In November 2016 Fiona Blakeley and Jason Reynolds traded the pace of Auckland for the rural lifestyle of Waverley in South Taranaki, and have slotted into a welcoming community and a wonderful lifestyle.

Fiona grew up in Waverley, and over the years had introduced Jason to the town’s many charms. While selling their Auckland property and business was a stressful process, as was shifting, the couple chose to start again for the lifestyle benefits.

Fiona has found it easy to fit back into her home town, and Jason is relishing becoming part of the close-knit community. Fiona’s background in hairdressing has her looking to establish a salon locally, while Jason is putting his steel working skills to good use as the couple take over the reins of Fiona’s parents boutique accommodation business.

“It’s such a change from Auckland. We can live on site, don’t have fixed hours, and have absolutely no traffic problems,” Fiona says, noting that she once had a 2-3 hour commute, and the time it took to get to work was a factor in choosing a job.

“Auckland has a bigger network, a wider range of facilities on offer, and from a business perspective it’s easier to source product there, but there’s more than work to consider.” 

“Here we’ve got a larger home on beautiful grounds and a complete lifestyle block. The value for money here is just so much better.”

Rural living does have one drawback - the need to travel to events and activities, but Fiona has found there’s a lot to do in Taranaki, and the quality of events and amenities is of a very high standard.

“We knew the region offered a relaxed, laid back lifestyle, and the better property prices and lack of congestion help the lack of stress,” Fiona says.

“If you want a better lifestyle make the move. It’s not all about working 70 hours a week just to pay off a huge mortgage!”

“We only wish we’d done it sooner!”