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Growing up in the shadow of Mount Taranaki left such an indelible mark on Leighton and Duchesne Markham that they just couldn’t stay away.

Duchesne left the province to move to Auckland in 2008 for university, while Leighton followed after the couple were married in 2011.

“We had a great network of friends and our careers were going well in Auckland, but there was always something about Taranaki that just made us want to return – it always felt like we were home here,” Duchesne says.

Duchesne says that apart from wanting to be closer to family, the couple were drawn to move back home for the lifestyle.

“In Auckland, by the time we’d finished work, hit the gym, and made it home we’d be eating dinner at half past nine at night. We’d be too exhausted to spend time with friends on week nights and you’d watch an hour of telly before heading to bed and starting the same routine again,” she says.

“Here, I’m home by 5.15, and that’s even factoring in that I bike to and from work now, so don’t need to go to the gym. Then it’s dinner with friends on the beach or gardening at our new house before it gets dark. The post-work options are limitless and we love making the most of our newly gifted time!”

After working in public relations in Auckland, Duchesne landed a role in communications and marketing at regional development agency Venture Taranaki and Leighton has secured the Design Manager position at engineers Mercer Stainless, building on his experience with the company prior to the move to Auckland.

“Leighton has really enjoyed catching up with colleagues and looking after familiar projects, while I’d always wanted to work for Venture Taranaki so I was thrilled that a job came about just when I was looking.”

On top of a new lifestyle, Leighton and Duchesne could afford to purchase their first home in New Plymouth after making the move.

“We bought a gorgeous 1920s bungalow just down the road from Pukekura Park in the heart of the city. We would never have been able to buy a house so centrally in Auckland, and friends from up there who are house-hunting at the moment have been very envious!”

“And coming from a one-bedroom apartment in Auckland, we’re still coming to grips with having so much space – it’s been fun buying furniture to make our new place look less empty.”

The couple say they are enjoying being a part of the Taranaki community too.

“The whole process of moving back to Taranaki has been incredibly friendly and welcoming - you just need to have one thing in common and you’re best friends. We’ve enjoyed spending time with family and old friends and we’re also making an effort to meet new people including welcoming even newer people to the region and helping them settle in.”

Duchesne’s advice for anyone thinking about moving to Taranaki is “DO IT!”

  Home sweet home – The Markhams  

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