30 January, 2017
Last updated 16:06, January 29 2017
In eight years Ju Xian Zhou-Smith has moved to New Zealand, learned to speak English, and learned to write it as well.
"When I first moved here I only knew 'no, no' and 'yes, yes'," she says.
"There was not a lot of talking," she says, laughing.
To help with her English Ju Xian went to school twice a week.
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Her English improved quickly, but she continued to embrace her Chinese culture as well.
Every morning she would get up and sing traditional Chinese songs around the house.
On Sunday she shared her beautiful voice with the 135 people who were welcoming the Year of the Rooster at the Chinese New Year celebrations in New Plymouth.
"I love to sing. It makes me happy," she said.
Her husband Murray Smith said he had spent a lot of time in China and he loved hearing his wife sing in Chinese, especially when it was a celebration.
"This is the biggest Chinese festival of the year," he said.
"The other big festival is the Moon Festival."
Taranaki president of the New Zealand Chinese association Betty Leung said she had spent a month organising the celebrations.
To get the year off to a great start, the Taranaki event opened with an energetic and vibrant Lion Dance.
This was followed by a shared Chinese feast, catered by the restaurant Laughing Buddha.
The smorgasbord was filled with Cantonese style roast pork, fried chicken, sweet and sour pork, ginger and spring onion lamb, fried rice, and chow mein noodles.
"And chips, for the kids," Leung said.
To make enough food, Laughing Buddha used 60 kilograms of roast pork, as well as 50 chickens.
"Chinese people love eating. It is a tradition."
Honor Zhao, 4, patiently waited in line to get her lunch, but became distracted by the colourful and fluffy giant lion's head from the Lion Dance.
While her mum Mina Zhu collected her lunch Honor was busy patting the lion, brushing it's mane with her fingers and pulling the strings that made his eyes open and shut.
Zhu said the celebrations had been wonderful for young and old alike.
"And the Lion Dance was very, very impressive," she said.
"It's been a great day."