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Here's why I left Auckland

5 1 0
17.07.2019

OPINION: "So, are you glad to be out of Auckland?"

Three years after I left, this is still not an uncommon question in Whanganui.

It's the wrong question, though, I'm not glad to be out of Auckland. I still love the city. But I am happy to be in Whanganui and I'm finally willing to admit it.

There's no shortage of contented former big-city dwellers here. It seems everyone I meet has recently moved, or returned, from somewhere else.

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The region's growth, at 1.6 per cent, matches that of nearby Palmerston North, which has just launched a slick campaign to get more people through its gates.

According to Whanganui and Partners' Jonathan Sykes, my anecdotal evidence aligns perfectly with the city's data collectors.

He says people are moving from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. "Tauranga and Nelson are also mentioned, as well as more interest from Australia. Former residents are also coming back."

Last year, 700 people shifted to Whanganui - 191 of whom were international migrants.

We moved on June 6, 2016, with a six-week-old baby, a child nearing school age and another about to start kindergarten.

My husband had a new job much like his manager's role at an electrical wholesaler in central Auckland and I was working two part-time jobs from home.

The promise was a comparable salary, affordable housing, a better lifestyle and the benefits of being closer to our families - my husband's here and my own in Manawatū and Wellington.

I was reluctant to leave Auckland and agreed to move mainly because I couldn't put up a decent argument against it.

My husband had grown up in Whanganui and I had done my schooling there, it seemed familiar and safe.

Three years on, how much better off are we?

We bought a house within five months of moving - something we'd not managed to do in four years of searching in Auckland, despite my husband's aversion to avocado and my own tendency to skip flat whites in favour of the free coffee........

© Stuff