Trained as a fine artist, but doing a fine turn as an illustrator too, Pippa Fay – a second-generation Chinese New Zealander – created the lucky red-and-gold design for the envelopes that our Britomart Red Cards are presented in.

Can you take us through what the details on the Britomart Red Card packets mean? The pig represents the Chinese zodiac sign for 2019. Generally people born in this year are good-tempered, kind-hearted, positive, loyal and strong. I tried to reflect these qualities in the design and expression of the pig. The flowers surrounding the pig are both the New Zealand manuka flower and the plum blossom – the national flower of the People’s Republic of China. They represent love, strength and prosperity. Overall, I wanted the design to reflect happiness, peace, strength, prosperity and abundance.

What’s your Chinese zodiac sign? Do you feel like you identify with it or not? I am a Dragon, which is the only imaginary zodiac animal. In terms of my illustration I always hope my work captures some of the characteristics of a dragon – magical, creative, charismatic and elusive. Personally, I don’t think I’m a typical dragon but I think I can identify with being a day dreamer and elusive!

Do you know if this year’s meant to be a good one for you? It’s meant to be an invigorating, productive and enjoyable year, with new opportunities and beginnings. I think all my unfinished projects and ideas from the past are supposed  to come into fruition – which all sounds great to me!

How does your family typically celebrate Chinese New Year? Our family likes to come together on Chinese New Year’s Eve, and spends most of the day preparing and cooking food and eating all day. After a big meal we hand out red packets to the younger generation. New Year’s Day and the days following involve eating the leftovers, spending time with the family, resting and no cleaning or cooking.

What’s your favourite aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations? My mum is the best cook, so my favourite aspect would be the food and eating with family.  Its bad luck to leave food on the plate, so its the one time I can eat all day without feeling guilty… and then I get to renew my get-healthy/no-meat New Year’s resolutions!

Photograph by James Ting