Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Expats Blog


After the DINKY Dream | Where Should You Live When You Are Ready to Settle Down?
14 January 2016
After the DINKY Dream | Where Should You Live When You Are Ready to Settle Down?

BY KATHRYN OVERALL

 

When Dunedin-based couple, Jene & Therese Hamahona were in their mid-twenties their friends all starting having babies.  Bristling with adventure and travel dreams they bolted to Sydney faster than you can say "not yet, thanks". 

Sydney was meant to be a temporary pit-stop to save money, but they loved the lifestyle on the sunny blue, golden-sand Northern Beaches so much they ended up living there for three years.

“We made a good amount of money between the two of us,” says Therese. “Before we knew it we had a car and furniture. We sort of settled there by mistake!”



Thinking about making Sydney home, they asked themselves if they could imagine having kids there someday. “I tried to picture it and I just couldn’t,” says Therese. “Coming out of Nareen Parade into a six lane highway just wasn't I had in mind with kids in tow."

So, instead they put their furniture in storage, packed up their car and drove solidly for a week across the country to a smudge on the map north of Perth, called Pilbara.  Their destination, in the middle of the vast, arid nowhere of the Australian outback was a road-house complex called Auski Tourist Village, which was to be their home and employment for the next two years.  



“We could write a book about our experiences there,” says Therese. “It was the maddest place. You harden up.  I developed quite a thick skin there and a bit of a potty mouth.”  Jene adds: “We were not far from Marbel Bar - the hottest place in Australia where you can cook dinner on your spade in the sun.”

But, they weren’t there for the lifestyle. 260 kilometres from the nearest town, Auski served up the twin advantages of high wages and nothing to spend them on.  “Within three months we had paid off our $20,000 student loan,” says Therese. “Next we paid off the car and then saved $30,000 for the trip of a lifetime.”

They arrived in Tokyo in the true-blue Aussie uniform of shorts and jandals. Jene says, "We went from sweltering heat to 10 degree temperatures; from being in a community of 20 people to being in a city of 20 million."

They soon found their city feet, reigned in their outback personalities and lived like kings and queens for three months in Japan, London, Paris, Marseille, Venice and New York. After living the DINKY (Double Income No Kids) dream, the desire to have children had finally caught up with them and this trip was a last hurrah of sorts. 


While Sydney still held a draw for them, they couldn't seriously imagine starting a family anywhere other than Tauranga, Therese's home town. "I knew that when I had babies I would need my Mum," she says. "Nothing beats family in the end."

The couple moved to Tauranga in 2009, found jobs after a few ups and downs and adjusted to their lower incomes. "You don't come back for the money, " says Theresa. "You come back for family and for the lifestyle."  

Elisha was born in 2011, Micah two years later and in 2015, Brielle Joy arrived, bringing an oasis of sweetness to the family's busy household of active young boys.  

The couple say that Tauranga has been a wonderful setting for this family chapter of their lives. "I love being close to family," says Therese. "To have grandparents just down the road is amazing. My sister and her three kids are in Welcome Bay and my brother is just over the hill.  We all met over at Mount Maunganu on the weekend for my Mum's birthday. It was just so wonderful to be all together."



Jene is working as the Worship Pastor at City Church in Otumoetai, Tauranga.  It's a dream job for him after years of having his musical talents on the back-burner. He enjoys the optimism in Tauranga. "Tauranga is growing," he says. "I love seeing things being built all over the place. I think there is more opportunity in a city that is growing. It's exciting and progressive here and I like that."

Therese loves the family-friendly lifestyle on offer in Tauranga. "Lifestyle to me is being able to get in your car and drive for 10 or 15 minutes and be at the beach, she says.  "If you drive in the opposite direction you can be in McClarens Falls Park which feels like a totally different part of the world. Everything is so close, and you have space here. There's an easiness and simplicity - you can breathe here in a way you can't in Australia."

She adds, "We actually found it hard to break into friendships in Sydney.  We were lonely in a sense but we had each other.  Australia was so good for us as a couple but I don’t think it would have been good for us a family.  We have history here. Sydney was a playground for us to experience a bit of life. Tauranga is our place for family."

 

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!

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

2. Subscribe to our montly e-newsletter to receive stories just like this one about people who have already made the big move you are thinking of making. 

Meet Kathryn Overall
Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.co.nz

 

 

Tauranga Welcomes You

Tauranga Welcomes You

TAURANGA WELCOMES YOU

Ready for a better work/life balance in a vibrant, growing, sea-side city?

We'd love to have you in Tauranga!

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Tauranga Welcomes You

Tauranga Welcomes You

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Ready for a better work/life balance in a vibrant, growing, sea-side city?

We'd love to have you in Tauranga!

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About Kathryn

About Kathryn

ABOUT KATHRYN

Kathryn Overall is the friendly voice behind the 'Wish You Were Working Here' stories and Facebook posts.  Each month she chats with returned Kiwi expats,  Auckland imports and New Zealand immigrants who have moved to Tauranga, collecting their stories and advice to share with you. 


CLICK HERE to read her own story of reluctant homecoming!

 

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