Claire had never been to New Plymouth when her husband found a job there, but after they started researching Taranaki they loved what they saw.
The New Zealand born couple, with their 3 children, now aged 4-8, moved to Taranaki from overseas in 2013, returning to New Zealand after a lengthy hiatus to be closer to family, but not wanting to move to Auckland.
“My husband is an engineer, and when he found a job in New Plymouth we had to quickly learn a lot about Taranaki. He's also a surfer, so was very happy to discover the region’s surf coast.”
“We were really well supported through the whole moving process, with the new company organizing a person to help us find a house, do all the research to find places that matched what we wanted, taking photos and even going to open homes. When we arrived there was a home ready for us!”
Since then the family has bought their own home in a small community in a coastal suburb of New Plymouth, which has ticked the box of being within walking distance of the beach and school.
“Coming from a small and walkable community previously, we wanted to live in a community where our children would have friends close by. We were worried that we may not find that again – but we did, and we are so happy here!”
“Having kids has made it really easy to fit into the community. We have got involved in the school activities and family events."
“We were down at the beach one day and noticed another couple and their children sitting along a bit. We got talking and discovered they had also recently moved here. We pretty much decided from there to be friends and still are!” says Claire.
And though the mythical peak of Mount Taranaki didn’t emerge from clouds for two weeks after their arrival, the region’s weather has been a very welcome change from winter temperatures dropping to -20 degrees.
“I love the summer here, it’s amazing, and its really good that we can still go to the beach in winter too.”
“Year round there’s so much here to do. I love the cafes, galleries, museums, the Len Lye Centre, parks and playgrounds and the walkway are just amazing. I’ve taken up running, the kids are boogie boarding, and we’re regularly out on our bikes as a family.”
“We love to show off the place to family and friends that visit,” Claire says.
The family take regular escapes around the region, booking holiday accommodation in the coastal towns of Opunake, Oakura or in the ranges of Mount Taranaki, or camping up the coast at Urenui.
“I don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s such a great lifestyle!”