The lack of an ice hockey league is about the only drawback of Rosie Smiley’s new life in Taranaki.
Rosie made the move to New Plymouth from the “teeny tiny” town of Millarville, 45 minutes west of Calgary, Canada.
“The biggest differences are the winter weather and that New Zealand is much smaller,” she says, though while the latter could be seen as a negative by some, Rosie loves it.
“There’s a more unified, community feel to life here, whereas Canada is so spread out that every individual province seems to have to fight for itself. “
“Apart from that there are very few major differences. New Zealanders and Canadians seem really similar and the landscape here often reminds me of home,” Rosie says.
After studying petroleum engineering, Rosie received a job offer straight out of university from Greymouth Petroleum. After 3 years there she joined Canadian-based TAG Oil Ltd. The job – Geo-science Technical Assistant - was based at the company’s New Zealand drilling operations, centered on New Zealand’s Taranaki region.
“I had vaguely heard of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington and knew that New Zealand had a North Island and a South Island but that was the extent of my Kiwi knowledge. It felt like a great adventure,” Rosie says.
“TAG is a small company that has put together a really good team of people. There’s a fantastic balance of work and fun - every day I’m doing something a different with people I like spending time with. The oil industry here in New Zealand is both challenging and incredibly rewarding.”
“Initially I planned on a 3 year contract and then to go back to Canada.”
That was four years ago, and Rosie recently bought a dog and cat to go with her house in New Plymouth’s Westown suburb, which offers all the conveniences of suburban life just a few minutes from the beach and city centre.
“The process of moving out to New Zealand was really easy. Greymouth gave me the use of a company apartment and vehicle for a few months, paid for my plane ticket and helped me sort my visa.
“All I had to do was make sure my passport was in order and pack a couple of boxes. Even then, coming straight out of Uni I hadn’t accumulated very much stuff that couldn’t easily be replaced in New Zealand.”
Now Rosie can’t imagine living anywhere else.
“New Plymouth is the perfect size, with fantastic people and there is always something to do. Plus it has a really great laid back lifestyle. But the best bit is New Plymouth’s Coastal Walkway! “
“I’ve been to Americarna, WOMAD, the Festival of Lights and many of the other events around Taranaki including the gypsy fair,” she says.
“There seems to be something going on here every weekend so it’s really hard to get bored, and that’s before you take into account the mountain, which has prompted me to take up tramping and hiking!”
“There are so many great little day trips here to get out and explore the best of the region, though the one downside to Taranaki is that it’s quite removed from the rest of the island, making it a bit of a mission to sneak away for the weekend.”
“Taranaki is the perfect place for me. I know that some people might crave the excitement, drama and shopping of a bigger city, but I’ve made some amazing friends here, I’m never bored and I love the opportunities that have come my way.”
“Taranaki is definitely home.”
“I would recommend Taranaki to anyone looking to make a move. There are a lot of great opportunities in the oil industry, and New Plymouth is a really friendly town that is not too big and not too small. “
“Plus it has a large community of ex-pats here that are always keen to help newcomers fit in!”