Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Transplanting a Family and a Career from the UK to Tauranga | Marie Larkin's Immigration Story
23 April 2018
Transplanting a Family and a Career from the UK to Tauranga | Marie Larkin's Immigration Story

For UK-born, Marie Larkin, the idea of living in a beachside city was a running family joke or, at best, a retirement plan. After all, Marie and her husband, Lee, had full lives in the UK, with kids and careers, family and friends. Then, one day, the idea of moving halfway around suddenly didn’t seem so crazy.

“We discussed the move again and my husband kept saying that the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand was the place for us.”

The decision was cemented during a precursory visit in 2016 and the Larkin family made the move the following year. Still in the early days, the Larkins are settling nicely into their seaside Papamoa lifestyle and Marie is enjoying putting her depth of IT experience to use as service delivery manager for local IT company BayTech.

Here’s Marie’s story of relocating her family and starting anew in Tauranga.

Marie, tell us about your family.

I grew up in Cheshire in the UK and met my husband on a night out in our hometown. We got married in 1999 and our son, Theo, was born in 2003, our daughter, Mai, in 2005. I’ve always been very career-focussed, but in 2015 I took some time off work to spend more time with my kids.

Give us a snapshot of your career.

I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK with a degree in Social Policy and Administration. Following university, I took up a position with Pearl Assurance as a financial services agent before moving on to work for Barclays Technology Centre where I trained with IBM as a mainframe support analyst. My career with Barclays spanned over 20 years and I worked in many different technology departments. My last role there was heading up the global change delivery team for Data Warehouse.

When did you first begin thinking about moving to New Zealand?

Travel has always been our passion and it was always our dream to move to a warmer climate and experience living and working in another country. 

My husband started researching New Zealand and discovered the Bay of Plenty. At first, we just joked that this would be the place for us, but as time went on we started thinking more seriously about making the leap.

How did you go about pursuing the international move?

We visited the Emigration Group in Chester, UK to see if we would be eligible based on our skill sets and ‘points’. The feedback was positive and we were told that on receipt of a job offer, we should be eligible. We also attended an Expo run by the Immigration New Zealand team in London. 

I wasn’t brave enough to make the jump without visiting, so we set off for our New Zealand visit on 1 November 2016. That whistle stop tour saw us cover Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Ohope. When we drove over the Kaimai ranges to the Bay of Plenty, the sun dazzled and "Hallelujah!" played on the car stereo! We all joked that it was a sign. By the time we had spent three days in town, we were hooked.   

Tell us about your role at BayTech.

I am the Service Delivery Manager for BayTech Ltd. I look across all aspects of the service we provide, implement improvements and enhance our capabilities. My initial focus is on enhancing our remote monitoring and management capability.

I’m really enjoying how varied my role is and how it enables me to put my prior experience to good use. I already feel part of a close-knit team and feel like my contribution is making a difference.

What does BayTech do?

BayTech is a rapidly growing IT company that provides first class IT and server support for clients across the Bay of Plenty and beyond. BayTech provide Microsoft and Windows server support, internet-telephone solutions and is a trusted supplier of IT equipment and software. We have specialist Medtech qualified engineers who support many of the medical practices across the region. In addition to the healthcare sector, BayTech support many high profile clients across a diverse range of industries.     

How would you describe the business community here?

I find the business community to be very collaborative and supportive. Lots of people who had never met us went out of their way to try to help us, to make suggestions and provide valuable introductions.

What connection have you have with Priority One?

I sourced Priority One’s details from the internet and got in touch with Annie Hill a few months before arriving and, throughout our entire transition to Tauranga, her help and support has been invaluable. Annie helped to put my name forward to local businesses in the ICT cluster across the region. In fact, my current opportunity came to my attention as the result of attending an IT networking event organised by Priority One.

Can you tell us about your husband’s experience of finding work?

For the ten years prior to leaving the UK, my husband had run his own business, Vale Royal Mortgages and Insurance. His skill set was in demand and he had an exciting potential opportunity before we left from the UK, but unfortunately we needed salaried roles to meet the work visa conditions, so he had to look for other opportunities. 

He is now at Coastal Insurance Brokers Ltd, a new enterprise based in Papamoa Professional Suites whose head office, Sweeney Townsend, is based in Rotorua. The directors were looking for someone to help them expand their operation and Lee’s skill set was a great fit.

What is Lee’s role at Coastal Insurance Brokers?

Lee provides domestic and commercial insurance solutions for businesses and individuals across the region. He is enjoying using his skills and experience gained in the UK and he has had fantastic support from the team at the Rotorua office and has already established some great connections across the area.

What vision did you have for your life here? 

On many occasions we had daydreamed about one day moving to a warmer climate by the beach, but, honestly, I thought that we would be lucky to achieve this in our retirement. 

Our vision for our life in New Zealand was one where we could build a good life for ourselves and our children. We have always adored the great outdoors, so we wanted to work hard and spend our free time enjoying the spectacular scenery that New Zealand has to offer. We had also heard great reports about the education system in New Zealand and thought that this would be a great opportunity for our children.

What has surprised you about Tauranga?

I think that the outstanding beauty of the region will always continue to surprise us. Sunrise, sunset and the skies in general are amazing, also the friendliness and welcoming nature of the people here is wonderful. Climbing the Mount for the first time was one of the best experiences of my life. Our children attend Papamoa College and we have already been so impressed by how the school has tailored opportunities for Theo and Mai.

Did you have any challenges along the way?

Leaving our family and friends was hard for us, as was the level of job uncertainty. The work visa process is also very challenging. Retaining a positive attitude was essential, as well as a determination to succeed. We were completely out of our comfort zone and had to remain positive throughout a series of setbacks. Even though our family and friends were many miles away, their ongoing encouragement and messages of support were fantastic.

What do you to relax here?

Visit the beach, long walks, day trips out, swim and body board in the ocean. Spend time catching up with our friends and family. Lee plays golf, goes fishing, has joined a football supporters club and meets up regularly with business colleagues for lunch in Tauranga CBD.  

What has moving to Tauranga meant…

For your wellbeing?

The environment and atmosphere here has had such a positive effect on our wellbeing and outlook.

For your career?

Both Lee and I have been fortunate to secure great career opportunities, which will hopefully help us and the companies we work for grow.

For your relationships?

Technology has enabled us to keep in regular contact with our friends and family back in the UK and, even though we miss our nearest and dearest, they are always in our thoughts and conversations. We have been lucky since arriving in New Zealand to have met lots of lovely people and have already made some great friends and neighbours. 

As a family unit, our relationships have grown stronger as we’ve all been on this adventure together. We have had to support each other when the going has got tough but, overall, we’ve had so much fun together. It’s been a unique time which I wouldn’t change for the world.   


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


Ready for a better work/life balance in a vibrant, growing, sea-side city?

We'd love to have you in Tauranga!


Visit us on

Newsletter Signup

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!


You Might Also Like

Blog Sample 1

French-born Tauranga Entrepreneur Inspires Innovation

"It is a hard road being an entrepreneur. You need more than inspiration to get an innovative idea off the ground." ~ Pascale Hyboud-Peron


Continue Reading

Blog Sample 2

Meet Kathryn | Your Tauranga Connection

"I thought that going from Sydney to Tauranga would be akin to cruising down the pace-of-life highway at 100kph in 5th gear and then suddenly shifting into first. Perhaps, into reverse.”

Continue Reading

Blog Sample 3

Bring Your Job To Tauranga

Working remotely is the new black! We pick the brains of two returned Kiwi expats who have chosen sunny Tauranga as their home city to telecommute from. 

Continue Reading