Scrolling through the internet looking at dream houses is something most young couples do. But following through and purchasing in 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 purchased a character homestead and an acre of land.

Carpenter James came first to look for work and was quickly snapped up by a New Plymouth roofing company. As an engagement advisor at Tourism New Zealand, Masina was concerned that she might struggle to find work outside of a large centre, but she needn’t have worried as she found work as a Community Development Advisor at South Taranaki District Council. The role allows her to work one day a week from the council service centre in Opunake. Masina admits 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 (add link?).  Masina is a gardening novice, but she’s happy to make the trip into Bunnings for garden supplies, and she’s 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 just high five each other”, 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 the more likely scenario is that they have hosted 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, as they have found the farming community really welcoming and happy to lend tools and advice.

The biggest change for Masina and James is that moving to Taranaki has allowed them more time together. Masina says in Wellington, she worked late and was often attending 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 still work hard, but 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.  We can see a future where we have time to visit Samoa and connect with family, I have there. Yes, we sometimes miss the excitement of city life, but this is much better”, Masina says.