Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Dee Collins | Focus Magazine Editor Shares Her Moving to Tauranga Story
17 November 2018
Dee Collins | Focus Magazine Editor Shares Her Moving to Tauranga Story

Political instablity and uncertainty about what the future would hold for them in Zimbabwe prompted Dee Collins and her husband, Mark, to leave Africa.  Dee's brother had already moved to Christchurch, so the couple migrated to New Zealand with Dee's parents. However, once her parents had settled in to their new city, Dee and Mark, seeking a warmer climate, decided to move to the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

Nearly a decade later, when they felt the pull to come back to New Zealand and put down permanent roots, it had to be in a region with interesting possibilities. The Bay of Plenty beckoned.  Arriving in 2015, Dee initially liaised with printing clients and then launched herself into producing focus a women's lifestyle magazine celebrating the inspiring local women in her new city, and capturing the story of a city buzzing with positive growth in the process.

This is her story.

How did Tauranga end up on your radar?

We enjoyed our eight years in Australia but eventually felt it was time to move back to New Zealand. We love visiting Christchurch, and all my family are there, but we didn’t want to go back there to settle. We enjoyed a trip around the North Island and felt the Bay of Plenty offered some interesting possibilities. We explored some concepts and decided to give it a go. It’s also only a quick flight to Christchurch so I get to see my family whenever possible.

Can you give us a quick overview of your career?

Most of my career has been in exhibition and event management. In Zimbabwe, I started and owned six massive exhibitions including an Ideal Homes and Outdoor Living Expo, an International Travel Trade Show and a Health and Wellness Expo. A number of overseas companies chose to have conferences and exhibitions in Zimbabwe and I was often subcontracted to be the local liaison person.

From an events point of view, I organised corporate launches and functions, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries but did less of this as the exhibition side of things got busier and busier.

In Australia I owned two wedding expos and produced an annual wedding guide for the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

How vision did you have for your life in Tauranga?

Both my husband and I worked long hours in Australia and didn’t have too much time to enjoy life. We decided to purchase a printing company in Tauranga. Neither of us had any experience in this field but two of our friends were high-end graphic designers. We felt this could give us a lifestyle where we had weekends off and time to explore the region. That was the vision anyway! That hasn’t happened but we’ve made the choice to put in the long hours...at the moment.

Why did you choose to start a women’s lifestyle magazine in Tauranga?

I felt that there was so much negativity in the world and so many magazines were full of gossip. I wanted to publish a magazine with real stories that inspired, motivated, empowered and educated women. We own a printing company and we have high-end graphic designers – there was never going to be a better time and, down the track, I never wanted to be sitting in my rocking chair saying I ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda.’ This was something I wanted to do so I ignored the naysayers and did it. 

What was it like setting up a new business in Tauranga?

In every country there are unique rules, regulations, strategies and concepts so once you understand those, you’re half way there. To increase our network, my husband and I try to attend most of the BA5 events held by the Chamber of Commerce and, for six months, we sponsored the Small Business Tauranga breakfast events. I was also a member of Venus (a women’s networking group) for two years, which was invaluable in that I met so many supportive women.  Annie Hill from Priority One was really helpful with an initial list of inspiring women to approach.  

What have been some of the highlights of the first few years?

I have met so many incredibly inspiring women who have been happy to share their stories with us and, as the editor of a magazine, I am grateful to be given the opportunity to experience new and exciting things.  

It’s hard to believe that we’ve just celebrated our second birthday. We revamped the look and tweaked a few things but we’re still focused on the awesome women in the region.

What motivated you start the Focus on Women Expo? 

The Focus on Women Expo was a natural extension of the magazine and gave visitors the opportunity to find out about some of the amazing products and services on offer in our region as well as listen to informative lifestyle and business presentations on a wide variety of subjects. Visitors could also take part in demos such as yoga, Pilates, martial arts, mindfulness and dancing. I wanted women to come away from the Expo having had a good day out and to also feel empowered, inspired and informed.

We’ve already got great plans for the next Focus on Women Expo in 2020.

How would you describe the business community here?

Tauranga has a slower pace than most other cities but, once you accept that, you make adjustments and alter your course. There’s a definite division of the population – those of us who would like to see Tauranga growing in all aspects and the other, mostly older population, who would like to keep things as they are.

I would really like to see a revitalisation of the CBD before the urban sprawl gathers any more momentum. As the Papamoa, Bayfair and Tauranga Crossing developments flourish people will find less and less reason to come into the city. Although university students will give the CBD a bit more of a vibe, students generally don’t have a lot of money to spend, which won’t help most of the retailers.

What do you do for fun or to relax here?

When we have time off we enjoy relaxing over a brunch or early dinner at one of the many restaurants in the region. We always enjoy exploring new areas and a leisurely walk. This summer we’ve decided we’re going to pack a few picnics and get out more. I love reading and, when things aren’t hectic, I enjoy pottering around in the kitchen. The Mount is a favourite destination of ours – for the walks, the vibe, the restaurants and the beach.

When we first arrived in Tauranga we rented an apartment in Mount Maunganui and I would love to move back there. In the meantime, we live in Welcome Bay and enjoy everything it has to offer.

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career? I’m on a completely new career path with the magazine. I’m loving the opportunity of trying something new.

For your wellbeing? This is something that I have to work on – my work/life balance is definitely out of sync and, although I love what I do, I definitely need to enjoy more down time.

For your relationships? My husband is my biggest supporter and he encourages me every step of the way. Although my family don’t live in Tauranga I speak to them often and, of course, Facetime and Facebook always keep me up to date on what friends and family are up to.


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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