rocky terrain, with a "reasonable size" waterfall running through it. They could not search that area, even with specialist gear and dogs, and the likelihood of ever recovering Mr Wong's body was "very slim". Mr Wong's sister said that while he was "relatively fit and liked to walk", he had no experience in New Zealand's mountainous terrain. He had been due to fly from Christchurch to Melbourne on October 2. Coroner McElrea today found Mr Wong was likely to have died on September 30, 2009, after walking in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park where he "suffered misadventure with likely incapacitation and death soon after". A "very thorough" search and rescue operation had been carried out in a prompt manner over a number of days and all attempts were made to locate Mr Wong, initially alive, and thereafter to find his body. - APNZ By Kurt Bayer @KurtBayerAPNZ Email Kurt 6:38 PM Tuesday May 7, 2013

Pianist in a New York state of mind

By William Dart 2:53 PM Saturday Jun 15, 2013 US-based Henry Wong Doe is a product of AGS and Auckland University's School of Music. Photo / Rob Stoelker Henry Wong Doe is back from New York to play Stravinsky's Piano Concerto with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra tomorrow, alongside works by Antheil, Cresswell and Dean that must make one of the most intriguing programmes of the year. Although Wong Doe is based in the Big Apple and teaching at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he has not played the Stravinsky piece before and warns that "it's a really wild piece". "It's written for just piano and wind instruments and is very much like chamber music. It's intensely rhythmic but there are interesting melodic lines coming through, especially in the orchestra." Student days at Auckland University in the 1990s now seem well in the past, but for the sensitive, young Wong Doe, the School of Music was a new and welcome world. "So many of my musical skills were sharpened there but socially I really enjoyed being with musicians - especially after Auckland Grammar [School], where music had been very much a separate part of my life." Wong Doe chose not to go to Europe for further studies, as many friends did, but opted for America, which seemed "a much more open place with a greater variety of schools and teaching". He finally went to Indiana University in Bloomington. Ultimately, Wong Doe would complete his doctoral studies at Juilliard, with a thesis and presentation based on the mechanical piano or pianola, a curious instrument that has attracted composers from Stravinsky to Conlon Nancarrow. "It was such a challenge trying to find something to write about," Wong Doe confesses. "I'd been having limited success learning the Ligeti etudes and wondered whether these would work better on the pianola. I was convinced that a machine could do a better job. It wouldn't get excited, it wouldn't rush or have any problems of co-ordination." His graduation presentation, in New York's Carnegie Hall, alternated his own performances with those of a mechanical instrument and there were revelations. "I played Ligeti's 14th etude, followed by the pianola version. Afterwards, people said that, even with my inaccuracies, it was the more enjoyable performance. An instrument playing itself isn't so very exciting." Few New Zealanders have had as much experience on the competition circuit as this man. After coming sixth in the 2000 Sydney International Piano Competition, he was the audience favourite in Israel and Italy. Now aged 36, he can relax. "When you get too old to do them [competitions], it's almost a blessing," he smiles. And winning is not the most important thing. "On one level you might be competing with other people, but you're really competing with yourself. And I was lucky enough to play with some terrific orchestras. Appearing with the Israel Philharmonic was one of the highlights of my life." Wong Doe made his debut on Trust Records last year with an attractive collection of Gareth Farr's piano music. Having used Farr's The Horizon from Owhiro Bay as "a little something to clear the palate" in his Carnegie Hall recital, he is now recording this and the 11 other Landscape Preludes recently commissioned and premiered by Stephen De Pledge. "There are echoes of so many other things apart from the land in these pieces," he reflects, noting that Michael Norris' contribution, Machine Noises, has an unexpected connection with his fascination for mechanical music. "I like the whole idea of pushing the performer's co-ordination to its maximum." Performance What: Auckland Chamber Orchestra Where and when: Raye Freedman Arts Centre, 6 Silver Rd, Epsom, tomorrow at 5pm http://www.nzherald.co.nz/music/news/article.cfm?c_id=264&objectid=10890745

Wild West sex trade as Chow boys ride in

By Bevan Hurley @bevanhurley 5:30 AM Sunday Jun 30, 2013 Since the decriminalisation of prostitution, sex has become big business – and an attempt by two Wellington brothers to take over Auckland’s lucrative industry could put them on the Rich List An All Black, a politician and a Middle Eastern prince walk into a brothel. This is not a tawdry joke, but a smattering of the clientele who have enjoyed the pleasures of John and Michael Chow's sex clubs. The brothers brought the sex trade out of Wellington's seedy side streets and into the glaring spotlight when they opened their Mermaid strip club and brothel in the capital's Courtenay Place. "People said we were crazy for opening a strip club in the middle of town, that nobody would want to be seen walking in to a brothel," says elder brother John. Since then, they have snared up to 70 per cent of the capital's sex trade and they are about to launch an aggressive expansion for a similar share of the Auckland spoils. The Galaxy Club on Gore St is an upmarket brothel where, for a couple of hundred dollars, men can spend an hour "exploring their fantasies" with Ivy, KK or Tyla. On the ground floor, work is underway for the new Penthouse Club & Steakhouse. The Chows are shifting their Mermaid strip club to a new site on Karangahape Rd. And the jewel in the crown of this gigolo duo will be The Palace, a gleaming 15-storey club on Victoria St, across the road from that other towering monument to sin, SkyCity. Construction is being held up by a stoush with AIG Insurance over an unpaid insurance bill, which is set down for resolution in October in the High Court at Auckland. AIG corporate communications manager Nicola Vallance said the company was "unable to discuss the Chow Group claim at this time". Once the brothers' businesses are up and running - in about four years - the Chows will employ 400 prostitutes across five venues, earning the Hong Kong-born brothers millions of dollars and providing the cashflow for their expanding commercial property interests. It's an ambitious vision for two brothers who arrived in New Zealand in their pre-teens unable to speak English and who learned their business acumen working in their parents' takeaway store. And the opposition aren't taking it lying down. Bryan Le Gros, owner of the White House, a Queen St brothel, says: "I am not scared but everyone is trying to make a living. The Chows have a monopoly and get away with it." "We always had a code. It was like, you stay out of my town and I will stay out of yours. It was a bit like the old cowboy Westerns. John has set up office on Queen St, trisecting the three sites. He's the numbers man who handles the new business, acquisitions. He describes himself as "behind- the-scenes" and a bit shy. Michael has stayed in Wellington to continue running operations there. John has shifted his family to a $6.65 million Orakei mansion. Family isimportant to the Chows - especially brotherhood. The unbreakable bond between John and Michael is the key to their success. "You always trust your brother. For us, one plus one equals many, many ones. With two people, we can go 24 hours. I will work during the day and him during the night time." They used to fight as kids - and Michael would usually win. "Just kids' fights. Nothing crazy, same as any brothers. There are not many businesses we have come across that have brothers together. It's quite powerful if you can work together - it's one of the reasons we are so successful. The good time you can share. The bad times you can share the stress." Their relentless work ethic is summed in a story John likes to tell his employees. While getting his hair cut by his mother a few years back, she expressed concern that the boys were working too hard. "Because I'm the older brother, my mum tends to talk to me. She said to me 'why don't you guys slow down?' "I said, 'look, everyone wants to enjoy their life but we have certain obligations. You can't come to meetings and say, I want us to stay where we are. You have to be telling your manager I want 10 per cent, 20 per cent more profit.' After that, she never said that to me again." John is married and has two children, a son, 13, and a daughter, 10. "We are not a traditional Chinese family - make the money and save for the next generation. My kids need to make their own way." The Chows brought sex to Wellington's Courtenay Place in the late 1990s. Customers got over the supposed shame of being seen going into a brothel and business boomed, particularly after then-Mayor Mark Blumsky vowed to shut them down. Local politicians soon changed their tune, so much so that Blumsky's replacement Kerry Prendergast endorsed the brothers in their official video promotion. Their Wellington business once entertained a Middle Eastern prince, who turned up with a diplomatic protection squad of gun-toting bodyguards, John says. All Blacks and politicians have been known to celebrate there. John says there shouldn't be any shame in visiting a sex parlour. "Sex is everywhere. If I wasn't involved in the adult entertainment business I would be interested." In 2008, they began their expansion into Auckland. First the Mermaid club, then the Galaxy Club, and ultimately The Palace. The Chow brothers bought the 124-year-old Palace Hotel, on the corner of Federal St and Victoria St West, for $3.3m. They were converting it into a brothel when it began cracking and moving on November 18, 2010. The building was demolished several hours later, after the Auckland Council invoked emergency powers under the Building Act because it posed a danger to the public and adjacent properties. Chow Group had to pay $248,000 to Auckland Council for the cost of demolishing the inner-city heritage building, and the corner site has sat empty since. John still bristles at the suggestion that he somehow wanted the building to collapse. If the Chows' vision is correct, within four years the intersection will be New Zealand's answer to Times Square or Piccadilly Circus. A giant LED screen will beam out enough neon to compete with the coloured lights of the SkyTower. A giant LED screen will beam out enough neon to compete with the coloured lights of the SkyTower. What nobody has yet pointed out is that a small sex industry has already sprung up around the casino and convention centre. On Victoria St, next door to the brightly-painted Wong Kok Chinese restaurant, is a pink doorway marked "Thai Massage lady want," in English and Mandarin. Upstairs, at lunchtime on a weekday, there is asmell of Spray'n'Wipe, and three women working the day shift: masseuse Summer, working girl Paris, and a woman with a extraordinarily capacious bust. "It's business as usual," Summer insists. "We have been here nearly 14 years. There are five parlours around here, if you include the Chow brothers." She has not heard from the Chow brothers about their plans."No," she laughs, "they are the big bosses - I am just a little person." The Chow brothers, though, are set to make the neighbourhood Sex Central. The new brothel obtained Auckland Council consent amid a bitter public outcry last year. But among the many neighbourhood opponents, who included Sir Bob Jones, the most conspicuous neighbour had nothing to say: SkyCity did not make any application, for or against. John Chow says he has not had any direct contact with SkyCity but assumes this is where the majority of the clients will come from. Some Auckland sex industry bosses believe there is enough business for everyone. At the HQ Club, next door to the Galaxy Club, manager Cathy S says they have had visits from opposition owners. She is not concerned about the Chows' expansion: "We have our regular clientele. I think The Galaxy Club is more upmarket and will try to snatch the tourists." David Knott, owner-manager of NewZealand's oldest burlesque bar, Las Vegas Strip Club, says he welcomes the arrival of Mermaid's to K Rd. "I think it's good for us because it brings everything into one street. It makes K Rd more of a destination." He says attitudes, and clientele, are changing. "We get just as many girls coming in here as guys. There's no longer that long-coat brigade." However, other Auckland players, like Le Gros, see the Chows as wanting to take over. Last year, a "strip club turf war" broke out when Jacqui Le Prou tried to set up Calendar Girls in Wellington. The Chows (as well as police) successfully opposed a liquor licence for their rivals. The strip club has got around the ban by selling beer that contains 1 per cent alcohol, for $8 a glass. "I don't think Auckland needs any more strip clubs," Le Prou says. "I know of clubs that are struggling." Le Gros says: "The Chows are playing Monopoly - whether it's pulling a building down or stopping someone from getting a licence, they will take over. So look out Auckland, look out Hamilton. For a boy who was the only Asian at Naenae College in Lower Hutt, John is well accustomed to being an outsider. He didn't encounter racism, he says, but would like to see more high-achieving Kiwi Asians. "Name a successful Asian in New Zealand," he challenges. "But New Zealand is still quite a young country - in America you've got 200 years of immigration of Chinese people." He says he tries to use his "Asianness" to his advantage. "If you ask me a question I can say 'no English'. I actually do understand but it gives me time to think of the answer." The Chows have luxury homes, they dress in sharp Italian suits, they are driven around in Mercedes. But John says they don't have many hobbies or interests outside of business. They travel a lot, always learning about the sex trade and storing up ideas to bring back. They say they are worth well over $100m, but are not concerned at their continuing omission from the National Business Review Rich List. "For some reason. people on the Rich List don't seem to stay there long," John laughs. The brothers have travelled to sex industry conferences in Las Vegas twice in the past few years. "In America. it's no different from here. The sex business in 10 or 20 years' time will become more acceptable." Chow is a student of human nature and uses it to his advantage. He says lessons learned from their parents' takeaway store are still helping them make decisions. "I can tell everyone coming what sort of people they are. If they go straight to the counter and order without looking at the menu, you know they are a regular. If they are looking around, you know they are looking for the toilet. If they look hesitant, they are looking for change for the parking meter." The Chows are unapologetic about what they do - and they are unapologetic about who they are. "We are who we are. We don't need to go out looking for business." Read more: Student: 'The sex industry helps me get by' - Herald on Sunday http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10893792

Size matters more in the change room than the bedroom - research

Most men are more concerned about how they measure up against their male friends than what their girlfriends think of their penis size, a new study has found. While most men insisted it's not size that counts in the bedroom department, many admitted to still feeling insecure about how they compared to their male friends. Victoria University Doctorate of Clinical Psychology graduate Dr Annabel Chan Feng Yi carried out an online study of 738 men about their body image. She found most of the men, aged between 18 and 76, were insecure about their weight, build and even their penis size. But instead of being concerned over what their girlfriend's may think of their physique, many admitted it mattered most what their friends thought. "Men's pre-occupation with size was rarely to do with pleasing sexual partners or even appearing as a better sexual partner," Dr Chan said. "It was often more about competition with other men. Many felt most insecure about their size in environments where other men might see them, such as gym change rooms." She said those who suffered from "locker room syndrome" were actually content with their size when it came to sexual matters with their partner. But a desire to compete against other males led to an obsession with body building and being muscular - especially among homosexual men who were surveyed. "The research demonstrates that societal pressures on body image are certainly not unique to women and that while men share similar body image concerns they often don't have the appropriate forum to discuss them or adequate professional support to deal with them. "There is clearly a need to provide more research-based training for clinicians working in this field and public awareness to de-mystify and de-stigmatising the topic of male body image." The research also highlighted an urgent need to incorporate the experience of men facing obesity issues and its implications in further research, instead of the current one-sided focus on men's drive for muscularity, she said. But while men don't seem to put too much emphasis on what their partners think of penis size, recent research shows it is still very important to the modern woman. Women were shown several images of the male form with varying combinations of height, shoulder-to-body ratio and, of course, penis length. They were then asked to rate the attractiveness of each man - with penis size ending up the most influential factor, according to the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) earlier this year. Researchers at the University of Ottawa, Canada, found that while women's opinions were influenced by a variety of physical features - tall and broad-shouldered men tended to be favoured over shorter men with bigger waistlines - the size of a man's penis reigned supreme in the attractiveness stakes. But they did also find that it was important to those surveyed for penis size to be in proportion with the rest of the body. - DAILY MAIL 11:45 AM Friday Jun 14, 2013 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10890502

Buy Crikey: Widen outlook at Asian stores

Ni hao. Everywhere you look are Chinese and other Asian supermarkets that offer competitive prices on fruit, veg, meat, seafood, rice, soy sauce and hundreds of other products. Yet Kiwi customers will often walk in, wander around and leave with just one product, such as rice or chopsticks, says Michael Chan, owner of the Tai Ping supermarket in Porana Rd, Wairau Valley, North Shore. I started off relatively gingerly - at the Lim Supermarket in Mt Albert. On my first visit, I left with a packet of salted peanuts in their shells. Over the years we've built up a long list of favourites from these supermarkets, including lunchbox snacks such as Indonesian Mamee Monster noodle snacks and Korean Kim Nori seaweed packs. When I sneaked the latter into my son's lunchbox he came home gushing about how delicious it was and how he has to fend off drooling friends whenever he takes Kim Nori to school. It's hard to know what you're buying sometimes and I have strategies: • Buy something new at each visit. • My latest revelation was dried shredded squid, which is high in protein, low in fat, and yummy. • Google it. This week I found that lily bulb pieces can be cooked into "Lily-stuffed Pears", "Hundred Get-together Shrimp" and "Lily Bulb Congee". • Corner a member of staff and ask. If the first one doesn't speak good English, he or she will always find someone to help. • Ask a customer as many are often delighted to help a linguistically challenged Kiwi. • Read the backs of packets. There is usually some information in English that tells you what's inside. I did price comparisons on products that I buy from Tai Ping and Countdown and, in most cases, it was cheaper to go Chinese. It was possible to buy a whole kilogramme of dried egg noodles for $2.50 at Tai Ping, compared to $2.29 for 280g at Countdown. Raw peanuts, dried chickpeas, Australian Sun Rice, Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce and many other items were cheaper at Tai Ping. Some were almost half the price. Casting my journalist eye over Asian supermarkets gave me new insights. I'd always bypassed the fish and butchery sections, yet in Tai Ping's fish section, there was fresh whole tarakihi for $7.99/kg and, for an extra $1 a kg, the obliging staff member filleted it for me and chopped the remains for my cat. In the butchery, I was astounded to find lean pork meat for $8.99/kg, compared to $12.99/kg 250m down the road at the Mad Butcher. Finally, just do it. Take a trip to your local Chinese, Korean, Thai or Japanese supermarket and broaden your culinary experience. More deals • Aroy-D Sweet Chilli Sauce for Chicken, 720ml, $2.99 at The Tofu Shop branches. • Tofu King brand tofu. Two pieces (340g), $1.99 at Panmure Fresh. • Philippines Gracio whole pineapples, $1.69, Fresh & Save, Manukau. • Cock brand Thai curry pastes, 400g, $2.70 at The Tofu Shop branches. • Marukome Japanese Nama Wakae Miso, 216g a 12-pack, $1.89 with Onecard at Countdown (today only). - Herald on Sunday By Diana Clement 5:30 AM Sunday Jul 14, 2013 By Diana Clement Email Diana 12 | Most Liked Gavin Whitelaw (Italy) 09:26 AM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 There are some great vegetable food products native to Asia and especially China. However, try to avoid anything actually grown in China. Heavy metals and pesticides (and hormones in crustacea) were recently reported by the BBC to be 20-fold (not 20%) above the absolute top allowable level in around 25 to 30% of imports from China into Europe. Be especially careful of dried fungi - these typically grow on mine tailings and are full of toxic heavy metals. Herbal remedies are almost 100% over the very liberal accepted levels for pesticides. Brightly coloured sauces and sauce powders from India are largely composed of prohibited colour additives, and if they are ayurvedic they contain dangerous heavy metals for which there is no safe level at all. Make sure that what you're buying was raised or caught in NZ. Make your own sauces from local base materials - the conditions in sauce making factories in Asia are generally terrible. 13 likes Thinker (East Auckland) 01:44 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 I frequent asian supermarkets and indian spice shops all the time. They often have good quality bulk buy packets of herbs and authentic spices from all over the world that would make Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson proud and at half the price of regular supermarkets. Sadly with very few English signs many of their produce goes untouched by me because I dont know what it is. 2 Evan (New Zealand) 01:45 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 Anyone spending a while googling China, farming practices and the environment is bound to think twice about the coins saved by taking (say) a can of Watties asparagus compared to Delish Kiwi-label China grown/produced asparagus. Oh yea - it's inspected; be comforted and forget about their melamine milk! Here is one link: Cheap food from China How about high aluminium levels in those yummy cheap noodles your kids love? Or the super-white skinned, super cheap garlic cloves that nature didn't give you; only China. How I wish the government had the guts to require country-of-origin labeling.!! Oh, and the pork? Mad Butcher's is all NZ. The other? ST (Auckland Central) 01:45 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 No worries on buying ethical food from any supermarket. But it's so such a limiting range when I do my best to avoid palm oil, flavour enhancer 625, 635, and seek ethical canned goods. 0 Lunar One 01:45 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 It's beautiful having alternatives when one shop seems to cater for people with prams and trolleys, and other shop favoured with people just carrying a paper pag. 3 CityLimits (New Zealand) 02:16 PM Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 Do try the round 'moon cakes' served at Chinese New Year. If you like peanuts or almonds, these powdery biscuits are delicious. The boxes are never marked in English. Look for a picture of a round biscuit moulded with a character in the middle. Dried jackfruit snacks are awesome. Find them in the snack section. It's a banana-mango taste with a tinge of bitterness. Moreish. Try the pastry coated peanuts ('Cracker Nuts') in a variety of flavours including garlic and if you're brave, hot and spicy. These go down well at parties. Make sure you check the freezer for frozen steamed buns. You can free-flow them from the bag to your microwave and they are ready in a minute. Usually, there are beef, pork and vegetarian options. Yummy! A cautionary note or two: if the veges for sale aren't fresh, chances are that the meat isn't either. Be very careful when buying meat. Be aware of expiry dates on packaged goods, some of the more dubious shops specialise in buying expired goods and selling them for full price. Expiry dates on Asian goods are expiry dates, not 'best before' dates. The food must be thrown away if it is expired. 4 Kiwi- born&bred (South Auckland) 08:13 AM Monday, 15 Jul 2013 I love going into 'ethnic' food stores. There are many things that you can find that aren't typically available in supermarkets. And most times you can get someone to follow you around to answer your questions. Straightarrow (Alfriston) 10:36 AM Monday, 15 Jul 2013 It's really good to get exotic ingredients these days, along with ideas in how to use them. By the way, what on earth is a "veg"? 1 Kiwi Girl (Auckland Region) 10:36 AM Monday, 15 Jul 2013 One of the problems when it comes to non Asians venturing into Asian supermarkets is the language barrier. It is difficult to ask questions about the products and a lack of knowledge about what to do with products is a big hinderence to people wanting to try something new. Another problem is that New Zealand food labeling rules are not always obeyed and unless you can read mandarin you have a problem. I have also been put off from purchasing products in shops when I have found that the use by dates on some products have been removed. So for many people like me Chinese supermarkets are a novelty, somewhere to browse but not to purchase with the exception of fruit and vegetables although the quality is not always the best even if the prices are good. 1 Northbloke (Auckland Central) 09:57 AM Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 Kiwi Girl One of the problems when it comes to non Asians venturing into Asian supermarkets is the language barrier. It is difficult to ask questions about the products and a lack of knowledge about what to do with products is a big hinderence to people wanting to try something new. Another problem is that New Zealand food labeling rules are not always obeyed and unless you can read mandarin you have a problem. I have also been put off from purchasing products in shops when I have found that the use by dates on some products have been removed. So for many people like me Chinese supermarkets are a novelty, somewhere to browse but not to purchase with the exception of fruit and vegetables although the quality is not always the best even if the prices are good. show more Food labeling is really important and the good Asian supermarkets comply. I suggest you report any that you find who are not, and change to another (there's plenty of choice) - No idea though who you would report to though? Just dial 0800 NANNYSTATE? Kiwimac 09:57 AM Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 Wow. Are Kiwis so parochial that they need help in a supermarket like this?! What on earth do they do when travelling in The World Outside New Zealand?! Kiwimac 09:57 AM Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 Why would you go to an Asian grocer to buy inferior Australian rice? Rice from SE Asia or India is much better.