Gung Ho! Story
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key cutting the ribbon at Gung Ho’s opening day in 2010
A Different Kind of Pizza Company…
Gung Ho began in 2010, when the pizza game in Beijing was very different from today. New Zealand entrepreneurs Jade Gray and John O’Loghlen looked at the industry and thought they could do a little better. So they created a new kind of pizza: healthy wholewheat flour, rustic thin crust and fresh gourmet toppings put together in unique combinations. Then they wrapped it all up in a color no food company would ever choose – bright pink!
The choice of color was more than just a random selection. It represents the Gung Ho attitude, the desire to not just stand out from the crowd, but to stand apart from it. In particular, our team at Gung Ho has always made a case to say “no” to “business as usual” and over the years we’ve been recognised by both the industry and our patrons for our efforts to integrate environmental and social responsibility into our operations and management. In 2016 Gung Ho became the 3rd company in China to be granted the internationally-recognised BCorp certification.
Late 2019 new adventures awaited both Jade and John back home in their native countries. After many years of entrepreneurship in China and realising their biggest dream of creating a social impact business in one of the most challenging markets on the planet, they were proud to pass on the ownership and operation of Gung Ho to some of the company’s most dedicated, long-standing employees.
The Gung Ho! Bros
John O’Loghlen & Jade Gray
Wanaka native Jade Gray flew to China in 1997, along with 200 head of Black Angus cattle to manage a farm in the remote Chinese city of Tieling. Since then, he founded a chain of gyms before diving into the fast evolving Chinese food and beverage scene.
His café/bar Lush, located in the center of Beijing’s university district, has won the award for Best Student Hangout year on year, and led to the creation of his second F&B venture, Pyro Pizza.
Auckland-born John O’Loghlen first came to China in 2005 with Goldman Sachs as part of the the China Netcom IPO team before a stint as Asia Development Manager for global pizza giant Dominos.
With a perspective and on-the-ground experience that encompasses both ends of the burgeoning pizza explosion, Jade and John have combined practical know-how and global best-practices in the pursuit of their latest venture: Gung Ho! Pizza.
What’s so special about Gung Ho! Pizza? We start with the freshest ingredients we can find locally, and if we can’t then we take great pride in sourcing our most premium ingredients from New Zealand! We can do the basics but you haven’t tried a Gung Ho! Pizza until you’ve tried one of our unique combinations. Slow-roasted NZ lamb topped with fresh rocket and mint tzaziki? Check. Local smoked tofu and hand-made spinach pesto with our house-made vegan cheese? Check. That’s a Gung Ho! Pizza.
Food safety is our number one priority at Gung Ho! Pizza. We use strict safety protocols for every step of our preparation and cooking process; every member of our kitchen and management teams must pass our internationally approved food safety standards training and exam, and maintain these standards through our rigorous systems and spot checks.
Where does the name “Gung Ho” come from anyway?
Go on. Guess. You probably know that the phrase ‘gung ho’ represents a kind-of enthusiastic or dedicated, can-do attitude, and that’s reason enough right? Some of you may also know that it’s used a lot in the US military – the marines specifically – and some of you might even know that the marines originally took it from Chinese soldiers while on tour in Shanghai during the Sino-Japanese war. All true incidentally.
But how many of you know that the Chinese originally got it from a Kiwi [New Zealander]?
The term was picked up by United States Marine Corps Major Evans Carlson from his New Zealand friend, Rewi Alley, one of the founders of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives. Carlson explained in a 1943 interview: “I was trying to build up the same sort of working spirit I had seen in China where all the soldiers dedicated themselves to one idea and worked together to put that idea over. I told the boys about it again and again. I told them of the motto of the Chinese Cooperatives, Gung Ho. It means Work Together…”
The mandarin name of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives? Gōng Yè Hé Zuò Shè; Gong He or Gung Ho for short.
Rewi Alley: The Original Gung Ho! Guy
By the age of 29 Rewi Alley had done little that would set him apart from any of his contemporaries. Like thousands of other young New Zealand men he served overseas during the First World War. After ‘six years of loneliness and struggle’ and intrigued by what he had read about China, Alley left New Zealand in December 1926 ‘to go and have a look at the Chinese revolution’. He would stay for 60 years, becoming one of China’s best-known and best-loved foreigners.
Alley arrived in China on 21 April 1927. Over the next 10 years, working variously as a fire officer, factory inspector and relief worker, he laboured among the Chinese trying to improve their living and working conditions. He came to greater prominence during the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, after he was involved in efforts to found the Association of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (INDUSCO), commonly known by the slogan Alley coined, ‘Gung Ho/Work Together’. Gung Ho aimed to organise small-scale self-supporting cooperatives which created employment for workers, while continuing production to support resistance against the Japanese. A Time magazine article from April 1940 noted:
“The advantages of cooperatives were many … The units were mobile, easily disguised, easily housed, and were not, like big factories, obvious targets for Japanese bombers. They supplied military needs which no other source in China could produce so efficiently … Above all they provided millions of refugees who trekked west on the heels of freedom with the hope of lasting relief in the form of jobs … Cooperatives entirely revitalized whole towns.”
As part of the Gung Ho movement Alley dreamed of training young Chinese in the skills that the co-operatives needed. In 1940 he was involved in setting up schools in various parts of the country. Some failed, but one in a tiny village called Shuangshipu (Feng Xi’an) was revitalised in 1941 under the leadership of George Hogg. Alley returned there often and assisted in its move to Shandan in December 1942, when the school was threatened by the Japanese advance. After Hogg in July 1945 Alley took over as headmaster.
By 1953 Alley had settled in Beijing. He immersed himself in writing about China and travelled extensively, speaking on behalf of international peace agencies, such as the World Peace Council. But his great achievements, Gung Ho and the school at Shandan, were never far from his mind. In his 80s he and other Gung Ho veterans successfully set about reviving the organization. He also conceived a plan for a new Shandan School that would meet the present-day needs of the region. It opened on 21 April 1987, the 60th anniversary of his arrival in China.
Before and after his death on 27 December 1987 the New Zealand and Chinese governments honoured Alley for his work in China. They have continued to do so in recent decades. In 1997 and 2007 events were held to mark the 100th and 110th anniversary of his birth.