Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Aucklanders & Other Kiwis Blog

Modowest Couple Enjoy National Business + Tauranga Lifestyle
23 March 2016
Modowest Couple Enjoy National Business + Tauranga Lifestyle

Thinking outside the square and making their dream happen is how Dave Roberts and Katherine Harris moved their life and business from Auckland to Tauranga – and the couple haven’t looked back! The young family are reaping the benefits of the Papamoa lifestyle and love living in the sunny Bay. Dave talks about why Tauranga is the perfect city to run their online business and grow their family.

Dave, how long did you both live in Auckland and what were you doing career-wise?

We were both born and bred on Auckland’s North Shore. I did the typical OE and worked in London as well as in a few offbeat locations. I’ve always loved the freedom of remote working, new technology and product development. The appeal of not answering to a ‘boss’ led me to grow my own business Modowest Ltd, an innovative and creative product development, distribution and ecommerce company. 

We started with the Varidesk, a height adjustable sit/stand desk that works on top of an office desk and we handled the first few shipments inhouse before looking for a way to outsource this portion of the business and started looking into 3PL options.

Katherine’s background is in HR and recruitment and in 2014 she quit her job and we started working together. We moved into a warehouse apartment in Albany, hired our first staff member and worked very hard. As business grew, we outgrew the warehouse. One of the main driving factors of our business was to be in a position where we can run it from anywhere in the world.

Once we had things underway with the 3PL (third party logistics) warehouses in Auckland and Christchurch, we realised that we didn’t have to be tied to an address.  We use a company called Online Distribution.  A daily file upload of orders is all it takes which reduces our dispatch from a 4 hour task down to 10-15mins. 



How long had you been thinking about making the move to Tauranga and what were you reasons for wanting to move?

We were a bit slow to get on the property ladder in Auckland (experience was, and still is, more important than property!) so when we started the house hunt in Auckland we were put off by the extreme prices for very basic homes. We checked out Whangarei first but then popped down to Tauranga on a whim and fell in love with the area.

We were lucky enough to purchase a house in Papamoa that ticked all the boxes - we’re close to both the beach and the Plaza and have a four-bedroom home with a pool for product testing SoFloat - our range of outdoor furniture that floats on water.

We bought our property in March 2015 but we didn’t make the move until November that year. We have since renovated and converted the double internal garage into a home office. 

How is business going in Tauranga?

Business has been steadily growing and we have more time to focus on growth (no more hour-long Auckland traffic jams). We’ve hired two awesome permanent staff members and one part-time contractor. Our first job ad attracted over 200 applicants and the quality of candidates was very high. We now have a great team of likeminded staff who are all passionate about what we are doing. 

Managing stock via the Auckland and Christchurch 3PL warehouses has not changed and day-to-day tasks are pretty much the same as what we were doing in Auckland, but with the added bonus of living in a beautiful city, in a nice home, with a great lifestyle. 

We have a party accessories website Eventfull and dispatch for this range is from our home office using NZ Couriers who were nice enough to match our Auckland rates.

Financially, moving to Tauranga has meant we have a manageable mortgage and high caliber staff for less-than-Auckland prices. Our overall costs for running the business have decreased.  Tauranga is well connected and has great courier systems. We still have to go to Auckland occasionally for meetings and trade shows, but the drive is not far and we schedule a day full of meetings to make the most of the trip.  



What has moving to Tauranga meant for your sense of well-being?

We definitely have more time, which has led to a much healthier and happier lifestyle. A lot of the Auckland stresses we dealt with daily have vanished. One of the best things about living in Papamoa is the proximity of everything; shops, school, beach, childcare – everything is so close. Our son rides his bike to school and enjoys skateboarding at the local skate park.  

We have also found people are friendlier down here! Our neighbour baked us a chocolate cake as a welcome gift when we arrived and little things like people saying hello when we go for evening walks has been refreshing. It reminds me a little of Auckland when I was a kid growing up and everyone knew all their neighbours. 

Katherine has connected with a lot of local Mums and she is helping to admin a new networking group called Papamoa Business Mums. 

Life is still pretty busy with moving the business, hiring staff, renovating our home, planning our wedding and family life with an 11-year-old and 1-year-old! But even with all the craziness going on at the moment, we have still seen a big shift in our well-being. 


What has moving to Tauranga meant for your family?

New friends, new schools and playgroups, getting out of our comfort zone. Our oldest son has transitioned so well, he loves Papamoa College and the new way of learning.  We have had lots of friends and family from Auckland visiting and a few are already eyeing up property and jobs to try and make the move. Overall, we have more family time and that is so important. 

I dusted off the surfboard I made 15 years ago and my son and I get down to the beach for a paddle each week. We venture down to the Mount a lot, but do love Papamoa and wandering down to Dinner in the Domain as well as checking out local cafes like Henry and Teds. We love the cruiser, relaxed pace of life and having a home that can accommodate us all with room to spare. 

We have absolutely no regrets moving to Tauranga, specifically Papamoa. We will always love Auckland, it’s a great city and we will always spend a lot of time there, but we cannot imagine ever moving back there.


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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