Siblings Aidan Stoate and Amy Richardson were working in recruitment and management when they had an idea for a new business. After looking round the world for a destination that would offer plenty of opportunity with fantastic family and lifestyle benefits, they made the move to Taranaki.
The pair chose New Plymouth to base their new company - Inspirec Specialist Energy Recruitment – for its commercial and personal appeal. The region’s strong oil and gas industry and its supporting engineering and energy sectors offered growth potential and family members had already swapped sides to this vibrant part of New Zealand.
“We had both previously visited New Zealand, so had a reasonable understanding of what life here would be like,” says Amy.
Aidan took the long way to Taranaki, travelling for nine months around South East Asia, while Amy left her position in the UK and emigrated immediately.
”We arrived with little more than good intentions and a rough business plan for setting up the company. We’ve been so lucky in that everyone has been really accommodating and supportive – from both business and personal perspectives. We’ve built great networks through local organisations like the Taranaki Young Professionals and the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce.”
“This industry is traditionally fast-paced, with tight timelines and high pressure, but it’s very hard to feel this pressure when you are faced with the sea on one side and the mountain on the other!” Amy enthuses.
While Aidan lives by the sea, Amy has chosen a rural outlook, living on a farm just a few minute’s drive from the office, with lots of room for the dog.
“The space we both have now compared to previous places we have lived and worked is unbelievable. Life here is so much easier than in the UK – there is no commuting, no waiting, services are more accessible and the climate is better, though there are obviously fewer people, so it can seem rather quiet at times!”
“New Zealand has a greater focus on the outdoors. There are countless opportunities to spend time outside - surfing, skiing, climbing, biking, walking etc. It differs from the UK, which has more of a nightlife culture.” Amy says.
”From a personal perspective I’m now looking to buy a house here, and we’re both keen to get our residency. From a business perspective, we want to grow Inspirec into other regions and other specialist areas.”
When it came to making the move, the siblings took matters into their own hands.
“All up the shift would have cost us around $NZ 8,000, but that’s everything, from Visa applications to medicals to shipping. Having travelled extensively and worked in a number of countries previously made the process easier – we managed the process ourselves to keep the costs down,” says Amy.
“We were warned up front that the visa we were applying – the Entrepreneurial/Long term business visa – was the hardest to achieve, and the warnings were certainly right.
“We had to develop a 60 page business plan, produce a variety of documents, and pay over $5000 to apply, without any guarantee of success. At times the process was very challenging but we remained positive and the outcome was successful in the end.”
From application to acceptance took approximately three months, and the pair were granted a nine month extension in order to set up the business. Once Inspirec was set up and the agreed investment transferred, Aidan and Amy were then granted an additional three years.
When it comes to advice for anyone else looking to make the move, Amy suggests doing your research, considering every step of the process, and tying up all the loose ends before heading out.
“It’s also just so much easier to deal with those things when you’re actually physically there, without having to work around time zones, currency changes etc.”
If there are any downsides to their new lives, they’re not quite what you’d expect.
“We really miss the enormous supermarkets, the shopping, the football culture and the pubs and crowds of the UK” says Amy.
“It’s also quite a long and tedious flight to visit family. We do try to get back once a year, but we wouldn’t do anything differently. The space, climate, beautiful scenery and better quality of life more than make up for the distance to the rest of the world!”