Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Brewing Creativity | Hans Kraenzlin on Music, Coffee and Finding a Spiritual Home in Tauranga
19 December 2016



It's a short word with powerful connotations.  Powerful, but not always simple.

'Global citizen' is a term which could have been created to describe Hans Kraenzlin. The geographical patchwork of his story illumines the complex multi-dimensionality of this thing we call 'home'.

Hans was born in Germany, raised in Micronesia and Tonga by missionary parents, attended high school in Northland, New Zealand and spent his early twenties in Europe.

He's married to a woman who is Polish to the core. 

His daughter was born here in Tauranga.  

His son was born in Warsaw.

With all of these competing claims on 'home', Hans and his family have spent much of the last ten years oscillating between Europe and New Zealand. 

There are many compelling reasons for them to live in Europe.

But Tauranga, New Zealand, its land and its people, has a deep magnetic pull which keeps calling them back.

Hans and Ula first came to Tauranga to be involved in a local Christian community with a focus on prayer and worship.  This experience was an important chapter in their personal spiritual journey.

"I feel very connected to this land - more than any land I have ever been on," says Hans. "This is where a lot of conversations with God started for me - it holds a sacredness. It seems like wherever I travel now I find this place is home."

He adds: "We are rich in Tauranga because of the people that we call friends here. We feel very strongly that we are accepted here. I have no doubt that we will travel for significant amounts of time - but I think New Zealand will always be home in terms of where our hearts are."


Tauranga has been the backdrop for quite an extraordinary wave of creativity in Han's life over the last eight years.  He has recorded two full albums of original songs which express some of his spiritual journey. His music has resonated with many people in New Zealand and all around the world.

Hans, can you tell us more about this creative journey?
I always wanted to write music and it was in Tauranga that I really started to hone the craft. I recorded my first album 'On The Back Hills Of Bethlehem' in Paengaroa with a pretty basic set-up but it's been played all over the world and has opened the doors for me to gig all over Europe. I find inspiration for my songs in dialogue with God.  As far as musical genre goes we lean into folk/rock but on the albums there is a real mix because we work with classical and jazz musicians in the studio.

In what ways has Tauranga as a place influenced your musical journey?
I haven't played heaps in New Zealand but it's definitely been a place of inspiration for me.  There were a lot of things with the recording process that will always feel 'Tauranga'.  What actually happened on the recording was very connected with the people here - with the land.  We recorded the haka at the end of the song 'Psalm 103' on the 'The Back Hills of Bethlehem'  album on Waitangi Day on land that was given back to Maori from Pakeha.  Talented local classical singer, Anna Hawkins, sang backing vocals on three or four tracks.  

Where can people find your music?
Both of my albums, 'On The Back Hills of Bethlehem' and 'For Our Freedom and Yours' are available on Itunes and Spotify. If you're into CD's then you'll have to come to a gig or email me for a copy.



Hans has spent nearly as long brewing coffee as he has creativity.  The worn cliche of a struggling artist working in hospitality might seem to fit here at first glance - but the reality is much more interesting.   When it comes to the world of coffee Hans is a connisseur, an artisan, a business owner and a community builder.  In 2015, Hans founded 'Folk' a specialty espresso bar in Durham Street in Tauranga.

Can you tell us about Folk?
Folk for me is a place for me to test some of the ideas and skills that I've developed over the years. It's a small espresso bar where people can pop in quickly to grab their daily fix but also for the coffee enthusiast to come and try some alternative brewing methods and signature drinks. I love it when friends come by and share a chemex or syphon with me and a game of quarto.

What is your vision for Folk? 
I want to see a community of creative people working together to make beautiful things. I love the movement towards using organic stuff. I want my business to use the gifts of nature without leaving a heavy mark. We are really in the very beginning of creating and dreaming what this can become.

What is your take on the coffee-scene in Tauranga?
I can see the potential of investing in and developing the coffee culture in Tauranga. In the past, New Zealand was quite far in front internationally in terms of developing the latte culture. There is a growing movement at the moment towards specialty grade coffee, gathering momentum as the interest in soft-brew grows.

Soft-brew bars which use syphon and chemix methods of making coffee are becoming more sought after.  The bigger cities like Auckland and Wellington are pushing this.  In Tauranga, people are very eager to get into it and are discovering the nuances between the different coffee plantations - but it’s still early days. 

I’m a creative person so I’m constantly wanting to discover something new.   I’ve already developed quite a deep understanding of espresso so I like pushing the boundaries with soft-brew methods and introducing people to the finer things of the coffee world.  I like the purity of the chemix method - it doesn't lie to you.  I like how natural soft-brew is.  People trying it for the first time are really surprised by how good it tastes.

How do the music and coffee parts of your life co-exist? 
The relationship between coffee and music is actually really good for me. If you are just doing music it can go dry sometimes. Going between the two there is a certain amount of pressure all the time that creates an environment conducive to to creating.

What advice would you give to European immigrants thinking of moving to Tauranga?
I've found that the years that I spent working in a few local businesses has really made a huge impact on my success here at Folk. I would say take the time to meet the local community and build relationships even if you can't find or create your dream job straight away. You never know what doors will open for you because you took the time to make a friend.


A Better Life for Our Children

Hans and Ula would rather raise their children in Tauranga than in Europe.  Lifestyle and education are two big factors in this equation - and Tauranga offers their family a lot on both fronts.

What do you value about the Tauranga lifestyle?
There is something about being by the coast that is really attractive to us as a family.  I grew up by the ocean and I want my kids to be free in the ocean and able to handle themselves. 

We love the chilled out and friendly lifestyle here. Tauranga is a really awesome place to live as a family.  It’s small enough but there is also stuff going on. Now we are looking to own some land and build here. We’ve been coming and going for quite some time - it feels like time to put some roots down.  We'd like somewhere a little bit rural.  If you are going to live in Tauranga you might as well be surrounded by grass!

What matters to you with your children's education?
My daughter goes to a Montessori school and that is really important to us. The whole education system is very intense in Europe - the government has a lot of control. My daughter is a very creative, abstract thinker and so she operates best in an environment where she is given freedom.  She loves writing stories and art is her big thing so she focuses a lot on that. She would only get a little bit of that in a mainstream school.  It's much easier for us to afford this Montessori style of education here in New Zealand than it would be in Europe.  


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


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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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