Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Kiwi Immigrants Blog

Jonathan Brayley on Changing Countries and Careers | South Africa to Tauranga
17 January 2019
Jonathan Brayley on Changing Countries and Careers | South Africa to Tauranga

Attracted to New Zealand’s freedom, safety, opportunities and lifestyle, South African, Jonathan Brayley, moved to Tauranga in April 2018 – over seven months ahead of his wife and children.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but coming on my own allowed me to focus fully on finding the right employment, area to live, school, house and so on.”

The sacrifice paid off. Jonathan secured an excellent job as Sharp Corporation’s Central Region Sales Manager and began carving out a wonderful life to welcome his family into in the months to come. Reunited just before Christmas 2018, the Brayley family is loving their new life in Tauranga. Here’s Jonathan's sea-change story.

Why did you move to New Zealand? 

We were a young family with no large family business commitments and wished for our children to grow up in a safe and developed country that would offer good education, globally recognised universities, great work and sporting opportunities, state of the art facilities and technology, and a safe, active, outdoor lifestyle.

The uncertainties in South Africa were a major concern. I was drawn to New Zealand as I have always enjoyed Kiwis through sport.

How did Tauranga end up on your radar? 

We had friends living in Tauranga and had heard great things about the place. It is similar to Durban, South Africa in that it is a coastal town with great beaches and warm summer months.

Can you give me a snapshot of your career? 

I started out in the office automation industry - where I met my wife, Lynne. I was a contracted Sharks rugby player from 1999 to 2000, left the office automation industry in 2005 and progressed into the packaging industry for 12 years. I held the position of Dairypack Regional Sales Manager for Polyoak Packaging before leaving for New Zealand.  

How did you go about finding work in Tauranga? 

I had done as much as I could before leaving South Africa’s shores but the common response was that one had to be in New Zealand in the flesh to be taken seriously as so many people are on the fence and don’t always follow through with their decision to move.

I resigned from a very good position in South Africa without being guaranteed of finding work here, which was a scary place to be. My trip to find work in New Zealand was the first time I had ever seen or visited the country and I wasn’t disappointed. Had I not felt comfortable that this was the right country or decision, I would have returned and hopefully gone back to my previous employer.

How did you secure your job at Sharp Corporation?

I had my mind set on continuing with the packaging industry but during my trip to Tauranga, I walked into Kinetic Recruitment and met fellow ex-South African Terri Wright. 

A few days later, Terri contacted me to discuss the opportunity of returning to the office automation industry. Thinking back to my years in the industry there were some really great memories and the role was something I wanted to sink my teeth into.

I proceeded with my first interview in Auckland at the Sharp Corporation head office and was extremely impressed by the magnitude of the company as well as the products they offered. I was excited at the opportunity of being offered the position of Central Region Sales Manager. 

Tell us about Sharp Corporation New Zealand.

Sharp Corporation is a renowned international technology and appliance company known for their excellent and user-friendly design and innovation. Unlike most of their competitors, Sharp Corporation NZ now offers ICT, visual solutions as well as software solutions over and above the standard copier, printer, scanner and fax devices.

Sharp are able to offer all customers from small to large organisations a tailored solution that will assist in streamlining and speeding up their productivity.

Describe your role as the Central Region Sales Manager?

Based in Tauranga, I look after the entire central region of New Zealand. I am enjoying building, motivating and driving the central region sales team to improve their skills and ultimately grow the Sharp brand and customer base in New Zealand while continually building a positive mindset and culture. I am also enjoying learning the New Zealand business ethics and code of conduct which does differ slightly to that of South Africa.

How would you describe the business community in Tauranga? 

Being small in comparison to South Africa, it is a close business community where reputation is very important.

What was it like arriving ahead of your family?

It was extremely difficult being in totally different time zones, coming home from work in the dark of winter with no family or dog to greet you, and then having to jump onto my laptop at night to conduct business back home with various matters that needed urgent attention. It was extremely tiring.

How did it feel being reunited after over seven months apart? 

It was amazing: relief, excitement, love, success, pride were some of the emotions I felt as my family walked through customs.

Lynne and the kids are settling in well. It was great timing getting to enjoy the Christmas holiday together. We look forward to the kids settling into their new school which is most important to us.

What do you love about living in Tauranga? 

The weather, the beach and being situated in a great location close to all activities. Meeting new friends and exploring new places together as a family. I also love golf, cycling and fishing.

What has been challenging? 

Getting familiar with the geography and various pronunciations. Getting the kids to bed on time this summer has also been quite a challenge with it only getting dark at 9pm.

What has moving to Tauranga meant…

For your career? 

Gaining experience at management level in New Zealand was always a priority and being based in the Central North Island region has allowed me to meet a wide variety of organisations which has given me a solid foundation.

For your wellbeing? 

Being in a similar environment to South Africa certainly helps with the adjustment process. The natural beauty feeds your soul and there is so much of it here in Tauranga.

For your relationships? 

As a family it has certainly brought us all closer together. We have also met some lovely families that I am confident will develop into great relationships for the future.


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

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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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