There is a strong connection to Otago and New Zealand from the early goldrush days in the 1870s. Five generations later, Choie Sew Hoy’s great-grandson, Donald Sew Hoy’s family currently manages a trading company, Glacier Investments Ltd with a long history.
Choie Sew Hoy (1838-1901) arrived in New Zealand from Guangzhou, China in 1868. He later became a famous Chinese goldminer and food merchant in Queenstown and Dunedin. So the Sew Hoy Company was established in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1869.
He invented a steam-powered gold dredge with Scottish engineers in Dunedin in 1887, which dredged up gold and sparked a gold-dredging boom in Otago. He was recognised as the most successful goldminer in New Zealand.
Choie was inducted into the New Zealand Business of Fame in 2017, remembered as a goldminer, merchant and entrepreneur. This made the large Sew Hoy extended family very proud.
Choie’s grandson and Donald’s father, Hugh Sew Hoy OBE (1901-1996) opened Sew Hoy & Sons Ltd to manufacture clothing in New Zealand so the Sew Hoy garment manufacturing company was established in 1955.
In the 1960s-1980s, Hugh was regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading garment manufacturers in his time. The House of Sew Hoy designed garments became well known throughout New Zealand.
In 1971, Sew Hoy & Sons Ltd won a prestigious Export Award from the New Zealand Government. In 1981, Hugh received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal in honour for his outstanding services to New Zealand business and community.
Sew Hoy & Sons Ltd became a major employer with over 700 staff and 6 factories in Dunedin and Christchurch. Donald Sew Hoy, MD was a spokesperson for the New Zealand Apparel industry during negotiations for the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1980s.
In 1990, Donald Sew Hoy QSM and Jennie Sew Hoy QSM established Glacier Investments Ltd as a clothing importer and wholesaler in Dunedin, then relocated to Auckland for business expansion in 2001.
Glacier Investments Ltd have been manufacturing in China for 30+ years with outsourced factories in China and Bangladesh, which produced over 3 million garments per year for major retail chains and department stores in New Zealand and Australia.
On 7 April 2008, Donald and Jennie were invited to accompany the Prime Minister, Hon. Helen Clark and her delegation to Beijing, to witness the signing of the historic New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (NZCFTA) in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. New Zealand was the first OECD country to sign a free trade agreement with China.
Currently, Choie’s great-great granddaughter, Angela Sew Hoy (BCom MBA) works as a director at Glacier Investments Ltd with her parents, Donald and Jennie Sew Hoy. In 2021, Glacier Investments Ltd now continues its journey to evolve as a New Zealand food and beverages exporter for the global market - Simply Kiwi.