Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Aucklanders & Other Kiwis Blog

Nicki Sunderland | My Auckland to Tauranga Sea-Change
16 September 2016
Nicki Sunderland | My Auckland to Tauranga Sea-Change

It was the house prices that initially got Nicki Sunderland and her husband, Ross, interested in moving to Tauranga. The summer holidays caught them soaking up the Bay of Plenty rays and thinking about the kind of lifestyle they wanted for their kids. They took the plunge in early February 2015, right at the cusp of the Auckland to Tauranga wave that was about to break in full force.  Many Aucklanders have since seen the light, but these two spotted it early.  This is their story. 

Apart from property prices, what attracted you to Tauranga?  

We wanted to give our children a different life experience than living in a big city. My kids had never walked to school in Auckland!  I grew up in the Bay of Plenty and knew its benefits with regard to lifestyle. We also have family here which was a big bonus. 

We were worried about work opportunities because we both work in the creative sectors and had had huge career opportunities in Auckland that we weren't sure we could match here. In the end we decided to take the risk and we're so glad we did.

What differences do you notice between the Auckland and Tauranga lifestyle?  

Auckland is all about traffic and life revolves around how that affects you every day.  It really wears you down. It is also a very big city and it's easy to opt out of what it has to offer because it just becomes such a hassle getting from A to B.

Tauranga is very easy to live in and get around. People who live here are hugely satisfied with their lifestyle and it's easy to see why. People definitely work smarter not harder and that is the complete opposite to Auckland - where you often don't have a choice in that.  

What has moving to Tauranga meant for you and your husband career wise?  

Moving here has freed us up a lot more financially and given us the options to work for ourselves or contract out our services.  

Initially I transferred my radio job within the company I was working for in Auckland to here but it didn't work out for me and was actually very challenging.  I left and became a marriage celebrant  which has just been wonderful and really fits in with our lifestyle.  I get to work with amazing couples in awe inspiring locations and venues and I really love it.  I was also able to  focus on other aspects of my creative life - like writing and blogging for companies like www.shopbethlehem.co.nz.  

My husband, Ross, contracts as a designer to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and this works really well for him as a creative. He was also easily able to bring clients with him from Auckland and work on them from here.  He combines working from home, with working at the Council and it works really well - and there's no traffic to worry about!

We have found that we don't need or want two big Auckland salaries to live here. The Bay of Plenty is a lot cheaper when it comes to day to day living and there is a lot more flexibilty here around working hours and really maximising that work/life balance, which is sadly lacking in cities like Auckland.  

What has surprised you about Tauranga?

That it has changed so much since I last lived here 20 years ago and has yet not changed at all.  It has had a huge amount of growth, of course, yet still retains that quaint sense of community with a values-based society.  

It is actually much more creative than I first thought. There is a strong arts community here. We are part of the Incubator community and my husband is very involved with the music and arts scene here and he has been welcomed into that with open arms.

I think the old Tauranga is giving way to a much more modern, cosmopolitan city. 

What's it like being part of the wave of new people coming into Tauranga?

The buzz for the Bay started happening just after we moved - particularly in the media.  Working in media myself I actually gave a few interviews on the whole 'moving to Tauranga' buzz that was going on at the time! 

A lot of people we know have since started the process of moving here too. They can see the benefits in the lifestyle we now have. The majority of people we have met since we moved here have also moved from elsewhere so its really neat to have that in common and not feel like an outsider.  I feel like the newcomers are really change the vibe and feel of the city and that's a good thing.  

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

It has freed us up so much when it comes to really enjoying life and making the most of it.  I don't feel like I am constantly challenged to be super woman - juggling career and family life.  Its been nice to take a step back and actually have some time for myself and for us all as a family to not feel so harried or stressed.  

I feel like the Bay of Plenty offers so much when it comes to personal well being. There is so much more time (not spent in traffic!) for quality family time.  Outdoors there are walks, bike trails, mountains to climb, waves to surf and it's all on our doorstep - how fantastic!    

What do you think Tauranga has going for it as a city?

There is a huge amount of growth with housing but equally with business and I can see it visibly changing and becoming a very dynamic city.  I think the recent newcomers in business  have been brilliant - breathing new ideas and change into the city which is slowly shaking off that $10 Tauranga moniker that's been weighing it down. 

Shopping precincts like Bethlehem Town Centre and Tauriko are really going ahead and creating choice. Businesses like Vinyl Destination, The Rising Tide, Nomad, Metro Falafel and Paper Plane are making it much more cultural, dynamic and diverse whilst catering to the younger demographic - which is increasing by the week.  

What do you and your family do for fun here in Tauranga?

We finally got a dog - something we have been promising the kids for years!  We are loving life with him and getting him out and about on the beaches and parks.  Personally I am addicted to all the road side stalls and frequent them often.  I love the price of fresh produce and think that's such a bonus of living here.

We enjoy the Tauranga Farmers Market and go every weekend for the Whipped Baker's custard squares - the very best in New Zealand!   We spend time at the Mount which is a vibrant, buzzy little city in itself.  We also love the Little Big Markets and Food Truck Friday and go to these events often.  

We spend so much time in summer entertaining friends from out of town and showing them all the good things about the Bay. We swim, kayak and surf most days in summer (and sometimes at night too) and like to hang out on Pilot Bay and Omanu.  For fun we catch up with friends for drinks and go to places like the Astrolabe - an old favourite still booming in the Mount - the Matua, a fun, community, music-based pub and now the Rising Tide which really caters to a younger crowd and will be perfect in summer.  It's a really go ahead concept for Tauranga and we need more of it!



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!

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Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.co.nz

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