Haruna works for Aotea Gifts, overseeing and managing the online shopping site for the shop located on Albert Street in Auckland CBD.
Haruna majored in Environmental Science and gained a degree in geology in Japan. To further her education overseas, she enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma course at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch after studying English for one year in its partner organisation. Haruna started working for Aotea Group in Christchurch, but after the earthquake in 2011, all of three shops were closed, and she was offered a transfer to Auckland.
When asked about the point of difference of Aotea Gifts, Haruna points out that the shop caters for customers from all over the world, not focused on Japanese or Chinese only. The shop owner is a New Zealander, the general manager is an Australian, and the staff consist of Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Colombian, Thai, Malaysian, Indian and others.
The physical shop is doing well, and its online site is growing fast. As well as New Zealand residents, customers from the US, Australia and China place orders online. Haruna enjoys interacting with online customers, not only through email but also on the phone and fax, and finds it very satisfying when she can help them.
The other selling point of Aotea Gifts is that many products are made in New Zealand, which include healthcare and beauty products, Merino wool and Maori products. Among a wide range of products and souvenirs in the shop, Haruna recommends Propolis Toothpaste. It is very popular as handy souvenir, and many people want to buy more once they try it. I think it has a nice and mild flavour of propolis, not like the strong minty taste of common toothpastes.
Haruna spends her free time walking in the neighbourhood. “Viewing the sunset in St. Heliers is amazing!” she also loves sitting in a local café, with a cup of coffee, reading a biography. Haruna is a great fan of New Zealand white wines, and as for reds, she is passionate about Destiny Bay Winery on Waiheke Island.