Baljit Kaur had never even heard of Taranaki before moving here, and arrived from Auckland to take up a job as a technical solutions specialist having head little more about the region than that its residents were rude.

Fortunately she quickly found that the reality was quite different – that the locals were friendly, and that the region had a lot going for it.

“In my job interview I mixed up Taranaki and Tauranga. When I got selected for my job I told my employee that I didn’t mind shifting as I had been to Tauranga and I really liked it! He then corrected me that Tauranga and Taranaki were not the same place…”

“I am a nature lover, I love mountains, landscapes and natural scenic views,” Baljit says. “Before I knew about Taranaki I thought the only mountain was Mount Ruapehu, but now we’re all in love with beautiful Mount Taranaki!”
Easy access to the great outdoors wasn’t the only benefit that Baljit and her husband Gagandeep encountered in Taranaki.

“It takes me five minutes to get to work, seven minutes on a busy day! In Auckland it was 45-60 minutes one way. The public transport system isn’t as advanced here yet though - if they were to work on that a bit then Taranaki would be perfect!”

The extra time that a shorter commute has given her allows Baljit to spend much more time with 16-month old son Yuvraj.

The family are settled in the city-fringe suburb of Westown, with a nice garden and outdoor living, which helps make the most of the mild climate. 

“The neighbourhood is really nice, with a number of retired people around adding to the sense of community and feeling of safety. In general we find that Taranaki feels much safer than Auckland.

Beyond their neighbourhood the Kaur family have found that while the Indian community in Taranaki makes up a smaller percentage of the population than in Auckland, there’s still a really welcoming network here.

“We’ve found Facebook groups a great way to meet others, and there’s an event from this group almost every week. It’s very fun. We’re also lucky to have at least 10 Indian restaurants offering a great variety of tastes.”

Indian cuisine is dear to Baljit’s heart, and something she’s exploring in her new home.

“I love cooking so my new hobby is to read about traditional dishes and then make it in a new western style.”

“I spend my weekend with my family. We’ll go to back beach, and go for a drink somewhere, and just go for random droves through the region– we just love it!”

“I don’t think that there is anything that Taranaki doesn’t offer. It’s got nice weather, cheap accommodation, nice food, no traffic jams. It’s a beautiful place for us and an ideal home!”

“I can see why it was judged one of the world’s best regions!”