Ron Lal is a Fijian-Indian New Zealander based in Auckland, and the co-founder of Momentum New Zealand. His creativity enables him to work with clients across multiple sectors. Ron’s purpose and passion lies in helping business owners understand the fundamentals of their business, their customers, and the environment they operate in.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand when I was five and grew up in Grey Lynn, Auckland. After finishing University, I decided to travel, which took me to some interesting places such as Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and South Korea. When I came back to NZ, I worked for a few corporate organisations, and ran my own business, which taught me a lot about failure and success. I have always enjoyed business and helping people, I decided to start Momentum New Zealand to increase the success rate of small-to-medium-size businesses across New Zealand.”
“Our vision for Momentum New Zealand is to become the amplifier of business success throughout New Zealand. My personal focus and passion at the company is to work with the migrant community of business owners.”
What was it like moving to NZ as a five-year-old, and how much has NZ changed since?
“Moving to New Zealand as a five-year-old was very exciting - not so much the thought of coming to a new country, but more so the thought of flying. Once here, living in Grey Lynn, I remember as a little boy running down Williamson Ave to the park and playing on the half pipe until it was nearly dark. The sense of safety was a privilege back then. Over the years New Zealand has experienced exponential change, especially with the growth of migrants and exposure to different cultures. I remember eating out was completely different experience to what it is now. We had to hunt for ethnic food and maybe Grandma would get offended if we brought home Indian takeaway.”
You have done a lot in your professional life, but Momentum has stemmed from an understanding of the struggle migrants face. What do you think the key issues are?
“The key issues with migrant business stem organically through lack of familiarity of being in a new country, with its own sets of beliefs, values, systems, processes, behaviours and responses, whilst wanting to stay close to our own values and beliefs. On the other hand, migrants need to look at how to address these challenges. Sometimes our hard-working ethics (which I don’t believe to be a negative, just needs to be managed well), and mind-set that - showing vulnerability and asking for help is seen as weakness can ultimately work against us in the long run.”
What do you think New Zealand would look like in 20 years’ time?
“In 20 years’ time I believe we will see a continuity of the change we have seen from the past 10 years or so, just at a larger scale. Diversity will be more than a word; it will be a lot more ingrained and visible. To put this into perspective, current statistics show a 21 per cent increase in permanent migrants, between 2014 and 2016. One in five of international students chose to stay in New Zealand after their studies. I think we will also see a rise in second and third generation migrants, who I believe won’t have to experience the same struggles. I see Auckland becoming a true melting pot in 20 years’ time.”