Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Stacey Jones on Why Tauranga is the New Destination for Ambitous Big Businesses
2 November 2017
Stacey Jones on Why Tauranga is the New Destination for Ambitous Big Businesses

After pursuing a fast-paced advertising career in the UK, Oxford University graduate, Stacey Jones, arrived in Tauranga in December 2008 and found that things work a little differently here.

With an eye on the future, Stacey pivoted from marketing employee to digital marketing freelance consultant.

Fast forward seven years and Stacey now works closely with Tauranga’s economic development organisation, Priority One, leading the Young Innovator Awards and a consultant for business attraction communications. 

Despite the challenges of being a world away from her family, Stacey couldn't be happier growing her career, her family and the city of Tauranga from her little piece of paradise by the sea.

Stacey, tell us about growing up in the UK.

I was born in London, but my family moved to the South Coast when I was a teenager. At the time, I thought I would never forgive my parents for moving me away from my friends, but it was the best thing that could have possibly happened. It helped me knuckle down at school and I ended up getting into Oxford as a result.

What drew you to New Zealand?

When I was 18, I visited New Zealand during a gap year and fell in love with the landscape and beauty.

In our early twenties, my husband and I decided to spend a year overseas before settling down and having kids. There was an opportunity for him to take up an internship at Tauranga business, Locus Research; on 16 December, 2008 we landed in Tauranga.


How did this short-term stay become permanent?

The internship was originally three months but it just didn’t feel long enough. Three months turned into six, then a year and two years. At that point, my mother started to worry!

It’s been seven years now and we are just about to apply for citizenship.

Can you give me a snapshot of your career in the UK?

After studying at Oxford, I was lucky enough to be selected for a graduate program at TBWA London, part of Omnicom – the world’s biggest communications conglomerate.

It was a baptism of fire and I worked across global brands including Nissan and Sony. Major highlights include securing the film rights to the London launch of The Devil Wears Prada for Nissan and raising thousands of pounds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

I spent the next five years in the thick of the London advertising industry working on big award-winning advertising campaigns.

How did moving to Tauranga affect your career?

I quickly discovered that things work differently in Tauranga compared to London. In a city of seven million people, you are a tiny fish in a immense pond. In Tauranga the community is much more connected and open to helping and supporting new people. It gave me the confidence to try my own thing.

Wanting to up-skill in digital marketing, I set up my own online business, Thick as Thieves, selling old school leather satchels. After a couple of years, I sold the business and set up a marketing consultancy, Made By Monsters, wherein I began to work with local businesses to improve their digital capacity.

When you’re far away from home, it’s so important to be living the best possible version of your life. Otherwise why make that sacrifice?

With this mindset, I have focused on creating my ideal job. There is so much opportunity for self-starters in New Zealand – it’s very liberating. 

I would never have thought of going it alone in the UK but Tauranga’s entrepreneurial spirit made me feel like I could take this step. The community is incredibly supportive and willing to share ideas and connections to help others.

How did you connect with Priority One?

As I became more connected in the community, the opportunity to work for Priority One initiative, Young Innovator Awards, came up and I immediately felt passionate and driven by the cause. 

Can you tell us about Young Innovator Awards (YiA)?

Young Innovator Awards (YiA) is all about creating tomorrow’s innovators. We promote learning-by-doing experiences in local schools so students can experience innovation first hand.

Eighty-five percent of today’s jobs won't exist in the future; YIA helps give our kids the tools they need to succeed and create a culture of innovation in The Bay. YiA is currently transitioning from an awards program to an educational program. We do a huge amount of work that goes beyond the awards including workshops, internships, exhibitions, screenings, partnerships, ambassadors…the list goes on.

How has your role with Priority One evolved?

My role with Priority One has grown as the city grows and I provide strategic marketing across a range of projects. My current focus is to help revitalise Tauranga's business attraction campaign as well as prepare for another Groundswell Festival of Innovation. The Tauranga Business Cases served us well, but needs to be updated in light of the massive growth and change the city has experienced in recent years. We are looking to create a new campaign focused around how Tauranga is a lifestyle city with big business ambitions.

Mark Irving is the Business Partnership Manager - the liason between businesses and Priority One, while I am responsible for driving the marketing strategy around business attraction.

What makes Tauranga a compelling destination for big or growing businesses?

We have some serious advantages which other cities simply can’t compete with. We have the country’s busiest and most efficient port, incredible roading networks, affordable commercial property, year-round sunshine and a supportive, innovative community intent on helping you succeed. And Priority One does an amazing job of helping businesses set up in the region. 

We are much more compact and connected in our region than, say, Auckland or Wellington. Supporting one another is integral to the greater success of the region and people understand that here. Recently, Idealog came to the region to interview some of our most of innovative businesses. When I asked the reporter what set us apart, she said how connected we all were; instead of competing against one another, we support each other to get ahead.


What perception do some business owners have of Tauranga as a business destination?

I think the old perception is that it’s a sleepy beach town but that is no longer the case and I definitely think that perception is changing. Smarter businesses have realised that you can run an amazing business and make it thrive from this city whilst living an incredible lifestyle. We have had some really big businesses move here in the last few years, like Brother, and existing global businesses, like Zespri, are going from strength to strength. 

What do you want business owners to understand about the opportunities in Tauranga?

Moving to Tauranga will likely be the best business decision they will ever make. We are known for our lifestyle but the secret is that our business opportunities are equally great.    

When someone is expanding their business, they often just think about doing it locally or in the bigger centres such as Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. I encourage them to add Tauranga to the list and speak to Mark Irving at Priority One to understand all the ways we can support them.

What was it about Tauranga that appealed to you personally?

Straight away, the beauty of this region blew me away. Coming from London, working all hours and not seeing the sun for days, the Mount beach and lifestyle was paradise. When we first arrived, Jono’s company rented us a bach off Tay Street, right by the beach. I couldn’t believe that people could work and live in such an amazing place.

How has Tauranga changed since you moved here?

There are a lot more work opportunities for people moving to the area and those looking to set up a business. There is much more of a community feel as well. Weekends used to be quite quiet; now there are often be several events in any given weekend. I really love bringing up my kids here as there is so much for families to do.

How has your family changed?

The main thing is that we have two new additions to our family: Jacob is three and Florence is two. Having two kids under the age of three definite changes how you do things. Looking at my friends in London makes me aware that having a family in Tauranga is really great and easy: there is little traffic, it’s safe, the sun shines lots and you can be outside all the time.

What do you do for fun or to relax here?

I love to walk up the Mount and I do yoga regularly. We make the most of the beach and family time. We like to take day trips out to some of the gorgeous scenery around us including the Gorge and some of the other beaches along the coast.

What has moving to Tauranga/Mount meant:

For your wellbeing?

A slowdown in pace and increase in wellness and feeling fulfilled.

For your career?

A total change of direction, for the better.

For your relationships?

Being far away from home and family makes me sad, but I’m happy to grow my little family in such an amazing place and get more time with my 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

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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