Meet Kea member Melody Guo

Melody GWhere are you from and what is your background?

I was born in China, and I’ve lived in NZ for most of my life. I studied Law and Arts at the University of Auckland, and I recently finished my Masters in Chinese Business Law at Fudan University Shanghai. I worked as a legal consultant while I was in Shanghai, advising foreign companies on various aspects of Chinese Law. I started working for the New Zealand China Council upon my return to NZ.

 

What made you come back to NZ?

The choice to come back to NZ was not straightforward, I felt torn between two countries. My family is in NZ, and Shanghai was becoming environmentally unhealthy to live, but more importantly, working with the NZ China Council allows me to continue my ties with China. I hope through my small efforts, the relationship between the two countries will become closer, especially the relationship between young people of the two countries. I see many opportunities where China and NZ can complement one another and build partnerships. I wish to use my skills and abilities to facilitate this process, no matter where I am.

 

Tell us about your career path and what you are doing now.

I remember writing down my career path after my internship in HK, I felt so sure and secure in my decision…I was going to become a HK lawyer. It was a clean graph, with precise timelines. Then almost subconsciously, I started another one, this time with squiggly lines and big headings/my dreams. For better or worse, I followed this second graph. I may not have a specific career path, but I’m guided by my dreams and what I want to achieve in life: bring people from different cultures together, travel avidly, and help others whenever I could.

As part of the NZ Inc, the New Zealand China Council works with its Chinese counterpart to hold forums for delegations from both New Zealand and China. We organise a wide range of events for New Zealand’s private and public sectors. Our objectives for this year are to promote Chinese language learning, to encourage bilateral investment, and to inform the NZ public on accurate information about China. We often work with other NZ organisations as well when the opportunity arises. The New Zealand China Council is also a neutral point for collaboration: recently we brought different young leadership groups that focus on China together, for them to have a more streamlined voice on the NZ China Council board and to have more opportunities for collaboration. See more info on our website www.nzchinacouncil.com

 

Do you leverage your Chinese culture and upbringing in your current role?

Definitely. I communicate with Chinese organisations that we work with regularly, to keep each other updated on what’s happening in each country, and to share ideas and visions. Without my cultural heritage and upbringing, it would be more difficult for me to communicate and exchange ideas so fluently. It is easier to convey ideas when both parties have a mutual background.

 

On a personal level, what motivates you?

Many things: the beautiful nature that reminds me that I’m part of something that’s much bigger than myself, my worries would then gradually drift away, filled instead with renewed energy; books, art and TED talks, this is very geeky, but I find it easy to escape into another world through other people’s stories, they inspire me, and let me see things from a different perspective; My dreams, and finding people that share my dreams…people want to establish partnerships between NZ and China for a variety of reasons. Most of the businesses want their trade to thrive in the Chinese market, which seems to grow eternally, especially with the increased number of middle-class. For me, I believe strong partnerships in education, technology, and entrepreneurship could be beneficial for both countries, and effectively target many of the 21st century issues, such as poverty, pollution, food safety, and so on. By finding other people that share this dream, we could potentially turn this into action.