At first glance a love of New Zealand wine and the Rugby World Cup may not have much in common, but for one London couple these were the catalysts for making the move to Taranaki.
Rodney Hosking and Rachel Churchcame over to visit Rodney’s family and for the Rugby World Cupto cheer on their respective teams – the All Black and Wales, and found what they were looking for to step off a hectic London treadmill.
“Life in London was incredibly busy, with lots of traveling,” says Rodney, “When we got here we found a more balanced life we were after, with time to do the things we wanted to do.”
Rodney, who grew up in Taranaki and Rachel, a native New Yorker, expected to settle in Auckland, thinking giving up the pace of a big city would be challenging. But Taranaki’s lifestyle caused a rethink, and they’re now firmly ensconced in the New Plymouth community, having recently embarked on their life dream of converting a grand old house into their own luxurious bed and breakfast – Hosking House (www.hoskinghouse.com
While Rachel’s knowledge of New Zealand centered more on its wine than its regions, she was quickly seduced by Taranaki’s charms.
“We wanted to live centrally, and only dreamed of finding an old style house to convert into a B&B. This beautiful villa became available and we had a vision for it,bought it, and after some hard work, love it! It truly amazes us that we our living our life’s dream less than a year after stepping off of the plane. It says a lot about this amazing region and city.” says Rachel.
In addition to running the B&B, Rodney has utilised his London project management and Taranaki dairy experience to become the local face of International company Ingham Feed & Nutrition while Rachel is utilizing her extensive professional experience on a contract for the Taranaki District Health Board.
The couple has discovered one of the benefits of living in a smaller community –everyone seems to know everyone.
“We’ve made an effort to get out there, and it’s really paid off,” says Rachel, “We’ve joined the local wine and running clubs and both volunteer. This has helped us personally and professionally. It really is about who you know!”
It’s not surprising they cite London’s traffic as the aspect of their former lives the miss the least – their commute times have reduced from hours to minutes.
“We just have more time here. Being just a few minutes from work means you can get home and have a life after work,” says Rachel.
“Everything is so accessible. It’s such an easy lifestyle here but really culturally rich - in London we would have to choose between activities– here we can work a full day, exercise, run errands, and still fit in something exciting in the evening!”
A typical weekend will see the couple fit in a round of golf, a run on the coastal walkway and a visit to an art gallery or movie, followed by dinner in one of New Plymouth’s many restaurants or a fine New Zealand wine and a homemade pizza from Rodney’s back yard pizza oven.
“It’s fabulous. The city has been planned out nicely with easy access to everything you need to enjoy living here,” says Rachel.
“I’d really encourage anyone thinking of making the move to come for a good stay, investigate the activities they love,and really explore and discover what Taranaki has to offer.”
The immigration process itself was simple, taking about three days to put all the documentation together.
“The most stressful parts were leaving my family and our friendsand not having job security waiting for us,” Rachel says, though they’ve certainly been welcomed by the local community and resolved the latter.
“I also miss our local pub, but not the fact that my winter coats from London haven’t even made it out of storage yet.”
So far Rachel has been back to New York, but admits although she dearly misses her family and friends and regularly admits to being “that” woman, Skyping whilst running on the Coastal Walkway, she felt like she was truly coming home on the flight back to Taranaki.