After working and travelling all around the world for three years, my partner and I were ready for a more settled way of life. Moving to Auckland meant we could find the balance between adventure and our careers.
Why Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland?
Auckland appealed to us because it’s a city full of opportunities, it has a much warmer climate than the east coast of Ireland (where I’m from) and most importantly it’s a great base for exploring – whether it’s an after-work drive to the west coast beaches to watch the sunset or catching a flight to the South Island.
We were also attracted to the very chilled-out Kiwi way of life and because we live in the city centre, we still get to be part of the hustle and bustle of city life.
Choosing where to call home can be a big decision, and we had considered other places, however, after a bit of research and meeting a lot of Kiwis, I was sold on the idea of being surrounded by beaches. Having grown up on the coast, I struggle to live anywhere where the beach isn’t within 20 minutes’ reach, so that was a big selling point for Auckland!
A move abroad was something I’d considered for a long time. I have always loved the idea of exploring new places, cultures and meeting new people – life moves quickly so it’s important to make the most of it and take a chance.
Career opportunities and a caring culture
I’m a Performance Manager at D3, a full-service media company that works with some of New Zealand’s largest brands, providing services such as marketing strategy, campaigns, analytics, SEO, and digital training.
My situation is a bit unusual – I graduated with a radiotherapy and oncology degree, but I really wanted a complete career change, so I decided to look for something new once I arrived. When I saw an entry level position open up at D3, I applied and after a few interviews I got selected for the role.
For me it’s important to be a part of a company that cares and D3 has strong values. We are B Corp certified, which means we are committed to demonstrating positive social and environmental impacts through our business practices. Everyone who works for D3 is ambitious (and a little wacky) but fiercely passionate about what they do, which makes coming to work every day a joy. In terms of career progression, it has been the best career move I have made to date. I joined D3 within its first year of business and it has grown ever since.
The work culture in New Zealand is one of my favorite things about working here; it’s a very supportive environment where everyone’s opinion is heard.
City and sea - the Kiwi lifestyle
We live in the city centre, so after work we enjoy evening walks around the city and through the Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter on the waterfront. I really enjoy living close to the water, the sea breeze always does wonders.
My partner and I spend a lot of time outdoors. We often visit the beach on the weekends – Long Bay on the North Shore or Piha on the west coast are our favourite beaches. For day trips we love to head north towards Matakana for the farmers’ market and onto Tāwharanui or Te Arai Regional Parks.
Our favourite dinner and drinks spots are in Mount Eden and K’ Road, busy areas just outside the city centre. We also enjoy festivals such as Bay Dreams – and the big bonus about events here is it’s more likely to be sunny – unfortunately, there’s a high chance of rain at Irish festivals!
In terms of overall lifestyle, the change in pace was the biggest difference for us, but it was a very welcome one. We’ve lived in cities before, including a few years in Vancouver, and we did find Auckland quite small by comparison, but that just makes it easier to get around.
We love visiting other parts of New Zealand too. We travelled around both the North Island and the South Island, with a few highlights being Cape Reinga, Taranaki, Tongariro National Park, Queenstown, West Coast and my absolute favourite, Aoraki/Mount Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand).
Although there is plenty of public transport around the city, having a car does make life easier, especially for day or weekend trips.
I’d been travelling extensively for years with my partner, so by the time I moved to Auckland I was a professional at packing light and moving easily.
The visa application initially required quite a bit of information but once we supplied the necessary documents it was pretty smooth. We were lucky that my brother had moved to Auckland a few months beforehand so we were able to stay with him when we first arrived. Within just a few weeks we found an apartment to rent in the city centre, bought a car, and I found a career I love, so everything fell into place pretty quickly.
Moving countries is a massive change, but change is something that I’m a big advocate for – it keeps life exciting! Joining a gym, getting to know the area, and making friends at work really helped me settle and feel at home.
Jayne McKee is a Performance Manager at D3. She left Ireland in 2016 to travel and moved to Auckland in March 2019.