It’s just a little over a month since the Christchurch massacre.
A time of overwhelming grief and sadness for our Muslim families and for Christchurch and our country as a whole.
The painful acceptance and slow heal continues as we reach out and become a more united and inclusive country.
During the late 1970’s I was a stay-at-home mum with 2 small babies.
We were struggling financially and jobs were scarce.
So we decided to look off shore.
My husband took a job in Hong Kong and we headed overseas on our first plane trip with 2 babies and a couple of suitcases.
We moved directly into a multi storeyed apartment with essentially Cantonese speaking residents.
My husband headed to work the next day and I cried and raged.
I was fearful of everyone and everything and just wanted to go home.
The heat, the smells, the cockroaches, the late night clack of mahjong boards, and the strange Tai Chi ritual in the quaint park below that, to my horror, had been an apartment building until a recent typhoon.
Then very slowly things started to change.
The doorman at our apartment starting nodding to me and fussing over the girls.
I smiled more, made friends, found shops, a beach, parks, I even started learning Mahjong and life started to feel good.
Two years later we transferred to Thailand.
But this time there was no culture shock and the fear was gone, even frogs in the toilet bowl or green snakes in our garden were just a part of life.
Our 3rd daughter was born in Thailand and we didn’t return to New Zealand for 10 years having made life-long friends both local and international.
Back in New Zealand in late 1999 we decided to introduce a Zip-Off Lambswool Magne-Sleep but found all materials, including the Lambswool Sliver-knit, would need to be imported.
And this is still the case.
So we had no reservations about looking to Asia for a company who could manufacture our product to exact specifications.
We had worked and lived alongside these people for many years and knew we could build up a trusted, working relationship.
And now, nearly 20 years on, this is still the case.
Often we can be hesitant to live beyond our familiar shores or shy away from embracing other cultures, but it can be very rewarding.