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Honours for Shore businesswomen

MARNIE HALLAHAN
Last updated 10:30 12/01/2012
HONS
LEADING: Yong Kim moved to the North Shore from Korea 20 years ago and has now been honoured for her services to the Asian community and business.
HONS
JOHN SELKIRK
SUCCESSFUL: Diane Foreman at her offices overlooking the Viaduct.

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A woman who moved to New Zealand just over 20 years ago has received a New Year honour.

Yong Kim from Browns Bay was made a made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Mrs Kim thought the postie had made a mistake last month when she received a letter bearing the official Crown seal. The letter was to congratulate her on receiving a New Year's honour.

"To be honest, I thought it was for the wrong person," she says.

"But when I realised it was for me I was very humbled to receive such an honour. It was a day I will never forget."

Mrs Kim received the honour for her services to the Asian community and business but says she doesn't see she's done anything special.

"All I do is share the knowledge that I've gained through my career," she says.

Mrs Kim's many career highlights since moving to New Zealand with her family in 1990 include setting up the first Korean banking service in New Zealand.

As a branch manager at ASB Bank she saw the need among the Korean community for cultural guidance in the business and banking world.

A desire to keep learning and to help people was a driving factor in stepping up to fill the gap, the former teacher and nurse says.

Although her daughters describe her as a workaholic, Mrs Kim says it's really her positive attitude that has gotten her so far.

"I do things with a big smile," she says.

After 10 years building up her financial knowledge and establishing the Korean banking service she opened her own mortgage and insurance brokerage company.

Two years later she began to produce the award-winning Business and Property Journal, a Korean language business publication aimed at educating Koreans both here and overseas about investments in New Zealand.

Mrs Kim says her work bridging the gap between the New Zealand and Korean business community is all about creating jobs for the next generation.

A woman with North Shore business links was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Diane Foreman owns the Emerald Inn in Takapuna and she says she was surprised to receive her honour.

"I was incredibly proud and very grateful, very humbled. It's very unusual for businesswomen to be acknowledged and I think it's fantastic that I was, I'm very grateful," Ms Foreman says.

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She quit education aged 15 and found herself a solo mum in her 20s after the end of her first marriage.

After struggling as a typist and waitress while raising her children, she married multimillionaire Bill Foreman, then proved her worth working in his Trigon business.

In 1996 she single-handedly managed the sale of the company for $130 million.

Ms Foreman separated from her retired husband in 2006 and bought out his stake in the Emerald Group.

In 2009 she was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, judged a "natural entrepreneur who is astute, tireless, deliberate and planned in her approach".

She employs more than 4000 people in 29 countries through various businesses in diverse Emerald Group. These include executive recruitment through Emergent, icecream through New Zealand Natural and other brands such as Kapiti, Chateau Premium Heavenly Treats, Killinchy Gold and Lite Licks and the boutique Emerald Inn at Takapuna.

She is worth an estimated $175 million according to the Rich List.

- North Shore Times

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