Alun James left Auckland for Taranaki with his wife and three young sons in 2006, and hasn’t looked back.
“Living in Auckland with three kids was a challenge. It constantly felt like we were the odd ones out. We were both working and just weren’t seeing enough of the kids,” says Alun.
Now, the boys are all at schools within five minutes of home, and work is only a 15 minute walk or a 4 minute bike ride away.
“A traffic jam in New Plymouth is 10 cars. Everywhere in New Plymouth is 5 minutes away, meaning more time for the family, the surf, or other adventures.”
“Taranaki has been a breath of fresh air. Families are important here. Life is less complex and there is more time to relax and laugh,” Alun says.
“That free time has enabled me to refresh old passions that had fallen casualty to the Auckland lifestyle. I’ve reconnected with cycling and tennis, and my wife is taking surf lessons, making the most of the breaks around Surf Highway 45 and the many willing teachers.”
The oil and gas sector drew Alun’s interest, and he is a contract manager with design, engineering and project management firm Transfield Worley, one of the many global leaders based in Taranaki.
The job, he says, is great as is the privilege of working with a really smart team, but it is the lifestyle benefits that the region offers that greatest attraction.
“We’re regulars at New Plymouth’s Festival of Lights each summer, the annual AmeriCARna festival is fun, and WOMAD is incredible. I have been blown away by the diversity and quality of events here.”
“For a city of this size it has everything. As a focal point for the province New Plymouth is a jewel. It is walkable, cyclable and has a connection with the sea and the mountain and makes you feel very grounded.”
“When you return to New Plymouth after a weekend away there is a real sense of arrival. I love the fact that when I sit on my deck on a quiet day all I can hear is surf and birds.”
“Living in Taranaki is a dream. We feel like we can have our cake and eat it too.”