For Tanima Misra, making the move from Bombay, India to Taranaki, New Zealand was a perfect move, with the sole exception of the region’s lack of Bollywood films.
A job offer in Taranaki was the catalyst for Tanima (27) and her husband Mahendra (29) to make the shift in November 2012.
“We didn’t know much about New Zealand before we arrived, other than what we’d learnt on the internet,” Tanima says, “It was a bit of a shock moving from a city of 18 million to a country of 4 million though.”
In India Tanima worked in investment banking, while Mahendra was in oil and gas, and it is this connection that secured his role as a Senior Engineer with Haiburton, based in Taranaki.
It wasn’t long before Tanima also got a role in Taranaki’s thriving oil and gas sector, as a technical administrator with Todd Energy, though gaining a suitable position wasn’t as easy as she had hoped.
“When I arrived I started doing voluntary work to get out and meet people and make contacts. It was hard to get a first job, as I was overqualified for many of the roles on offer here,” Tanima says.
“I wanted to have a job to keep me busy and give me something to focus on and not be so homesick!”
Through her voluntary work Tanima made many valuable connections which in turn led to getting her job.
“That’s my advice to anyone else in my position: be positive, get out there, get involved, make an effort. While it doesn’t always just fall into place, meeting as many people as you can and making those connections can be the link to employment and more.”
When it came to finding a place to live the couple chose to rent right in the middle of New Plymouth, thinking the move from the constant vibrancy of India to the quiet of Taranaki’s countryside might be too much. The central location has other benefits, offering a commute time of only a couple of minutes - a stark contrast to their former lives.
“The long commute on the crazy back roads of Bombay was hectic. I didn’t drive there, but here I have my own car and I love to drive around!”
Other than family and Bollywood films – they’ve been known to drive 6 hours just to catch a Bollywood film in Hamilton - the couple miss the open-all-hours shopping and the sheer movement of India, where it felt as if people were coming and going all day. It has also been hard leaving family behind, particularly Tanima’s twin sister.
Perhaps surprisingly they don’t find the contrasting weather such a concern.
“I really enjoy Taranaki’s weather. Bombay it is way too hot – always. I enjoy the cooler weather here and love spending time in the snow up the mountain at weekends.”
“Weekends are great - We go out on Friday and Saturday nights for dinner with friends, and have quickly built up a great circle of friends. I can’t believe how friendly people are here!” Tanima says.
“Back home if you smile at someone on the street they think you are hitting on them. I love it how people stop and chat to you on the street and in shops etc. They don’t mind if they know you or not – they just chat away.”
“We are very happy here, and have much more time together now and it’s really great.”