When Debbie Taplin opened an engineering magazine in 2005, she saw two adverts – one for the Worcestershire County Council and the other was for New Zealand. Figuring that once her furniture was packed up it didn’t’ matter how far she went, she applied for the job in New Zealand, and soon had job offers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and New Plymouth.
A 24-hour visit to New Plymouth was all it took to convince her that the region’s pace of life was perfect, so she accepted the role on offer, and made the move.
“My new employer, the New Plymouth District Council, helped me through the process, with a relocation allowance and advice,” Debbie says.
“Then it was just a case of selling up in the UK and packing boxes. The hardest part was sorting the paperwork for my cats to make the move, and the most stressful bit was waiting for them to arrive in New Zealand!”
“Taranaki is extremely peaceful and where I live is even more so, with no through traffic.”
Debbie purchased a private 1250m2 section and built a house in Inglewood, a 20-minute commute from work and a far cry from her former commute of up to an hour. She is loving the extra time she has available to fit in lifestyle, and the cats are loving the extra space.
“Inglewood offers a similar village lifestyle and feel as I had in the UK, with the benefit of being close to New Plymouth for shopping and socializing, though you definitely need a car here,” says Debbie.
“It’s been really easy to become part of the community, and the weather is milder than the UK, but we do get more rain. With a bit less rain it’d be the best place in the world.”
Weekends are typically spent relaxing, running and cycling on the region’s many pathways, as well as playing the saxophone – a new skill Debbie has been able to pick up since arriving in Taranaki.
When it comes to advice for new residents, Debbie suggests going straight for permanent residency, avoiding the need to resubmit work to residency visa applications.
“I’d also recommend you take a full New Zealand tour before starting work. Taranaki’s a great place to explore the country from, but there’s a lot to see.”
And also, it would seem, to keep a degree of flexibility in your long-term plans for those unexpected opportunities that life in Taranaki might present.
“I only ever intended to stay here 3 years, 4 max. I have been here 9 years now and have no real intentions to leave. I even ended up married to a kiwi which was never part of my plan.”