Wayne Capper is one of a growing number of people returning to Taranaki to give their kids the upbringing they fondly remember.
Wayne returned in January 2013 from Bunbury in Western Australia, with wife Arianna and children Anahera, Taiora, Tiana, Kahu and Tipene, who range between 3 and 13 years.
“I was raised here, and for me and my family coming home was the perfect choice and best fit when it comes to whanau and lifestyle,” Wayne says.
“While we were living away I thought of home every day, each morning I would think of our Maunga. I don’t know what it is with Taranaki but the Maunga seems to draw us back – that and the memories of family, surf, sports and the really relaxed lifestyle.”
“Taranaki is the real New Zealand.”
“For both me and my wife the sense of freedom and openness that Taranaki provided was a major factor in our move back here. The chance for our children to experience that freedom, just as so many other Taranaki children have done, was really appealing, Wayne says.
“We also wanted our children to embrace their Maori culture and get involved with the people of our iwi Te Atiawa/Taranaki.”
Wayne has used his 14-years’ experience in the mining, petrochemical and offshore industries to gain a role as a General Purpose Operator onboard the FPSO Umuroa which is based in the Tui Oilfield off Taranaki’s coast.
He found the role as a result of coming home competing in a rugby league tournament in 2012. Seeing the region brought back enough memories for him to circulate his CV to a few of the local companies, and while it took over a year, this approach worked out well, with an email reply coming in with an opportunity when he was back on holiday in 2013.
“Pretty much from there on in everything fell into place and before I knew it my family followed me home to set up in New Plymouth where we are now nicely settled.
“Now I work 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off, where as in Australia I was often working a 4 on and 1 week off roster,” Wayne says.
Work is about a 25 minute helicopter ride from New Plymouth Airport which is about 15-minutes from home. The family has found a home in New Plymouth’s west, overlooking native bush near Barrett’s Lagoon.
“New Plymouth has a vibrant city life, with cafes and bars, great events, parks and walkways and plenty for a family to do. But what’s really great is that you have surrounding country towns that are only a stone’s throw away that provide that good old kiwi culture that we all know. Mountains, beaches you name it Taranaki has it. Where we came from just didn’t have the same appeal.”
“We wanted to buy and live in the area I was brought up in, which is close to the port, to Back Beach, Barrett’s Lagoon and Paritutu. Our family feels a connection to this area, and it’s a lovely area to raise kids in.”
“We rented for six months after we arrived, and then were lucky enough to find a house in Whalers Gate that had plenty of room for our family and was a good buy. Now we’re in a lovely neighborhood, with really nice neighbors,” says Wayne.
“It was really easy to fit in, and we’ve found that people are generally very friendly here in Taranaki. I was raised here so it has helped me and my family fit in to the community.”
“All of the family have adjusted really well, a lot better than I anticipated. We all now call Taranaki home and we are all enjoying life here and what it brings.”
While Wayne misses friends and family in Australia, he’s glad to have escaped the scorching heat that sometimes made working hard.
“Taranaki summers are lovely, the perfect climate. Winters can get a bit cold and wet at times but after being in the heat for so many years I actually enjoy bit of a rain and then snuggling up next to the fireplace!”
The rain gives a clue as to where you’ll find the Cappers on the average weekend – on, alongside or in training for the sports field.
“Our weekends are sports, sports and more sports, though we also like to catch up with friends and family and head out for family days with the kids,” Wayne says.
“I’ve been able to maintain my love for sports, particularly rugby league, and I’m involved with the Western Suburbs Tigers Rugby League Club which I really enjoy.”
“All the family’s hobbies revolve around sport and we are lucky that Taranaki is a sport loving province!”
“We have the best sporting facilities I have seen and every town in the province has what you need. The facilities in Taranaki really are first class - Taranaki definitely punches above its weight for its size in this department.”
When it comes to passing on advice to others looking to move to Taranaki, Wayne says do it.
“If you are after a family friendly, easy going, stress free lifestyle that will provide your children with everlasting childhood memories, then Taranaki is the place for you. It’s the perfect place to explore the great outdoors with the mountain, the sea, rivers, lakes, beaches – everything a family could want.”
“This place is not to big not to small and has everything you need to fulfill your happiness in life,” says Wayne.
“To me it’s no strings attached real New Zealand.”