Charlie Lewis and his family, wife Natasha and kids Sammy, Daniel and Calum, swapped sides to New Zealand in April 2012, first to Wellington, and a year later to Taranaki. Coming from Solihull, West Midlands, in the UK, the family has since grown with the addition of Elise.
“The year in Wellington really gave us a great taste of the Kiwi lifestyle, and we saw a lot of the country from there,” says Charlie.
“Though we made it to Taranaki for a weekend, it was rather rainy and didn’t leave a great impression.”
Despite this, when Charlie found a job advertised in New Plymouth with the highly regarded orthopedic department at Taranaki Base Hospital, his interest was piqued.
“Friends were really positive about the quality of the mountain and surf, and moving to a brand new hospital helped the decision,” Charlie says.
“Plus Taranaki seemed to offer a wonderful place for our children to grow up, with easy access to the great outdoors, and a good lifestyle. There’s so much space here, a lack of traffic, better weather and really good working conditions.”
Making the move to New Zealand was stress-free, and the emigration process was lengthy but pretty straightforward. The hardest thing was deciding what to ship out and what they could get rid of.
The family are currently renting a home with an acre of land in the seaside village of Oakura and while they had initially rented out their house in the UK, they have since sold it and are looking to enter the property market in Taranaki.
“Oakura is lovely. The village atmosphere here is great, we’re in a fantastic neighborhood and so close to the sea. It’s such a contrast to our former lives, and so much easier as a family!”
Plus it’s only a 10 minute commute along a scenic coastal road.
“I used to drive up to an hour and a half on the busy M40!”
“There’s a lot on offer in Taranaki for young families, though obviously less choice than in the UK. You do adapt quickly, and the slower pace of life and ease of getting places mean you have more time.”
“It’s very easy to become part of the community here – there’s so many people from Europe and the UK that sometimes it doesn’t even feel like you’re in New Zealand.”
This is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that Charlie has now met two people in Taranaki that went to his old school – Dean Close in Cheltenham.
Since arriving in Taranaki Charlie has been able to play a lot more golf and take up fishing, while all the kids are now avid surfers
“To anyone looking to move to Taranaki, do it. You won’t regret it, but if you do you can always move back.”