Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Gordy Lockhart of The Kollective | Tauranga's First Community Services Co-Working Space
16 August 2017
Gordy Lockhart of The Kollective | Tauranga's First Community Services Co-Working Space

After a careeer focused on profits, Scotsman, Gordy Lockhart, is excited to be working for a social enterprise in Tauranga.  

The Kollective is a bespoke co-working space in the making, bringing together complementary community organisations. This innovative project will provide space, connection, efficiency and technical capability to community services who are focused on making Tauranga better for everyone. Due for completion in 2018, Gordy is part of the team making it all happen.

Despite years in real estate and business management, Gordy says that his 'good socialist heart' goes back to his youth, when his mum ran a family centre in an impoverished part of Glasgow.

Gordy, who has his own consultancy business, is keen to put his business management skills to use in a socially-focused environment. 

Gordy moved to New Zealand with his Kiwi partner, Leon, in 2007 and they have called Tauranga home since 2011. Last year, he published his first book about growing up in Glasgow. Let's hear how Gordy found his niche in Tauranga.

Gordy, what brought you to New Zealand?

I’m a Glasgow boy, but I always go for the laugh in explaining that I grew up in a nice part of the murder capital of Europe!

I met my Taranaki-born partner, Leon, when he was doing his big O.E. in Glasgow in 2004. Two years later we went on a six-week tour of New Zealand, during which time we got married in a civil union in Leon’s parents’ Otaki back garden. A year later, in June 2007, we left Scotland permanently and moved to Taranaki.

How did Tauranga end up on your radar?

I’d spent fifteen years of my life in real estate and had enjoyed several senior leadership positions. When the Global Financial Crisis hit, buying and selling property was on the back burner so I pivoted and became the general manager of Taranaki’s Stratford Press, a provincial title owned by APN News and Media. In February of 2011, they promoted me and I began running their national classified advertising centre in Tauranga.

Can you tell us about your role with The Kollective?

The Kollective (TK), launching mid-2018, will be New Zealand’s largest co-working space and is specifically designed for community services. I saw the role advertised and thought it fit perfectly with my abilities in systems, process and leadership. Perhaps more importantly, it presented a jump into a new environment of social and community services, an area for which I have enormous passion.

I witnessed the needs of those who benefit from charities and not-for-profit organisations in my youth and, if I can be a touch dramatic, perhaps I’m trying to atone for years of corporate-driven ‘restructuring’.

The potential benefits for TK members are enormous. It is a new way of working, a new way of thinking and I believe wholeheartedly that it’s a project of which Tauranga should be immensely proud.

Which organisations are behind The Kollective?

TK is a TECT legacy project: they own the land and building for the benefit of the community. SociaLink,  a trust committed to building a thriving social sector in Tauranga, was awarded the contract to assist in the internal systemic development while construction progresses and the daily operational management of the building once complete.

How would you describe the vision of The Kollective?

Imagine a place where you work alongside like minds every day, a place where everyone you meet exudes a passion for community, for culture and the human value in the services they provide. Imagine then, if that place were entirely dedicated to the community service sector, to social enterprise, to not for profit, or charitable organisations. And imagine that it offered the opportunity to meet other devoted co-workers, whenever, wherever you choose and to be at the heart of an environment where complementary organisations can explore and thrive. 

Will you continue with The Kollective once the build is complete?

I’m in it for the long term. I believe that the concept of the co-working space and leadership of that space is tied closely with hospitality and entertainment; development doesn’t stop with the last brick in the wall.

We’ll have heaps of workshops and presentations from local service providers so the members of TK can learn and develop while increasing opportunities for local businesses.

The building has a huge stage to the rear looking onto the Historic Village and an enormous green space. This will be a meeting point where colleagues and friends can enjoy the sun and chat. The stage will be available for events and TK and the Historic Village will collaborate to create an environment where dramatic performances, gigs, festivals or markets can take place.

Tell us about starting your consultancy business five years ago.

I was made redundant from APN in 2012, but it was a blessing in disguise as I launched my own management and business consultancy. I specialized in the legal industry, particularly in business systems, fiscal management and marketing. Starting a consultancy business in a city to which I was relatively new was a serious challenge, however I was fortunate to have developed relationships not restricted to Tauranga itself.

I thoroughly enjoyed my business management role and love working with my clients, but only one of those clients has ever been from Tauranga. In my view, recruitment in Tauranga is difficult as a lot of it happens through family or friends, and others still are recruited from Auckland. 

What connection have you had with Priority One?

Priority One is a God-send for Tauranga. Annie is an unbelievably well-organised whirlwind of dynamism and the team seems very driven to improve the lives of the people of Tauranga. They are an invaluable source of advice and fantastic drivers of talent in and to the Bay.

What was your impression of Tauranga when you first moved here?

Before we moved here, we’d been here a few times on weekends, including one ‘test the water’ trip before we moving here. It was a warmer place with more facilities and had a bit of a vibe to it.

Having come from a country environment and bringing our old, blind sheepdog, Roy, with us, we first moved to a beautiful lifestyle block out at Whakamarama. Months on, Leon was working at the Bay of Plenty Polytech, I was working down on Durham Street and Roy had passed on, so we moved into the city with a place on 14th Avenue. Living in the city was where Tauranga life really started for us and we loved the central location of our new place.

What changes have you seen over the last six years?

Traffic and house prices are the major changes. Neither of those are particularly positive, but Tauranga’s laid-back atmosphere, gorgeous climate and friendly people are all still here, which is the best news ever!

Tell us about your book.

I write a life-based comedic blog about growing up in Glasgow in the 1980s and '90s and I produced my first book, This Glasgow Smile, last year. My writing developed almost accidentally from my love of marketing and effective web text.

What do you enjoy about living in Tauranga?

We enjoy being close to the city, having great friends nearby and going to stage shows at 16th Avenue and Detour Theatre. I love riding my motorcycle around town and just hanging around at home working on a blog piece or other writing.

What has moving to Tauranga meant for your well-being?

I’m a significantly more settled person and enjoy life and my place in this world. Mind you, that may have something to do with being 43. I like to think of work not as work but as another part of my life that contributes to my enjoyment everyday. Leon and I have been married for eleven years and are happier than ever. We have great friends and enjoy a life of 'am-dram' and dinner parties.

What has it meant for your finances?

After building up our businesses and selling the house in Taranaki, Leon and I have managed just this year to buy a home over here. We’re so happy to be able to have somewhere to call our own and have loved making the new place somewhere we can feel at home.

I like to talk of ‘before owning time’ and ‘after owning time’ by which I mean getting back on the property ladder. In the ‘before time’ we had money, but uncertainty. Now, in the ‘after time’, we have certainty, but no money. 


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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