Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Holly Potter | The Art of Settling into a New City
21 December 2016
Holly Potter | The Art of Settling into a New City


Holly Potter knows a thing or two about change. Born in Plymouth, in the UK, she spent her early childhood in Wales and moved to Austria at age 10 where she saw out the rest of her schooling, with a one year interlude in Texas at age 16. When she met Simon, instead of settling down, they travelled around Thailand and Australia, spent a year in New Zealand (which they fell in love with), got married in the Whitsundays and did a stint in Los Angeles before settling back into the UK to start a family.  

When their two little girls came along, they felt New Zealand calling - drawn to the beaches, the lifestyle and the carefree environment where kids can truly be kids. With change being such a constant companion in her life, Holly has gathered some road-travelled wisdom on what it takes to settle into a new country or city.

This is her story.


Holly, you first moved to Hamilton. What drew you over the hill to Tauranga?

We started our New Zealand life in Hamilton, not by choice, but by default. My sister was a paediatric surgeon at Waikato Hospital at the time and it was great to be close to her while the girls were so young. We spent a lot of weekends in the Bay over the years and just loved the beach and the atmosphere over here.

After four years in Hamilton we came to a cross roads. It was time to either move home to Europe or move to the beach. The sunny Bay of Plenty won!


What was your experience of finding work in Tauranga?

My experience of finding work in Tauranga is that it’s all about who you know, not what you know.  It seems to be a very small town really and once you’re out meeting people you soon make connections.

I have had an eclectic career path working as an interior designer, event manager and photography assistant. There are actually a lot of similarities between these fields in terms of styling, colour, textures, customer service and problem solving.

In Hamilton I worked for a photographer who introduced me to Tracy Stamatakos, a highly-respected photographer based here in Tauranga. I began assisting Tracy part-time the day after we arrived and it’s been a whirlwind ever since!

I met Kerry, of Florence & Co, when she opened up her interior design and homewares shop next door to Tracy's studio. We were introduced and the very next day I was there helping unpack furniture and boxes!  The store opened in June and we haven't had a chance to pause ever since.

What is your role at Florence & Co?

I’m an interior designer at Florence & Co as well as the marketing manager in charge of our advertising and social media. I work with all of our design clients in store and at their homes, as well as people who just need a little bit of help with selecting their fabrics, wallpapers, furniture and accessories.

There are three of us in the Florence & Co team and we all work together collaboratively on the daily running of things. I love creating design schemes, getting to know our lovely customers, helping them find just the right piece, exploring all of the new beautiful fabric and wallpaper ranges that come out regularly and helping source the right stock for the shop.


What is your husband doing career wise?

Simon works as a sales & marketing manager but is busy designing and creating a range of furniture to sell through the new business we have started, Tuesday Wednesday. It’s been in the planning stages for six years now so we’ve had plenty of time to fine tune what we want to create. Now that we are happy and settled in our new location we can start growing our own business.

What do you love about living in Tauranga?

I love the close proximity to the beach and the Mount. Being able to go there on a Sunday morning or a weekday evening is perfect and just being by the sea completely revives me. The rhythmic sound of the waves and the peaceful view out over the water fills me up and I never tire of it. Walking up or around the Mount is one of my favourite things to do, either on my own, with a friend or with the family. 

I also love the weather, the relaxed lifestyle and the fabulously friendly people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know these past 12 months! There’s a definite holiday vibe about the place and everyone seems to love living here. We’ve been made to feel very welcome and for that I am truly grateful.   


You have navigated a lot of change in your life. What wisdom could you share?

I try to remind myself that change brings opportunity - that you can never predict what is coming so just try and make the most of what you have and where you find yourself at any given time. We are not afraid of new adventures and have always embraced the uncertainty that new beginnings bring. This open mindset has stood us in good stead through a lot of ups and downs. A very wise friend once told me that when things seem really hard, you can either laugh or cry. I try to make sure we laugh a lot more than we cry!

How long do you think it takes to settle into a new city? 

I think it takes at least a year to settle in somewhere new, but to feel really settled it can be quite a few years more. By the time you really find your way around, settle into work, build up strong relationships, discover the places and shops that you love, get kids settled into school and activities it can really be three years before that all happens.

My advice for anyone moving to a new place would be the following four things:

Be Patient. Things take time. Allow yourself the enjoyment of that discovery period and try not to rush things you can’t speed up.

Be Kind. To yourself and to those around you. It’s a small town and things will come back to you.

Have Courage. Go out and meet people, talk to people, get involved with things. Say YES to things, even if you don’t feel like it - you never know who you might meet or where it may lead you. I find it’s those unexpected chance encounters that can be the most meaningful and memorable.


Tell us about your girls and what your Tauranga move has meant for them?

Arabella and Lucy are our absolute joy! They are so full of life, happiness and lovelyness, making it really easy for me to enjoy the simple pleasures that everyday life brings. They love the choice we made to move here and are always keen to head to the beach.

One of their favourite things in summer is having fish and chips and a late afternoon swim at Pilot Bay. They also love baking, crafting and creating things at home, spending days in their pyjamas, reading lots of books, making dens and having adventures. They are having a great childhood in Tauranga!

What do you think Tauranga has got going for it as a city? 

The waterfront location is pretty hard to beat. Tauranga is a growing city that has a lot to offer, but still retains that small town community feel. Traffic is manageable and people live here by choice which really shows. The current expansions are good for the people who have recently made the move and for people who are relocating here.

The schools are excellent, the people are extremely friendly, there are loads of cool community events throughout the year, there’s a really good creative atmosphere here and there are a lot of exceptionally talented artists, photographers and creatives in the area.  

We still miss our family, old friends and lots of other things about Europe but we do feel that we’ve finally found the right place to call home in the sunny Bay of Plenty. 

What is new for you in 2017?

My passion has always been writing and so a few months before we moved to Tauranga I set up my blog www.inpursuitoflovelyness.com as a way to combine all of my hobbies and interests into one place. It was my way of remembering what was important to me, staying grounded in the moment and seeking beauty and small joys to appreciate amidst the minutiae of everyday life. It is my way of spreading a little bit of Lovelyness to those that read it or follow me on Facebook.  

With all of the chaos of moving and settling in it has taken a back seat for a while, but my personal focus for 2017 is to get back to regular posting and build up a body of work that I can then potentially use to write a book or start a column somewhere, set up kids crafting classes or something else…

Who knows where these things lead? 


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

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


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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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