Tauranga Welcomes You!

Tauranga Welcomes You!

Aucklanders & Other Kiwis Blog

Luke Schroder Returns to Bring Big Events to Tauranga
5 December 2018
Luke Schroder Returns to Bring Big Events to Tauranga

Luke Schroder believes that Tauranga could become the events capital of New Zealand. 

And, he's doing his part to make it happen.  After returning to Tauranga from Auckland in 2016, Luke set up his own events company, 'Knock, Knock Events'.  A key player in one of Tauranga's most iconic events, 'A Night Before Christmas', Luke is now hard at work bringing New Zealand's first ever ice-cream and frozen dessert festival, MELTED, to the Tauranga waterfront in February 2019. 

This is his story of returning to his hometown and discovering that far from being a 'retirement village', Tauranga is a growing and innovative city for young entrepreneurs to thrive in.

What was like starting your own business, 'Knock Knock Events'?

It was terrifying! I had absolutely no idea what to expect and I certainly didn’t know where to begin. Fortunately, having spent several years working in the event industry in Tauranga and in Auckland I had a bunch of contacts who were very quick to offer me work both locally and across New Zealand. It’s been a huge learning curve but I think I’m doing okay so far.

What is Tauranga like as a place to start a new business?

There’s a real spirit of innovation here in Tauranga, with so many exciting creative businesses starting up or moving here from other regions. It’s great to see a variety of industries and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Tauranga is a perfect place to be based due to the proximity to other main centres, not to mention the large population already here. 

What growth potential do you see in the events space in Tauranga?

It’s exciting to see the growth in large-scale events coming to Tauranga such as international cricket games, music festivals, and outdoor concerts. I think Tauranga could become the event capital of New Zealand with a great variety of events already happening in the region and more on the way. I am passionate about creating unique and interesting event experiences that are a bit wacky and out of the box, so watch this space!

Tell us about New Zealand's first ice-cream festival!

Kiwis love ice cream. In fact, we are among some of the largest consumers of ice cream products in the world per capita. I had a crazy idea a few years ago to create a festival devoted to our favourite sweet treats and MELTED was born! I’ve been developing the idea for almost two years so it’s exciting to see it finally coming to fruition. Hopefully it will become an annual event in Tauranga that draws people here from all over the country.

What is your involvement with the annual ‘A Night Before Christmas’ event?

A Night Before Christmas (ANBC) is a massive free outdoor Christmas celebration in our very own Bethlehem. Featuring live music, food trucks, entertainment, and an amazing fireworks display, ANBC has become one of the biggest free events in Tauranga, with well over 10,000 people in attendance. I’ve been involved in ANBC for almost ten years in various volunteer roles before coming onboard as Operations and Production Manager last year. My talented mother, Luisa Schroder, is the Event Director and a Tourism BOP local ambassador.  It’s been amazing working with her on such an iconic event.

What are you most proud of with this event?

We’re the only city in the world where we can celebrate a summer Christmas in a place named Bethlehem. I’m so proud that we’ve been able to create such an amazing free event that our whole community can enjoy with their loved ones. It’s also exciting seeing how the event has grown from a small carol gathering by the Wairoa River 20 years ago to a large-scale concert programme today. It goes to show that we have an amazing team who have worked hard to grow ANBC into the high-quality production that it is today.

What do you do for fun or to relax?

I live in Mount Maunganui, just a five minute walk from the beach. Along with attempting to surf and climbing Mauao, I love visiting the amazing local cafes and eateries that we’ve got here. I also love playing music at Curate Church most Sundays.

As a young professional, what is your experience of Tauranga as a place to live and work?

I think the rise of the 'mobile office' has meant that Tauranga has quickly become a feasible destination to balance lifestyle with business, particularly for those who own their own business or do freelance work. I’ve noticed the demographic is definitely changing here with more young families moving here and settling down.

I’ve been surprised by the number of opportunities here for young professionals like myself. It was only after moving back here that I realised that Tauranga is thriving with so many exciting industries and environments for new businesses to thrive. It’s great to see so many young people stamping their mark on Tauranga through creative endeavours or new business ideas.

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career?
I wouldn’t have ever considered starting my own business in Auckland, so coming home has been a great career move! Tauranga has so much potential and is definitely a thriving city. With a wide range of work options, natural beauty around every corner and close proximity to other main centres there’s really no better place to be.

For your wellbeing?
I’ve found since moving home I’ve naturally become more active due to being close to nature. It’s also a far more pleasant place to call home, which is great for the soul.

For your relationships?
It’s amazing living in the same city as my family again and I’ve been able to reconnect with so many old friends who have moved back home. I’m still searching for the right girl however!


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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