Growing up in South Taranaki gave Ashleigh Jury and Trent Murray an insight into life in the region, so when it was time to buy a house and build a future it was an easy choice to return to the province.
The couple trained in Hawera – Ashleigh as a hairdresser and Trent in construction. Looking to take advantage of the opportunities that a bigger centre offered, the couple moved to Christchurch in 2010.
But they missed Taranaki, and the opportunities the region presented, more than they had expected.
“Christchurch was great, but buying a house just wasn’t financially viable at that stage, so we began thinking of a move back to Taranaki,” says Ashleigh.
“It all happened a lot quicker than we had expected. Once we decided it was what we wanted to do, Trent was offered a job at Fabish & Jackson Construction, and I had 3 job offers from 3 different hairdressers here.”
It made the move seem like a really positive step.
After 18 months away, the couple noticed how far Taranaki had come in terms of its sense of community and things to do and see.
“There’s a real passion for hairdressing here, which wasn’t always the case in Christchurch, and there are a lot more opportunities for training and growing my skills and experience,” Ashleigh says.
“Taranaki has a lot of hairdressers per capita, which gives us a competitive drive that is great for developing new skills and keeping at the front of fashion.”
In addition to professional opportunities, the couple is also utilizing the move to build on their real estate portfolio – something that was difficult for them to achieve in the bigger centre.
“We’ve always loved the rural lifestyle, though in Christchurch achieving this meant it took an hour to get to work. Buying a place down there was beyond us.”
Now living at Midhurst until they find a place they love in the New Plymouth suburbs of Fitzroy or Merrilands, the couple is just 20 minutes from work.
While both love their new jobs and new lives in Taranaki, it’s fair to say they’re slightly less impressed with Taranaki’s high level of liquid sunshine.
“Christchurch had a lot more sunshine, but we’re much happier here and wouldn’t do anything differently.”