Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

When a City Chooses You | Photographer Renee Recordon’s Canada to Tauranga Story
10 April 2018
When a City Chooses You | Photographer Renee Recordon’s Canada to Tauranga Story

Renee Recordon had deep roots in her Canadian hometown and with family close by she couldn’t imagine starting her own family anywhere else. Luckily, her Kiwi husband, David, was content to call Canada home.

All of that changed on a family holiday to New Zealand in February 2017. Visiting Tauranga, Renee and David suddenly saw Tauranga as a place that could offer their two little girls – and themselves – an unparalled, down-to-earth lifestyle. Just a few months later, the Recordon's returned to Tauranga, this time for good.

Since then, Renee and her family have set about the important task of setting down roots in their new city. Renee and David have started their own photography and videography business, Kindred Vine, while the girls continue to blossom on the Paengaroa farm that the family calls home.

Renee, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada – 16 hours from the nearest coastline with extremely cold winters. My husband, David, is from Auckland and we met in California back in 2007. We were both attending a ministry school called Bethel and lived in the same apartment block.

Why did you initially decide to raise your children in Canada?

As anyone in an international marriage knows, whichever country you choose, there is a deep sense of pain and loss. Being close to my family was the motivation behind staying in Canada. Having them nearby when our girls were small provided us with much-needed support. We believe in growing deep roots in a community, so we thought we’d stay in Canada forever.

What was the catalyst for the move to Tauranga?

In February, we made a family trip to New Zealand with no intent to move here. We spent time in Northland, Auckland, Taupo and Tauranga. This was my second visit to Tauranga, but this time our kids were older enough to keep up to our pace, which meant that we could really enjoy our holiday with them.

We saw the girls come alive in Tauranga. It felt as if Tauranga fit us perfectly and we knew without a doubt that it was where we wanted to live. A desire we didn’t know existed came to the surface and we could visualise an active lifestyle for our family in New Zealand.

Where do you live?

We moved in onto a friend's property on a kiwifruit orchard near Te Puke and we could not be more thrilled. I’m part city girl, part farm girl, so it’s a great balance of both. My girls settled in much easier and faster than we did and they are constantly building their confidence and independence. On the farm they get to learn about animals, which grows compassion in children.

What does your new life here offer you?

We moved here to enjoy simple living and the many wonderful people in the city. I’m discovering that less is more; we are letting go of striving and a busy lifestyle. I can see my kids discovering their full potential here thanks to the creativity and active lifestyle. I try to create an atmosphere and home life where people can find peace and rest and let go of stress.

What has helped make Tauranga feel like home?

Many friends that we had made throughout our lives ended up living in Tauranga and we knew that we could never make a massive decision like this without friendships on the other side waiting for us.

Can you tell us about your photography business

I have been involved in photography for over ten years. For a few of those years, David and I shot weddings together, but as the years went on, David pursued other career paths. Two years ago I decided to pick it up again with full force. David and I started Kindred Vine, a photo/video company that is a reflection of our personalities and our relationship. We push the lines of vulnerability, creativity and excellence. We each have our strengths that benefit each other and keep each other moving in the right direction.


What was it like setting up a freelance business in a new city?

It was terrifying at first, we didn’t know what to expect. But we are constantly astounded by how well we have been welcomed and accepted into the creative arts culture. There is a great community of photographers and videographers who truly support one another.

What connections have you made within the industry?

I reached out to some photographers and have been doing quite a bit of second shooting for great local company, Swift and Click. The husband-wife team have been great; Rachel helps me get my name out there and I have enjoyed working alongside Jared.

For video, David introduced himself to Anton Steel from BOP Film and ended up helping Anton film a presentation called Sing! Sing! Sing! David shot his first gig through Anton which proved to be a great way to get his foot in the door.

What has surprised you about Tauranga?

Everything is completely new to us here, but I’m not sure surprised would be the right word. We are constantly re-discovering what it means to live here. Perhaps we are surprised by how much we have fallen in love with it!

What have been some of the challenges of settling into a new country?

Our only challenge was having to say goodbye to our friends and family back home. Otherwise, our transition has been graceful and easy. Already having a community of friends once we arrived helped ease the pain of saying our goodbyes in Canada.

What has coming back to New Zealand been like for David?

It feels new to him since we didn’t move to his hometown of Auckland. It’s been a time of discovery as well. He’s happy to be back doing water sports, but mostly happy to see his girls thrive in our new environment. He’s loved the transition and the fact that he’s close to his family.

What has moving to Tauranga meant…

For your wellbeing?

Our minds and bodies have flourished here. I didn’t realise how much I needed the outdoors for my mental and physical health. David used to get migraines frequently and he’s rarely had them since the move.

For your career?

Our career is further along than we anticipated and we are extremely grateful and hopeful for the future. Because Tauranga is a growing city it is a great place for us to expand and grow our business and creativity along with other growing businesses.

For your relationships?

I have actually grown closer to my parents during this move which has been a big relief.


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 Annie

Contact Annie

Need help? Contact Annie

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