Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Jaco Kapp | The Surfing Accountant Moves to Tauranga
25 September 2018
Jaco Kapp | The Surfing Accountant Moves to Tauranga

South-African born and bred, Jaco Kapp and his wife Bronwyn, pin-pointed Tauranga out of all the global options when they began searching for a new adventure. A chartered accountant, with 20 years of semi-professional surfing under his belt, Jaco wanted to find a place with good career opportunities and proximity to good surf breaks!  Tauranga has delievered on both of these things and more.

After a job-hunting reconnaissance trip in April, Jaco arrived in Tauranga in July 2018 to begin his new role as a Senior Accountant with the Engine Room in the heart of the Tauranga CBD.  Bronwyn and their young son arrived in mid-August and the family are now putting down roots and are feeling warmly welcomed into this city by the sea they have chosen to call home.

This is Jaco's story.

Jaco, where did you grow up?

I grew up in a town called Knysna – South Africa, which is quite similar to Tauranga. Before moving to New Zealand, my wife, Bronwyn and I and our son, Griffin, lived in a coastal town of Ballito on the North Coast of South Africa. We lived in an estate, close to work for Bronwyn, who was a nurse at the local private hospital. I was the Financial Manager for an international textile company who had their head office based in the area.

How did Tauranga end up on your radar?

We literally pinpointed Tauranga out of all our options globally. We were hoping for a new adventure and to find a city where our children could enjoy a great quality of life with ample outdoor activities. Being so far away from New Zealand, we used the internet and researched places that ticked all the boxes. The beaches and lifestyle, the business environment and the-family orientated nature of Tauranga made this a perfect place for us.

I have been surfing on a semi-professional basis for more than 20 years, which is why we needed to be close to a beach with decent surf breaks.  I plan to keep competing in New Zealand. My current sponsors are also still keen to back me in my new country as they are predominantly international brands. 

How long was your planning process?

We were contemplating the move for a few months, but when we made the decision it happened very quickly! I submitted my application for a visitor’s visa and arrived here in April 2018  for the initial job hunt. I began work here in July, so this all happened in the space of just months! 

How did you navigate work visas?

You have to receive a job offer to apply for a work visa, but most recruiters will not put you forward for a position if you do not have a valid work visa - understandably so, as there is still a good chance you might not get the work visa due to the administration involved and various checks done in this process. We used Immigration specialists, Network Migration, who really made this process  so much easier. 

Why did you choose to come to Tauranga to job-search in person?

I had very little success sending my CV out from abroad, as you are just another e-mail and difficult to differentiate yourself from other job searchers. It is much easier meeting recruiters face to face and being able to market yourself in person. 

I managed to get in touch with Barry Brown from Jigsaw Recruitment who was instrumental in securing my job at the Engine Room. He took the chance and put me forward for the position and secured me an interview for the next day. I ended up in the Tauranga Intensive  Care Unit with a kidney stone that same evening and was discharged just a few hours before my interview. Luckily I managed to get a few hours sleep and a bit of time to prepare. It was used as an ice breaker in my interview, that I had very thoroughly checked out the local health system!

Margaret Holmes, co-director of the Engine Room gave me the opportunity which I will be forever grateful for. Employing a foreigner comes with extra paperwork and administration because of work visa requirements. She was patient in giving me the extra time to get everything wrapped up in South Africa before starting my new position. 

What part did Priority One play in your journey?

While I still in South Africa, I was searching online through business platforms and Priority One came up in one of my searches. I read about the organization and managed to get hold of Annie Hill. She was so helpful in giving me some guidance and she also made time to meet with me while I was here in April. She sent out a great profile on me to potential employers and put me in contact with a few members who were willing to give me some input and guidance on the Chartered Accounting profession in New Zealand as well as how businesses operate in Tauranga.

Can you describe your role at Engine Room Accounting?

I am a Senior Accountant. Engine Room is a perfect fit for me, being a dynamic Chartered Accounting firm that embraces technology and really puts an extreme amount of effort in keeping up to date with cloud based technology and automating processes for their clients.

I am working with a wonderful team and have a great mentor in Margaret Holmes.  I am getting a phenomenal amount of training and resources to which gives me all the opportunity to grow myself personally and as a Chartered Accountant. 


What are you enjoying so far about the business community in Tauranga?

I personally wanted to be in a business hub to further my career as a Chartered Accountant and have found a vibrant business community in Tauranga. Margaret is involved in a whole lot of organisations and I have been privileged to be part of and attend a few business meetings and interactions such as the local BNI (Business Network International) Group and the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce functions.

This has given me the opportunity to network and experience how the large variety of businesses in the area operate. I found the business owners to be extremely hands on in all aspects of their businesses. This in turn gives me more motivation to assist these businesses in streamlining their processes so they can focus on growing their businesses rather than being inundated with administrative functions.

How are you settling in as a family?

Tauranga has far exceeded my expectations. It has a lovely community and breath taking views everywhere you go. Every day I have to remind myself that we actually live in this beautiful place. We are still getting used to the climate and the unpredictability of the weather here, but it is an amazing town and everyone has been so helpful and have gone out of their way to make us feel at home. Our neighbours and everyone we have met have offered their assistance in some way, which just shows what a caring and tight knit community Tauranga has. We are living in Matua – a short stroll away from Fergusson Park.

Everything is so efficient. Great service delivery is something I am still getting used to. I was sending e-mails to service providers to thank them for their exceptional service, only to realise this is just the norm! 

What has Tauranga meant:

For your career? Joining the Engine Room team has been the best decision for me. Working at such a dynamic firm has been amazing and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me which I am grabbing with both hands.

For your wellbeing? Knowing my family is in a safe environment and have so many options in quality education takes away a large amount of worry and stress for me.  

For your relationships? We have met so many people and everyone has been so friendly and helpful. We have met new friends and reunited with some old friends who have also moved here.


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



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

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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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