Mark Frood laughs off the challenge of uprooting his family from sleepy Arrowtown to the pulsing metropolis of Shanghai.
“I found they’re quite similar – there’s a Chinese village in Arrowtown.”
Joking aside, Frood, 48 – who moved to Shanghai almost four years ago with wife Annabel, and daughters Rebekah, 11, and Rosie, seven – concedes the new environment couldn’t be more different.
“My oldest daughter went to Arrowtown School, which was a three-minute walk from home” – in Shanghai, the girls catch a bus at 7.30am.
Once his daughters had adjusted, “that made my life a lot easier”, Frood says.
However, he suspects their enjoyment of China depends on how much homework they’ve got.
The girls attend an international college after initially going to a Chinese school: “That gave them a good jump with language capability – I’m quite jealous.”
The Froods live in a narrow, four-level “Coronation Street house with lots of staircases” in a 100-home compound.
“Annabel does a lot of volunteer work at the school – the kids are her priority.”
Frood hasn’t had time to learn much Chinese, “but I’m quite fluent in ordering a beer, ordering food, getting myself home and general pleasantries”.
Frood passed his driver’s licence in China but, perhaps wisely, hasn’t used it: “They’ve got a lot of rules here but no one seems to abide by them.”
Despite his Tourism NZ role expanding to take in all of Asia, Frood says he hangs out with his family most weekends.
“China’s a great place to travel – there are some beautiful areas, a lot of lakes, even close to Shanghai.”