Owner im­pressed

Central Leader - - NEWS -

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’.’’

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