Scrolling through the internet looking at dream houses is something most young couples do. But following through and purchasing in a place where you only know one or two people; - that’s a bit more unusual.

And that’s exactly Wellingtonians Masina and James did. Spotting a beautiful character farmhouse in coastal district Warea, they threw caution to the wind and purchased a character homestead with an acre of land.

Carpenter James came first to look for work and was quickly snapped up by an Okato-based roofing company. As an engagement advisor at Tourism New Zealand, Masina was concerned that she might struggle to find a suitable role outside of a large centre, but she needn’t have worried as she found work as a Community Development Advisor at the South Taranaki District Council. The role allows her to work one day a week from the council service centre in Ōpunakē. Masina admits that having only visited the region once or twice, she didn’t know much about Taranaki other than dairy farming, WOMAD and surfing, but her role has taught her that there’s lots happening in South Taranaki.

Weekends in Warea are a little different to those in Wellington. The couple inherited a stunning garden, a legacy from the farming family who had lived in the house for over 40 years. James’ skill in construction come in handy on the property and he’s also taken sustainable gardening workshops at Roebuck farms. Masina is a gardening novice, but she’s happy to make the trip into Bunnings for garden supplies, and learning quickly. It’s a challenge but one that they are embracing. “Some weekends we realise we have spent the whole weekend at home and we're stoked” says Masina.

When they aren’t in the garden, they are sharing the dream with friends. Since moving 4 months ago Masina and James have made the odd trip to Wellington, but they're more likely to host friends and family in Warea. “We have had to be quite strict with ourselves and ensure that we do have weekends without visitors, otherwise we wouldn’t get anything done”, Masina says. They have started to meet some of locals too, and have found the farming community really welcoming and happy to lend tools and share advice.

The biggest change for Masina and James is that moving to Taranaki has allowed them more time together. Masina says that in Wellington, she often worked late, attended work events in the evening and then had the commute on top of that. It was rare to have time together in the week. Masina taken some cues from her new workplace where people place equal importance on life outside of work, so most nights she’s finished work by 5 pm. The couple now has time in the evenings to enjoy their new home, planning renovations or simply enjoying the famous west coast sunsets. “We have the energy, space and time to talk and plan our future. Yes, we sometimes miss the excitement of city life, but this is much better”, Masina says.