Andrey Andreyev, 62, lives in Pt Chevalier with his wife Lydia and son Andrey Jr. He talks to reporter Kelly Dennett about being a chemical engineer for Genesis Industry.
How easy is it to find work?
I found it extremely difficult in my homeland of Bulgaria. I come from a region called Burgas, near the Black Sea and although I had the relevant qualifications, all I could find was administrative work.
Is that why you came to New Zealand?
Yes. I was offered work with a West Auckland firm and so my family and I moved out here. Unfortunately, a short time after my arrival, my employer died which meant I was unable to continue working. I ended up as a computer parts recycler and although I was grateful for the work, it wasn't what I had my heart set on.
Was it a stressful time?
I had a job and, even though it wasn't what I wanted to do, I was very grateful because I understand lots of other Kiwis couldn't find work.
However it did cause a lot of anguish for my family and I because it threw my immigration status into question.
Returning to Bulgaria was not something we could contemplate.
Did things look up for you?
Yes it did. My family and I are Christian and soon after joining the St Giles church in Te Atatu South I had a chance encounter with someone from Genesis Industry.
They were desperate to find a highly qualified chemical engineer to head their research and development laboratory in Henderson.
They had to be willing to start from scratch, manufacturing a wide range of environmentally safe household products.
And what was the result?
I'm a real greenie so it was important to me to create household cleaners without phosphates and caustics.
The first one I made was a dishwashing liquid.
Did you know a good dishwashing liquid shouldn't require hot water?
This one can be used with cold water and doesn't leave any streaks.
What qualification do you need?
In Bulgaria I completed a masters degree specialising in oil and gas refining.
I received the equivalent here from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
How are you finding life in New Zealand?
It's paradise. The government isn't corrupt and my job is like a match made in heaven.
I'm now chief chemist and general manager and I'm so happy to be back in the community that helped start my new life in New Zealand.
I love being near the beaches because I love to swim. It's like spring all year round.
- Western Leader
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