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From Finance in London to Naturopath in Mount Maunganui | Helen Ridge’s Homecoming Tale

From Finance in London to Naturopath in Mount Maunganui

After a decade of working in the finance industry in London and Sydney, Helen Ridge was ready for a change. Struggles with her own health led her to a naturopath, and the dramatic recovery allowed a newfound passion for holistic health to flourish.

Born and raised in Wellington, Helen retrained as a naturopath and nutritionist before founding her own Sydney-based wellness business Alive Natural Health.

This major career shift was enough to change for a while, but when her first child arrived on the scene, Helen and her husband found themselves drawn to the family-friendly benefits of a smaller city. In January 2017, the family of three crossed the Tasman and found themselves living in Mount Maungnaui.

Helen has since added another child to her brood and has launched the Kiwi version of Alive Natural Health, supporting wellness among her growing Mount Maunganui client base.

Here’s Helen’s story of returning to Kiwi shores.

Helen, give us an overview of your career to date.

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University in Wellington, I jumped straight on a plane to London chasing big city life. I ended up working in finance for ten years; six in London and four in Sydney.

It was in Sydney that I made a pivotal life and career change, deciding to retrain and become a naturopath and nutritionist. I completed a Bachelor of Health Science and an Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy and then launched Alive Natural Health.

What led you to shift from a corporate career to naturopathy?

After many years of struggling with my own deteriorating health and not getting any answers from the doctors I visited in London and Sydney, I went to see a naturopath. I saw my health improve dramatically and developed a passion for natural health. After making changes to my diet, lifestyle and mindset, I felt amazing in myself and I knew I’d get a real sense of pride helping other people make similar changes in their lives.

I have absolutely no regrets about leaving the corporate world and pursuing naturopathy. My bank balance has major regrets, but it’s still worth it!

Tell us about your business, Alive Natural Health.

Alive Natural Health is a health and wellness business. I founded it in Sydney and brought it over to the Mount when we moved here in 2017. I offer naturopathy and nutrition consultations at my home clinic, I am a consultant to industry and a health writer with a personal blog offering holistic health advice which is open to everyone.

Supporting my clients as they make positive, healthy changes is extremely rewarding. Sometimes it only takes a few little adjustments for my clients to feel so much better. The feeling of helping people, and making a real difference is priceless.

When did you start thinking about moving home to New Zealand?

After ten years living in Bondi, my husband Andrew and I felt it was time to raise our family the way we grew up. Big city life didn’t feel right anymore, so we decided to make the leap from Australia to New Zealand. My husband is Australian, so sometimes I wonder how I managed to convince him to move across the ditch.

Why did Mount Maunganui appeal to you? 

We decided to move to the Mount as we wanted to continue living by the beach but with a slower pace of life than what we were used to in Sydney. We love that Tauranga has a small city feel but still provides our big city comforts like amazing cafes and restaurants.

Mount Maunganui was also the perfect place for me to set up my private practice. There is a real underlying health scene here that aligns with my personal and professional beliefs. The lifestyle you can achieve here sums up what life should be about.

What do you love about the Mount as a place to live?

I love its beauty, the ease of life, and the community feels. I love walking to the local cafes or to the beach with my husband and kids, bumping into people we know, and being able to get healthy, on-trend, and delicious food.  

I love the friends I have made here, and the house we have renovated, and I love that it’s small enough that I can walk my daughter to preschool and soon school. My daughter Sadie has settled here extremely well – she might as well be born here, like her younger brother Bodhi.

What has it been like making friends and building social connections?

Making friends and social connections have been easier than anticipated, and that is down to the wonderful community feel on the Mount. I have made some beautiful friends through my daughters’ day-care, and I build stronger social connections every day as my children grow older and my business network develops.

Have there been any challenges in this move? 

The biggest challenge has been leaving friends and family behind in Australia. We still miss them every day and wish they could be part of our daily life here. We miss the warmer weather of Sydney, but apart from that, there isn’t much to complain about!

What has moving to Mt Maunganui meant…

For your career?

Moving to Tauranga has brought about positive changes to my nutrition and naturopathy career.  There is a similar industry here to Sydney, but it’s easier to navigate and find your place within it.

For your wellbeing?

A slower pace of life has seen my ‘rushing woman’s syndrome’ almost disappear!

For your relationships?

Living in a smaller city has meant my family has been able to spend more time together.


Gets You Thinking Doesn’t It?

No one can tell you when you’re ready for a change of lifestyle…but when you are, we’d love to have you in Tauranga!

Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TaurangaWelcomesYou

Email us at info@priorityone.co.nz

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