GO magazine


Discovering the dreams that drive us

A word from Managing Director of Honda New Zealand, Nobuya Sonoda

Welcome to your new issue of GO magazine! 

Here at Honda we’re all geared up for the new season of Formula 1 and excited to be working once again with Red Bull, delivering another incredible Honda engine to help propel them to victory.

We’re also proud to be powering Kiwi IndyCar superstar and six time champion Scott Dixon for the 2024 schedule. 

Racing is part of our DNA at Honda. Our rich history runs right back to the 1960s with Formula 1, and we’ve been on the track ever since. For us, developing these engines is the ultimate test of quality and innovation - what we do has to be world leading every time.

Right now we’re having a great time with Red Bull and in 2026 we'll begin our partnership with Aston Martin - so new adventures lie ahead. As an avid Formula 1 fan myself I’ll be loving every minute of it.

Racing, however, is only one part of our mission. Honda has always been focussed on how we contribute to society. In the 1970s, our founder Soichiro Honda set a vision of ‘Blue Skies for our Children’ and with that came the challenge to create a CVCC engine in time for the USA’s Automobile Emission Control Act.  We are also the first Japanese manufacturer to have a driving for the disabled system, and we created the world's first safety training centre.

We believe these two pillars belong together: striving for greatness with racing; and playing our part as a member of society. What makes that possible is the people of Honda - they are always humble while achieving amazing things. They never compromise on quality and they never stop pushing for Honda to be the best of the best.

In this issue of GO magazine you’ll find more stories of wonderful people who are also achieving great things in their own way. We hope they will inspire you on your journey.

Finally, thank you so much for all your positive feedback on our first issue. Please email us at go@honda.co.nz and let us know what you’d love to hear next!


Come on in

From Edition #2 — 21 March 2024

Living the dream

Sunny side up

When Iris Lau first landed in New Zealand, she had come from tough conditions in her home country of Hong Kong. In Aotearoa, she managed to transform her circumstances for herself and her family. Now she has ambitions to help even more Kiwis if she can.

21 March 2024

Photography by Emily Chalk

Building a new life in New Zealand was a big challenge for the Lau family, who arrived in the 90s with very little English and no money to their name. But for 19-year-old Iris, her new country revealed another way of life and a chance for prosperity that she was excited to pursue.

Photography by Emily Chalk

“A lot of people think that coming from Hong Kong we would be rich but that was not the case for us,” explains Iris. “My father came first in 1990 to look for work, and then we arrived in 1996. Initially, we were in a flatting situation but due to financial constraints, we had to move into a garage as we couldn’t afford rent.”

Although she had completed her schooling in Hong Kong, in New Zealand Iris was told she needed to repeat Year 13 in order to gain university entrance. So she did that - achieved an A Bursary - and enrolled at the University of Auckland.

“I was lucky because the New Zealand Government allowed me to get a student loan which is what enabled me to study,” says Iris. “At that time I didn't even know what subjects to choose. My parents were not educated themselves, so they couldn’t advise me on these things. But I knew that whenever I opened a newspaper I always found my way to the finance pages - so I decided to study economics and information systems.”

Even once she got into university, life was not easy for Iris, who would spend long hours in the library borrowing textbooks on short term loan because she couldn't afford to buy her own. But despite her hardships, her ambition was fueled by big hopes for her future. “In New Zealand I saw so many good things. Most people I met came from good families, they had good housing and good cars and enough money. In Hong Kong, I was living in public housing, and all the people around me were in a similar situation. Once I saw a different way of life, I thought, 'Ok I will study hard so that I can have that too.’”

With her newly acquired computing knowledge, Iris was able to get a job in the office at Barfoot and Thompson, while she studied. Once she’d finished, she became a Sales Assistant before eventually winning the position of Rental Property Manager for their brand new branch in East Auckland.

Also during this time Iris had got married, had a baby son and life was good. Then in 2009, her world was rocked when she gave birth to a little girl with serious health issues. “My daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy and was having seizures where she would stop breathing. The consultant told us there was nothing they could do. It was so shocking for me.”

With no other medical avenues to pursue in New Zealand, Iris made the difficult decision to return with her family to Hong Kong, hoping there might be other treatments or medications for her daughter there. Eventually, further testing revealed that it was a genetic mutation and Isabella had Global Development Delay. “That’s when I realised no one could do anything to help my daughter,” says Iris. “There was no cure.”

The family had no choice but to push through this challenging time, before another key moment came for them in 2011. “At this time we were still living in Hong Kong and my son was watching the Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks were playing and he was singing along to the national anthem. He started crying and he said he missed New Zealand.”

Iris decided there and then to return to Auckland, so she could give her daughter a good quality of life and make her son happy. When they returned they were quickly welcomed back into the community and Iris was struck by the kindness they received. “Kiwis are so considerate and so generous. It’s really not comparable to any other country. When we got back I felt so happy that we were finally home.”

At that point she had to find a new job that would allow her to help provide for her family, and take care of their daily needs. “I needed flexibility because my daughter was in and out of the hospital, so I decided to start my own business. That’s when I launched Sunrise Property Management. Today, we have three offices in Auckland and 16 staff.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Iris is also working towards a Master’s degree in Financial Planning and is considering a PhD too. “I am interested in retirement planning in New Zealand compared to Australia, and how we could improve it so more people can be comfortable later in life. My study is not just about enhancing my own business but seeing if I can do something more meaningful for the whole country.”

Asked how she manages to cope with so much, Iris says, “I don’t know where my energy comes from but I am just a very positive person. Maybe because my childhood was so tough it made me determined to make a change. Now I stay positive everyday, for a better future for myself and for everyone.”

My study is not just about enhancing my own business but seeing if I can do something more meaningful for the whole country.

Sunrise Property management use Honda cars for their fleet and Iris says, “the quality and the price are so good. The staff at Honda do so much more than is required of them, and the cars are reliable, which is what I need.”

Learn more about Iris’s endeavours at www.sunriseproperty.co.nz

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