Whenever Hiep Le visited Wellington, her family would ask to go to bubble tea shop Gong cha.
When her hours as an international student co-ordinator at Freyberg High School were reduced, she decided to open Gong cha in Palmerston North.
She bought the Palmy franchise with Wellington-based Jimmy Phan, an experienced Gong cha operator.
Gong cha was founded in Taiwan in 2006 and now has shops in more than 20 countries. The business' name comes from the act of offering tea to the Chinese emperor.
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The first New Zealand shop was opened in Auckland in 2015 and Palmerston North is the 24th shop in Aotearoa.
Gong cha opened on Saturday in The Square after a VIP event on Friday evening.
As well as tea, it sells yoghurt drinks and smoothies. Customers can choose their sugar and ice levels.