Wanaka’s cham­pion

In the lat­est in a se­ries on the ex­pand­ing Asian love af­fair with Wanaka, re­porter Mar­jorie Cook meets Tai­wanese tour guide Richard Chen.

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

Richard Chen’s love af­fair with Wanaka seems des­tined to never end.

The Tai­wanese tour company op­er­a­tor has been bring­ing Man­darin-speak­ing com­pa­tri­ots to Wanaka for at least nine years and one day Chen hopes to con­vince his wife Michelle to move south.

Michelle Chen al­ready has a head start on her hus­band. While Chen shut­tles back­wards and for­wards be­tween Taipei and other des­ti­na­tions, she works for a trad­ing company in Auck­land.

But Chen says his wife has yet to be con­vinced about a per­ma­nent move to the lakeside re­sort that has cap­tured his heart.

A key rea­son why Chen brings hun­dreds to Wanaka each year, is that he loves Wanaka peo­ple.

‘‘Wanaka sup­pli­ers work as a team. For ex­am­ple, Sue [Pi­hama] at River Jets. She is just happy to help.’’

Another rea­son is the happy faces of his clients as they leave ci­ties and shops be­hind and head

Photo: MAR­JORIE COOK/FAIR­FAX NZ 630351502

Tourism trio: From left, Ge­off Marks of Lake Wanaka Tourism, tour guide Richard Chen of Taipei, Tai­wan and coach driver Craig McKeitch of Ash­bur­ton, at Edge­wa­ter Ho­tel in Wanaka last week.

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