Esther Lim, Sample Machinist
"I do everything here, jackets, men’s pants, ladies pants, everything, I do everything. I just do my job and then I’m happy, I don’t think too much about it."
I’m from Malaysia. I had a girlfriend in Auckland Hospital, I came here to look after her. Then I got a job. I came here and made lots of friends. My first job I worked in Ponsonby. Zambesi is my second job, I’ve worked here 27 years.
At first, I thought New Zealand is very beautiful, but it’s very quiet, there was not much Chinese people. But kiwi people, everyone says ‘Hello, good morning, how are you?’ It’s very different. And the shops close very early. In [Malaysia] you can go to a bar, you go to singing and karaoke, it’s very different.
Meeting Chinese people in New Zealand was very hard. I got my boyfriend, I met him shopping, and then partying, where all the Chinese people come together. Now I have a lot of Chinese friends. I went to the temple in Howick and met a lot of Chinese friends.
I started sewing in Malaysia when I was 15, a very small girl. I worked at a men’s tailor, everyone was very good, worked so many years doing the mens sewing. After that I trained to do womenswear. Then I taught people how to sew, and make patterns. It was very good, but very hard, there’s too many students, the school was very big.
I tell people I am doing the sewing for Zambesi. I do everything here, jackets, men’s pants, ladies pants, everything, I do everything. I just do my job and then I’m happy, I don’t think too much about it.
If I tell Kiwi people I work for Zambesi they say ‘Oh yes, that’s a very good place!’ But for Chinese people, it’s not very known.
This year is my last year but I hope one day I can come back again. Zambesi is a very good boss. I can’t believe I’m leaving New Zealand, I’ll miss the weather, my temple friends, and my job too.