Sejal Patel is impressed with New Zealand. Impressed by the city and the environment, but most of all by the equality and tolerance we show to each other.
The 27-year-old business owner migrated here four years ago and see beggars outside her shop every day.
‘‘But when they come in my shop they’re really honest,’’ she says.
‘‘Other customers see them the same way, as equals.
‘‘If it’s in India they feel sad because they are seen in a different way [because of the caste system] and we shouldn’t because they’re also human,’’ she says.
Ms Patel migrated from Anand, India, four years ago after she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Hindi.
She runs the business with her brother.
‘‘In India I just finished study and came over here.
‘‘I was really interested in business so I just thought I’d start with the small business.
‘‘It’s good to do business over here because the systems are good. I like the people, they’re so friendly.’’
‘‘The culture is different to India.
‘‘In New Zealand it’s more open-minded and women have more freedom.’’
She is not concerned about safety, though admits it can be worrying stocking cigarettes, especially when the retail price keeps climbing.
And she cannot understand why young people take up smoking.
‘‘I don’t like the teens who smoke,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s not the teens’ fault . . . they don’t have the right person to advise them. I feel so sad for them.’’
Despite working long hours and the responsibility of running a business, she manages to take a holiday every year within New Zealand or to Australia.
At Christmas she is always surprised by generous customers who give her cards and scratchies bought from her shop.
‘‘If they win lotto, they give a small amount, they’ll give us $1 or $2 and I feel like ‘oh my god, people are so kind’.’’