Kuske Individual Eyewear: Migrant Business Success

Reiner Kuske talks about his family's immigration to New Zealand and shares with us the journey of his business success.

"I am a trained optician, a qualified Augenoptiker as my profession is called in Germany. In 1983 I immigrated to New Zealand together with my wife Claudia.

The process of obtaining our residence permits took longer than we had expected, because the profession of optician was not on the so-called “Professional Priority List” and we were therefore not automatically granted “Permanent Residence”. Our resident status was finally granted in 1984.

At that time I was the first German optician to apply for a professional registration with the New Zealand authorities and it took another 3 years until my New Zealand registration was finally completed."

Reiner and Claudia never planned to stay in New Zealand, the trip was intended as an extended OE.

"We arrived as backpackers like so many other young travellers. Our decision to stay in New Zealand came only when we returned to Germany with our 18 month old daughter to visit her grandparents.
This visit was on April 26, 1986 and coincided with the Chernobyl nuclear accident. That was so scary, that we decided on that day, that NZ was probably the better place to raise our children."

Opening their first practices

"In 1987 we opened our first practice in Whangarei and later added several practices in various areas north of Auckland.

In 2005 we sold our practices to an international optician group and moved from Whangarei on the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) to Motueka / Nelson on the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki) for lifestyle reasons.

Awaroa Estuary, Nelson Tasman

Opening KUSKE - Individual Eyewear in Nelson

Reiner and Claudia opened “Kuske - Individual Eyewear” in 2009, an eyewear boutique that specializes in a small number of high-quality frame collections and branded lenses from Carl Zeiss and HOYA.

They successfully filled a niche that opened up after the arrival of another low-cost chain in NZ in 2008.

Today “Kuske Individual Eyewear” is a highly respected and well-established address for exceptional eyewear fashion in Nelson and beyond.

Reiner says: "We are now working on an exit plan from our professional life. That includes the search for a successor with a similar passion for eyewear to ours."


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