The story of Auckland’s iconic Wah Lee Asian Emporium dates from before 1898. In 1904 the shop was in Greys Ave, Chinatown. Sadly Chinatown no longer exists, however the fabulous emporium is still a favourite with both Aucklanders and visitors to the city.

Moving to its current Hobson Street location in 1966 when Robert Ming Yew introduced a range of fine white silks and coloured doupionis, these materials were used for the gown of Lorraine Downes when she competed in the Miss Universe competition in 1983 where she became the first and only New Zealander to win the title.

Today the Asian Emporium stocks many traditional products and more, with a good selection of Asian spices, Chinese cookware, crockery, instruments, lanterns, silks, fabrics, dried fruits, nuts, canned goods and giant horses, not to mention their famous kung fu shoes!

Wah Lee's also sells a great selection of affordable window blinds that can be cut to fit your windows perfectly.

Products and specialities

Matchstick, paper and bamboo blinds
Rice paper lanterns
Chinese bowls
Rice cookers
Chinese ingredients
Canned food
Dried fruits
Chinese medicine
Fireworks (2-5 November, 8:30am - 10pm)
Kung Fu shoes
... and much more


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I love Wah Lee Emporium - Such a varied and great selection and the BEST place in NZ to buy fire works.

I love this emporium, it is an Auckland institution! Whatever you need, for what ever occasion Wah Lee’s is where it’s at. This is the only place I go to prep for Chinese New Year lanterns, decorations and red packets. Gong Hey Fat Choy.

Comment by Wah Lee Asian Emporium
I thank you Krystal for what helps us keep up whatever we do.

Wah Lee's is a much-loved Auckland institution, especially for its lanterns (party decorations!), blinds and kung fu shoes. I bought some bamboo blinds recently for my kitchen and spare room, they were very reasonably priced and cut to fit perfectly, and they are really standing up to everyday use.

Comment by Wah Lee Asian Emporium
Thank you very much for sharing your love of those blinds from us Annabel.

Looking for the best, loudest and brightest firecrackers in Auckland? Every year, I make a special trip to see Barry Wah Lee and buy the pyrotechnics that make my favourite night of the year the best. It's tradition for me, you see. My dad used to take me here every Guy Fawkes and purchase signature crackers - you know the ones that go BOOM! POP! and POW! The ones that shoot showers of sparks high into the sky. A great selection at good prices.

Comment by Wah Lee Asian Emporium W.
Oh that is so special and nice to hear Kylie. Got to go back to the shop now. I hope that your comment steers people into the right direction so to speak.



Wah Lee is one of Auckland's most iconic businesses. It is a significant part of the city's history and there's so many treasures inside. He's my go-to, one-stop shop for party supplies, cookware, gifts and interesting homewares. As a little kid who lived on the west coast at Piha, one of my favourite memories is the annual trip we'd take with Dad to Wah Lee's to buy fireworks in November for the community Guy Fawkes party. Dad still reckons Barry's shop does the best fireworks in Auckland.

Comment by Wah Lee Asian Emporium W.
That is great that you, your dad, and the community love fireworks Kylie. Are we becoming a rare breed? Even kids are not allowed to be seen or heard these days! The Vibrant still, the noisy thrill, careful, as that is the care of love and skill.

Barry is a great guy! with a very friendly approach which makes the visit to his store even more cheerful

Comment by Wah Lee Asian Emporium W.
Thank you Shayal. This is a great place localist, I have been reading people's lists too.

There is no place I love shopping at more for a party than at Wah Lee. With an endless array of paper lanterns, fairy lights and just general awesome stuff to decorate any event with, this is my go-to. Recently we had a kite flying day with some friends and the first port of call was Wah Lee. I also love that there is so many pieces of incredible cookware here. If you want a wok, a pair of kung fu shoes or an awesome kite, Wah Lee is your man!

Been shopping here for years. Marvellous place - stocks everything.