Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Aucklanders & Other Kiwis Blog

Everything Is Easier in Tauranga | Richard & Kat
25 January 2016

Kat Jensen and Richard Smart were sold on Tauranga when they realised that with the money they got from selling their North Shore home they could buy a home and a business in Tauranga, and still be able to save money each month.

"Living in Auckland, the crazy house prices meant that you were always on this frenetic hamster wheel of servicing a mortgage and hoping you had enough left afterwards to actually have a life," says Kat. 

The couple made the big move in April 2015 when they became the proud new owners of Café Botannix at Palmers Garden Centre in Bethlehem, Tauranga.

Their first year has flown by and they are enjoying a quality of life they couldn't find space for in Auckland. It's the little things that make a difference for them - traffic is easier, parking is easier and, well,  life is just easier.  

But Kat is quick to point out Tauranga is far from being a sleepy little seaside town.

"Modern day Tauranga is an interesting combination of laid back and progressive at the same time," she says. "The growth of the area is quite phenomenal. It’s already changed so much in the 10 months we’ve lived here. It’s exciting to have a front row seat to see it develop."

Having brought a world of experience with them it's safe to say they'll be playing a key role in this city by the sea they now call home.

This is their story.

Kat, how long had you been thinking about moving to Tauranga before you made the move?

Richard is a ‘Bay-boy’ from way back. He grew up predominantly in Whakatane but his mother and step-father live in Bethlehem now. Each time we visited them we would ask each other whether we thought we could live in Tauranga. We began seriously considering it about six months prior to it actually happening (it was a quick decision!). 

What had you been up to before that?

Richard had moved to Auckland after leaving school and travelled around a bit to South Africa, Europe and Australia playing club rugby. I grew up mainly in Thames and moved to Wellington for university, stayeing there for 14 years before deciding to head to Australia. A coin toss between Sydney and Melbourne landed me in Melbourne.

Rich had been living in Auckland for 22 years and I had only been there for 18 months before we moved to Tauranga. He was a country sales manager for a large corporation, while I was a manager at High Performance Sport NZ.

What appealed to you about Tauranga?

Initially… the lack of traffic compared to Auckland! It could sometimes take Rich 90 minutes to battle the traffic home but in Tauranga we live one and a half minutes from work. We don’t even get to listen to a whole song on the radio between home and work. I am always arriving at appointments annoyingly early.  

We also love the consistency of the weather here, which is especially meaningful to us given we have a business with a large outdoor component. There aren’t that many places in New Zealand where you could have al fresco dining all year round.


Can you tell the story of buying Café Botannix?

We were initially keeping an open mind about what sort of business to buy. Richard has always worked in the building products industry while I’d been in the gym/sports business, so when the idea of a café presented itself we did a lot of soul-searching. Could we do it? The more we thought about it the more we became convinced we definitely could. We’re both passionate foodies and love café culture. We both know what great service is and appreciate it when we receive it. So we thought as long as we stayed true to the qualities WE love in a cafe then we were going to give this a damn good go!


How has your first year gone?

It’s absolutely flown by. We were told that winter would be slow for business but we didn’t find that to be the case at all. We freshened the place up and stamped our mark on the cabinet and menu food, utilizing the fact that we were set in a garden centre to add greenery and edible flowers to decorate our offerings and plates. We have poured our heart and soul into it and are very proud and immensely satisfied with the outcome. 


What do you enjoy about living here?

Everything is just easier in Tauranga! Getting a carpark close to shops, restaurants or the beach just isn’t a drama and there is always a bit of extra spare time in the day without having to commute to get everywhere.

We have a crazy Irish Terrier called Louis so we love heading down to Fergusson Park in Matua to give him a good run around. Papamoa Beach is also a favourite place, it is just so vast and a perfect place to walk Lou-dog.

We climb The Mount whenever we can and our goal is to eventually run up it… yeah that might be a wee way off yet. We obviously enjoy trying as many different and new cafes and restaurants as possible around town (hence needing to climb the Mount). The fact that there are always new places to visit speaks volumes about the exciting growth of Tauranga at the moment.


What has surprised you about Tauranga?

The quality of the bars and restaurants in and around Tauranga has really surprised and impressed us. We have a favourite restaurant in Tauranga that’s every bit as stylish and high quality as any other restaurant you would find across Australasia. 

We also underestimated quite how relaxing it would be here, we were always so busy in Auckland, our lives were essentially checklists, and you would just be trying to complete your list every day rather than enjoying the journey. In Tauranga we find that we simply have more time to enjoy the ride, which we love.



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. 

Meet Kathryn Overall
Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.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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