See What Others Think

Steve and Sue Pegrume and family:

Kiwi born Sue Pegrume lived in the States for 20 years and met her American husband Steve Ackerman while there. Ten years ago Sue and Steve were on holiday, hiking and climbing around Mt Taranaki and they fell in love with the area and the beauty of the Mountain adjacent to the sea. Three years later they moved to Opunake where Steve works at the local High School just half a block from his doorstep and Sue loves being a stay at home mum. “We wanted to raise the kids at a slower pace, and to recapture for them the simple childhood we enjoyed; school and play and healthy outdoor activities – participating in sports, bike riding, swimming and playing with friends.”

With cheaper housing than in the States and pay incentives for teachers to come to rural schools, the Pegrume/Ackermans have found they can afford to have one parent stay at home, “our mortgage is at least a third of what it would be if we were in Auckland.” Sue says, “Opunake is a really supportive community, we’ve made heaps of friends, we often joke it’s five minutes to the shops but it can take you an hour because of the friendliness of the people”.

While Sue and Steve begin to list advantages like cheap healthcare, cheap health insurance, a safer neighbourhood, the celebration of bi-culturalism and the rich diversity within the community, Jade and Jonah are outside on the front lawn playing with their friend Johann - his mother is from Tonga and she and her family love it here too!

Pictured above; Steve and Sue with the children – left to right: Friend Johann, with Jonah and Jade.

Marlene Bezuidenhout, South Africa:

Family ties are strong and so it was that Marlene came to New Zealand three years ago to join a brother who had already settled in the North Island. A friend told her about a job at the medical centre in Hawera and the rest she says is history. Marlene loves the safe and relaxed atmosphere of Hawera and in particular, its community and the people within it. “It’s hard to describe but I hadn’t been in Hawera very long before I became captivated by the community – people are very warm hearted here”.

Marlene says, “The lifestyle is very different, more like the South Africa of 40 years ago; I’m building my new home here and I’m looking forward to getting involved in the community - maybe I’ll even take up horseriding again!”

Jane Moffitt, Wales:

Jane met her South Taranaki husband while travelling and working in Australia and moved back to live in his home town in 2006. “I knew I would enjoy the lifestyle in South Taranaki, I love swimming and scuba diving plus the winter offers lots of clear, crisp days and blue sky compared to the dull, grey winters from home.”

Jane and her husband have been able to purchase a large home and she is enjoying having lots of space for the dog to run around and a vegetable garden to cook from. “Summer barbecues with friends around, a great view of the mountain and no traffic jams are only a few of the advantages – it’s easy to see why Taranaki people are proud of their region – it has a lot to offer”.

Holger and Annett Zabel, Germany:

After several busy years working abroad, German couple Holger and Annett Zabel were looking for a change in lifestyle so after a holiday in New Zealand they decided to settle in Hawera. “We love it here! It’s the outdoors and it’s wonderful natural environment that attracted us” Holger says. “Our two children Luca and Alina are happy too, they’ve settled into school and their activities - the people have been very friendly and open to us as newcomers” added Annett.

Holger and Annett have opened the Gelato Caffe in Hawera and are selling icecream, waffles and imported products from Germany. Holger says “It’s a good place to set up business; Hawera’s a nice little town with a good feeling about it”.

Anita Scott-Dekker, Holland:

When Anita was studying for her Masters degree at a New Zealand university she met her future husband and fell in love with the space and openness of the landscape. “There’s a bit more room to spread out here than there is in Holland” she says. “When you go tramping or for a walk in the bush you often don’t see anybody else”.

Now that Anita is married with young children, she and her husband are also enjoying the opportunity to be involved in the community. “There’s so much to do here if you’re willing to be involved – there are lots of activities especially for young families and it has been really easy to settle in” said Anita. “The weather is good, the kiwi lifestyle is laid back and less stressful – I’m very happy here”.