Our Employees

The heart of any retail business are its people and the way they communicate with customers. We seek friendly staff that enjoy selling. Where possible we also seek those that have the skills of additional languages.

Aotea Gifts provides a structured career pathway in Tourism across various roles and locations.

As many of our staff have been from offshore locations, we recognise that the experience of living and working in New Zealand is unfamiliar to some. To maximise the outdoor “Kiwi” experiences that staff and their children can have, since 2018 we have supported swimming programs for staff to encourage this personal development and safety benefits.

Aotea Gifts Swimming Certificate

We recognise that for many of our staff their working environment is their initial New Zealand family. As a family owned business we are mindful that these workplace interactions are important and must be based on Fun and Respect. Most importantly, the Aotea Whanau is based around the energy that our employees bring with them.

Working as the Group Accountant allows me to face different fun projects and tasks daily, every day is different. Thanks to the caring Hanson bosses that provide continuous learning resutled in me achieving my Chartered Accountant Certificate. I love the company culture and enjoy working with everyone.

As Operations Manager, my days are filled with exciting projects and dealing with our wonderful staff and suppliers. I love being a part of the Aotea Family because of the company values and culture. The mentorship that I have received from the Hansons' over the years is invaluable and I am very greatful to them as that has shaped my career and changed my life forever.

Working for Aotea Gifts has given me a huge range of skills from selling in store right through to top management skills. Aotea feels like an extended family as everyone supports each other no matter what level you are. I liked Aotea Gifts so much that I returned after working for another company for 4 years.

I started to work at Aotea Gifts Queenstown store in January 1993 on a working holiday. My first impression of the store was full of energy, all staff were friendly and supportive. I was very excited to be a member of the Aotea family. The management people helped me to take advantage of my career in my previous job and I also developed my career in everyday store operation. I left Aotea for 9 years to spend time with my children and I have rejoined part time. I’ve been working at Aotea for 19 years! What I’d like to tell you about Aotea most is that Aotea always looks after and supports staff like family. And also Aotea is a multicultural workplace and there is an atmosphere to respect each other. I’m proud to say I am a family member of Aotea.

I started working for Aotea Gifts in 2013 as a Sales Associate, at that time I never even thought of working in retail. The store manager at that time said they were looking for an English speaking person and would I be interested? After a little thought I decided to give it a go, so an interview was arranged. They seemed to like me and so I started in sales at Aotea Gifts Queenstown. I was given training and had to absorb a lot of knowledge regarding products and promotions. After three months I was asked if I would like to work in a new store opening in the Queenstown Mall, I agreed and went on. That's where it all started.... I was given opportunities dressing windows and arranging products, while at the same time selling my heart out. So up until the present time I don’t just think of my work as a job! I enjoy the challenges that come forward. The team I’ve worked with in the past were like family, as they are to the present day. To sum up; Aotea is like a big family to me, and at this difficult time I feel proud to help keep the name; Aotea strong and get through this pandemic.

It’s coming to 9 years of my time with Aotea Gifts. I was hired as a sales associate in December 2012 in one of Aotea Gifts’ branch stores - Koha Queenstown, and from there I had grown and been promoted to Duty Manager a couple of years later. In 2017, I was given the opportunity to be a Store Manager in Aotea Gifts Mall Store and I was happy to take on the challenge. Being a 100% Kiwi owned and operated company, Aotea Gifts has always been able to identify good team members and give them space to grow as well as help them with their personal life, it has made the staff working for them feel part of their family. The family culture is very strong in Aotea Gifts, that’s my favourite part of working here.

I come from Taiwan. I've been working in Aotea Gifts for around 8 years. I was a Sales Associate for the first year in Aotea Gifts Queenstown where I learned how to work in a multicultural environment. Aotea team members are from around the world which means we truly are a melting pot of cultures, languages and beliefs. Starting in 2013 through until 2019, Tekapo stores were a huge challenge for me. My role was Administrator and Category Coordinator of two stores. I still remember that In 2013, Tekapo was a small town with a beautiful sky in the middle of nowhere. My partner; Frankie and I started to set up athe first Tekapo store where I truly met-up with our Founding Director; Peter Hanson. I really enjoyed working with him and learned a lot from him, such as how to be a good team leader, a good listener, be more effective at execution and about giving and taking...etc., he was the best mentor in my NZ life. I could feel heart beating while working here, therefore, I treated the Tekapo stores like my own company. As I mentioned before, Tekapo is in the middle of nowhere which means most things are limited, for example, Tekapo stores only have a small team, everyone needs to be learn time management and multitasking. These skills were crucial, especially when we opened our second Tekapo store in 2017. We used limited resources to maximize workflow. Moreover, my partner and I were like the team's Dad and Mom in Tekapo, we took care of our team members not only in the workplace, but also their personal lives. Everything was together; we celebrated when we achieved store goals, cried when team members departed, laughed while playing Wii games and got angry when someone naughty. We were a small family in Tekapo. I had an unforgettable experience and good memories. In 2019, time to move forward, my partner and I designed to move to Christchurch and special thanks to Peter gave us an opportunity for relocation. Aotea Gifts Christchurch is the 3rd store we set up. While we still endeavor to achieve our goals and looking forward to the harvest, suddenly, the biggest challenge for the 21st Century - COVID-19 pandemic - is dramatically happening until now. All of us have been learning a lot from this pandemic, such as how to use the new online system, how to sell products on social media and how to broaden sources and reduce expenditure...etc. Although pandemic is a tremendous challenge to both individuals and the businesses, let us encourage each other “Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine”.

Aotea Gifts is a place where I have received professional training and grow my personal skills. I have been working in Aotea Gifts since Aug 2010, I started at KOHA Queenstown as a salesperson and was promoted to a supervisor after one year, I learned how to provide a world class shopping experience and help customers to find their needs, which makes customers feel grateful to shop with us. In Nov 2012, I was promoted to Store Manager of Aotea Gifts Tekapo, I’m very pleased that the founder of Aotea - Peter Hanson, he taught me how to be a good mentor. I remember when we needed to find an accommodation for Tekapo staff, there was one house with 5 bedrooms that was cheap, Peter and I went to view the house, it was single glazed and very cold, Peter said “we can’t let staff stay in here, staff will easily get sick here”. We ended up renting a modern three bedroom motel unit for staff at three times the price! What I learned is that we need to look after our staff and keep them healthy. Furthermore, in 2013 winter, Peter came to visit Aotea Gifts Tekapo, when he shook hands with one of our staff, Peter noticed their hand was very cold. He asked me to give every staff a set of Kapeka Merinosilk accessories, a set of Kapeka Merino bodywear plus a pair of UGG sheepskin boot, then he was giving me the credit, saying to the team that I had requested it. A boss like him will make you want to do everything for him. I have learned a lot from Aotea Gifts such as Leadership, Marketing and problem solving etc... The most important is the concept of “Take Care Of Your Employees And They’ll Take Care Of Your Business”.

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