Marina Ladygina of MOCA Shares Her Moving to Tauranga Story
Marina Ladygina was born and raised in St Petersburg, Russia. A career in web development opened the door for her to work and travel the world at the same time. She met her Kiwi partner, Shane along the way. The couple was living in Bali when Shane first started telling Marina how great his hometown, Tauranga was. Once the conversation got serious, the move happened quickly.
Tauranga has not disappointed Marina. She has landed a great job with MOCA, one of Tauranga’s best-known web development agencies. After following Wish You Were Working Here.co.nz on Facebook and being inspired by other people’s stories of moving to Tauranga, Marina is now happy to have the opportunity to share her own!
Marina, can you tell us your career story?
After getting a degree in programming in Russia, I worked in a small company in St. Petersburg as a web developer. In 2016, I found a remote position as a web developer for a Moscow company, which allowed me to travel and work at the same time. My initial plan was only to go to Greece with some friends for a couple of months. We rented an apartment and I worked five days a week, eight hours a day like any other office worker. But in the evenings and on the weekends I get to enjoy all the touristy activities Greece could provide.
Not surprisingly, at the end of our trip, I didn’t feel like going back home to Russia! So when my friends left for home I carried on traveling. I worked my way through Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States, and Bali. At first, Bali was just another destination, but on my second trip there I met my Kiwi partner, Shane. We settled down there together for a while.
When did you first think about moving to New Zealand?
In May 2018, Shane started talking to me about moving to his hometown, Tauranga. He has been living away from home for the past eight years and after all this time was looking forward to moving back.
To be honest, neither New Zealand nor Tauranga had been on my radar until I met Shane. But after hearing him talking about his home country I had no doubts that not only might New Zealand be the best country in the world, but Tauranga would be the nicest city to live in. In December 2018, only six months after deciding to settle down in New Zealand, we landed in Auckland and made our way to Tauranga. Looking out of the car window I knew I was not going to be disappointed!
What change were you seeking in your life?
I felt like it was time to settle down and concentrate on moving forward with my career. As nice as it was living in Bali, that lifestyle wasn’t actually taking me ahead in life. As soon as Shane and I agreed that the move will be beneficial for both of us we couldn’t wait any longer. As soon as my visa was settled, we packed up and left without looking back.
What was your experience of finding work in Tauranga?
Surprisingly there weren’t as many opportunities for me as I expected. It took me a couple of months and a couple of interviews before I found my way to MOCA. I had connected with Priority One and taken advantage of their free introductions to the business community. Being on Priority One’s list definitely helped.
When I reached out to Andrew Mahon at MOCA, he already knew a little bit about my background as he had seen my profile on the Priority One’s newsletter. When I decided to move to New Zealand, I also started reading the stories on this website about people moving here from all over the world. I found them very inspiring and motivating.
What is your role at Moca and what do you enjoy about it?
At MOCA, we create custom websites for all kinds of businesses and provide website support.
I fill the role of website support and web developer. It is incredible working here. I’m very happy to be surrounded by wonderful people and to be doing what I love. The work is challenging enough to keep you motivated but not to the point of exhaustion. The fact that MOCA has created websites for so many companies in Tauranga has actually helped me with learning more about the area and people who live here.
What has it been like for you settling into Tauranga?
Even after being here for eight months, I can’t say that we’ve settled down completely, but we’re definitely getting there! It has been a bit challenging for me to get around without being able to drive. Thankfully, I just got my restricted license a week ago and now I can fully enjoy the city and surrounding areas.
What do you love about living in Tauranga?
Even though the locals are complaining that the city is growing too rapidly, I still consider Tauranga a cute little town. I love being close to the beach and it’s amazing how right in the centre of all, there is the gorgeous Mount Maunganui, which makes you feel like you’re so far away from the city.
What do you do to have fun/relax here?
Shane and I love camping and going out on the boat. He introduced me to fishing which I’ve never done before coming to New Zealand. I enjoyed it a lot and now we try to go out on the boat as often as we can. If the sea is too rough we go for a hike. There are so many wonderful places around here.
What has surprised you about Tauranga?
This might be more a countrywide thing than just Tauranga, but I couldn’t believe how often all the shops have sales. It was a bit overwhelming at first and it took me a while to get a hold of myself!
What has moving to Tauranga meant:
For your career? My career can finally take off here in Tauranga and I’m so glad I’ve found this amazing opportunity at MOCA. Even after only being there for a few months I can see my professional growth.
For your wellbeing? I feel like all the hikes and outdoor activities are making me a much healthier person.
For your relationships? Now that I’m settled down, not only will my family and friends be able to visit me, but they will actually have an unforgettable opportunity of staying in the nicest city in New Zealand.
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!
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