Raymond Huo Co-chairman, New Zealand Chinese Language Week Trust.

What is your Chinese New Year wish?

Low mortgage rate stays on but not to push the property price super-higher or stunt our economic growth.

What does Chinese New Year mean to you?

Chinese New Year is a time for families and friends to get together. The New Year's Eve dinner is called "reunion dinner". We are Kiwis, although made in China. So we get to have two such important "reunion dinners" Chinese New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve.


What are your goals for the Year of the Monkey?

I had my sixth book "Blue Sky, White Cloud from 100 per cent Pure NZ" in Chinese and released in Beijing last October, but my friends here complained and asked me to write a book that they can understand. One of my goals for this year may be a new book written in English on NZ-Chinese business or "Chineseness".

What's the most interesting thing about you and your culture?

The date for Chinese New Year changes each year, determined by the Chinese lunar calendar. According to the lunar calendar, I often get two birthday celebrations.

How did you celebrate the festival as a child??

I spent my childhood in an isolated hospital in a rural countryside in China. My parents were medical doctors there and helped many underprivileged people. Usually several days before the New Year's Eve many of their patients were busy delivering their thank-you gifts to us as a gesture of gratitude. I therefore tried all sorts of different food there were no food quality issues then.

What traditions do you still keep, and how do you celebrate Chinese New Year today?

Traditionally, on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month we would eat Laba congee, a ceremonial porridge cooked with red bean, dried fruit, lotus seeds. We will always have a get-together meal on the New Year's Eve, often joined by at least four other families.

How will you be celebrating Chinese New Year?

This year is different. We will have an entire weekend off plus a Monday. We will probably take kids to visit a local blueberry orchard and Pick-You-Own together with friends.

What animal zodiac sign were you born under, and do you think there are similarities between you and your animal sign?

I can be the Rabbit or Dragon according to different Lunar Calendar interpretations. No, I haven't given it much thought.