Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Expats Blog

Rich Mullaney | Building a New Life and Business in Papamoa
26 October 2018
Rich Mullaney | Building a New Life and Business in Papamoa

Rich Mullaney grew up on the North Shore of Auckland, met his wife, Zoe, at a New Year's gathering in Whangamata, and mastered the art of residential renovation project management on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Proximity to water is a common thread in each of these locations, so it's no surprise that when Rich and Zoe decided it was time to move back home to New Zealand in 2017 to start a business and a family, it was the beachside lifestyle on offer in Tauranga that won them over.

This is his story. 

Rich, have you always been in the building industry?

I left school at the end of the sixth form and started a building apprenticeship the following year. After completing that, Zoe and I headed off for an OE in the United Kingdom and Canada before settling in Australia, where I worked as a foreman on high end residential renovations.

We had met lots of Australians while we were overseas and decided that it would be a good place to live for a while.  We wanted to be closer to home, but we weren't quite ready to move back to New Zealand.

How did your career develop in Sydney?

The beach suburbs of Sydney are generally quite a wealthy area, which means there were lots of opportunities to work on large architectural homes with high end features. There was an abundance of work over there and I was given the authority to run jobs (aside from paying the bills) under my boss’s construction company. It was through this that I learned the key project management skills that I brought back with me to New Zealand to start my own building company - RM Build.

How did you know it was time to come back to New Zealand?

We toyed with the idea for a few years but kept saying, "a couple more years, a couple more years." Before we knew it, six years had gone by! By that stage we decided that we wanted to start our own building business and that we were also ready to start a family. New Zealand felt like the right place to do that. 

Why did you choose to move to Tauranga?

Our philosophy has always been to live somewhere where people want to holiday. After having lived by the surf beaches in Sydney we decided that we wanted to permanently have a beach lifestyle. We also wanted somewhere that had good business opportunities, but was not as busy as Sydney or Auckland. Tauranga and it's surrounds offered us this and was close enough to our families in Auckland.

What has it been like starting a business in a new city?

We established RM Build in 2017. We mainly specialise in residential renovations and extensions, but we do take on all carpentry work.
We have focused on building up a solid reputation by producing high quality work and making sure we have good, transparent relationships with all our clients. 

Having happy clients who trust us and act as advocates for our business is always our goal.  Building up a good group of sub-contractors who we can trust to deliver quality work to our clients has also been key. We know that we are only as good as our people, so getting the right guys for the job on our team is important.

What has it been like settling in on personal level?

This last 12 months has been very busy for us. Apart from establishing our new company, we have also reonovated our own home and celebrated the birth of our first child, Ollie. It has been a full on year and we are lucky to have had the support of close family to help us through.

We love living at Papamoa. We are just a couple of minutes walk to the beach and the shops. We can literally carry our surf boards across the dunes to the waves, or just head for a stroll along the beach. 

What has surprised you about Tauranga?

How nice the weather is! We were originally a bit nervous about moving back to New Zealand from the warmth of Australia, but it turns out the transition hasn’t been too bad at all so far. I'm also surprised by how good the waves can get when there is some decent swell around - especially at Matakana Island.

What do you do to have fun/relax here?

We surf!  Zoe is also a surfer, and having this shared passion has brought us closer together. When there’s no surf, we go for a hoon in the boat, hang with family or work on our own house. And Ollie is keeping us pretty busy!

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career?  It has meant we have been able to start our own business and work towards growing that into an established company in the Bay of Plenty.

For your work/life balance?  We love living by the beach. Having access to the water on a daily basis is key to our happiness and well being. We probably do work harder here than in Sydney because of the fact we have started the business. In saying that, that is what we wanted and we do always make sure there is time for fun!

For your relationships? Moving to Tauranga has has brought Zoe and I closer on a number of levels: working together to grow the business, spending more time together rather than being stuck in Sydney traffic jams, and of course the birth of our son. We also have had close family move here within the last couple of years for the lifestyle. They absolutely love being here and we get to see them regularly, which has brought us closer as an extended 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. 

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!


Contact Priority One

Contact Priority One

Need help?

Send us your 100 word bio and we will send it out to local businesses who are on the lookout for good people! info@priorityone.co.nz

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

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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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