Choie Sew Hoy immigrated to Dunedin in 1868 developing a successful mercantile business. A prominent leader of Otago's mining industry, Choie pioneered the dredging of river flats with his Shotover Big Beach Gold Mining Company.
The Sew Hoy dredge became the leading gold-dredging design in the world and triggered the first Otago gold dredging boom. From 1894 Sew Hoy conducted further sluicing at Nokomai leading to a mining revival in northern Southland.
Choie was an active and respected member of the local business community. When Choie Sew Hoy visited Hong Kong in 1888, he took a testimonial from New Zealand’s Colonial Secretary introducing him to British authorities as “a Chinese Merchant residing in Dunedin… he occupies a first class position in the mercantile world as an enterprising and upright dealer, and is highly respected by all who know him.”