Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Expats Blog

Nikki Philips of NZ Wine Home | Finding Love and the Good Life in Tauranga
17 September 2018
Nikki Philips of NZ Wine Home | Finding Love and the Good Life in Tauranga

At 19 years old, Nikki Philips was ready for adventure. She left her childhood town of Tamahere and hot-footed it to London quicker than you can say 'two-year-working-visa'.  Her travel-bug led to a five year chapter in Dubai, followed by a two chapter in Sydney.  In 2013, unsettled at work and missing her family, Nikki realised she was ready to come home to New Zealand and enjoy what Tauranga had to offer her.

Having been single for several years, she was hopeful of not just buying a house in Tauranga, but finding a partner to share it with.  Her very first week in Tauranga, she walked into a bike shop and met the man who would become her husband. Nikki has recently secured a role as the Export and Administration specialist for NZ Wine Home, where she oversees the smooth delivery of beloved New Zealand wines all over the world.

This is her story.

Nikki, can you give us a snapshot of your life and career during your time overseas?

London: 1999 – 2000  I worked as temp in all sorts of industries. Because I had some experience as a bank teller in New Zealand, I ended up with a  temp assignment for an Asset Management company.  In between assignments I would travel around the UK and Europe.  I had no email address, mobile phone number and no Facebook account.  My parents and sister would call me every Sunday at the same time on my home phone and I’d exchange letters back and forward  – it is hilarious to think of that now!

Dubai:  2006 – 2011 I started off working as the PA to the Vice President of Motorola, then as an EA for Macquarie Bank. I travelled around Asia, Europe and the Middle East and found a passion for SCUBA diving after gaining an advanced open water SCUBA qualification.  I even ended up diving with all the sharks in the Dubai Aquarium!

Sydney:  2011 – 2013 I was looking to move closer to home and Macquarie offered me a transfer to Sydney.  I knew one person who lived there so decided to give it a go!  After working for Macquarie for another year I went to work for UBS Investment Bank for 18 months as Business Management Administrator

Did you always assume you would come back to NZ eventually?

Absolutely.  When I went to Dubai the intention was to stay there for two years to do a bit more travelling and experience another culture.  Time just got away on me and I made a lot of friends who made the overseas experience a lot easier.  

How did you know when it was time to come home? 

I am very close to my family and I missed them a lot. I hadn’t spent much time at all with my niece and nephew and it was always difficult coming home for Christmas then having to leave again.  I also wasn’t enjoying working in the investment banking environment and I decided to resign from my role at UBS. My family had moved to Tauranga while I had been away and  I decided to stay with them and take a break while I searched for a new job in Sydney. It felt lovely to be at home without the pressure of heading back overseas any time soon and I started to think about making the move permanent. After a couple of weeks I returned to Sydney, packed up my flat, booked all my belongings onto a ship and came back to New Zealand for good. 

Why did you choose to settle in Tauranga?  

Because my family were now based in Tauranga, it was technically ‘home’.  I had no experience living in any of the major cities like Auckland or Wellington. I wanted to at least try living somewhere that was close to my family and that presented a lovely lifestyle near the beach.  

What vision did you have your life here? 

I didn't want to spend hours in traffic or work in high pressure jobs anymore. I had saved some money and Tauranga was an affordable place to settle and buy a house. I had been single for a couple of years and while I was very happy with my life and achievements the thought of meeting a fellow Kiwi to settle down with seemed like a nice option!  I met Tim a week after I moved back to Tauranga – he owned a local bike shop and I needed a bike to get to and from work.  We have been happily married for two and a half years and I love thinking about how the timing was so perfect for us to meet.

What was your experience of finding work in Tauranga like? 

It was easy and people seemed to appreciate that I had global work experience and was looking to resettle in Tauranga long term. I reached out to Priority One when I was job hunting earlier this year. Annie Hill put me forward for a role that I didn’t end up pursuing but she was really helpful.

Can you tell me about your new role with NZ Wine Home?

My role is Export and Administration specialist. I applied via trademe and was really happy to be offered the role within a week.

NZ Wine Home is a company that works in partnership with many of New Zealand's leading wineries and retailers to facilitate the purchase and International delivery of New Zealand wine.  We have a warehouse in Auckland where the wine is carefully repackaged and consolidated on to shipments to Australia, USA, HK, Japan, Singapore, UK and Europe.  



I take care of export and logistics administration, liaising with wineries and their customers and ensuring each wine order is delivered safely to each customer.  I really enjoy seeing a delivery through, right from booking the freight, consolidating orders, communicating with our warehouse and finally tracking each order to someone’s doorstep.  It is so great to think that New Zealand wine has such an impressive global reputation.  We are also currently working on an environmentally friendly packaging solution which is exciting and very interesting to be involved with.

When you reflect on the last five years in Tauranga, what stands out to you?

Coming back to New Zealand after seeing other parts of world really makes you appreciate how good we have it here.  I still love to travel but have no regrets at all about moving back and settling down here. I love  being close to my family, not feeling too crowded and not having to battle traffic.  I'm enjoying the lovely beaches, walks and scenery. When friends come to visit me from overseas, I’m always so proud to show them where I live.

Did you face any challenges in settling in? 

Returning from an ‘expat’ environment where it’s easy to meet people and make friends was a challenge.  A lot of the people who live here have grown up here and aren’t out socialising and trying to meet new people. Having said that though there are plenty of clubs or sports teams to join and it seems there are more and more people returning to or moving to Tauranga that are looking to meet with other newbies.

What advice would you offer to other Kiwi expats contemplating a return home to Tauranga?  

Tauranga has so much to offer.  It has really come a long way in the last five or so years in terms of events, facilities, restaurants and bars, sports events and other fun things to do.  It’s a fantastic place to raise a family and enjoy a well-balanced, relaxed lifestyle.  It’s also very central to so many other amazing places in New Zealand.

What do you do for fun or to relax here?   

Go to the beach, markets, concerts, hot pools, gourmet night markets (our favourite Friday night outing during summer), walk up or around the Mount, play social beach volleyball, go fishing with my Dad.

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career?  An opportunity to work for a great local company and be proud of the service we are offering to people all over the world.

For your wellbeing?  The ability to live a more relaxed lifestyle and feel motivated to be outside in our beautiful surroundings.

For your relationships? It has brought me closer to my family and found me a husband!


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. 

3. Have a story to share? We love sharing your sea-change or homecoming stories. Email me at kathryn@priorityone.co.nz to start a conversation.

Meet Kathryn Overall
Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.co.nz


Looking for work in Tauranga?

Send me your CV and a 100 word bio and we will send it out to local businesess who are on the lookout for good people. Priority One is not a recruitment agency, but as the economic development agency for the region we seek to make connections for people where we can. There is no charge for this service.

Email me at annie@priorityone.co.nz.

Annie Hill | Priority One
Communications/Project Manager

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!


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!


Visit us on

Newsletter Signup

You Might Also Like

Blog Sample 3

Sydney to Papamoa - Building a New Business

"Our philosophy has always been to live somewhere where people want to holiday.  We also wanted that had good business opportunities, but was not as busy as Sydney or Auckland." 

Continue Reading

Blog Sample 2

Benji Crossley - Rugby, Law & Moving Home

"When I saw an opportunity to join the Senior Club Working Group for Bay of Plenty Rugby, I jumped at the chance."

Continue Reading

Blog Sample 1

Finding Love and the Good Life in Tauranga

Her very first week in Tauranga, she walked into a bike shop and met the man who would become her husband.

Continue Reading