Andrew Brown loves Tararua, and says moving here was the "best thing" he and his family ever did.
Living in Auckland with his partner Sharon and young son Alex, Andrew said they had "no chance of getting ahead" if they stayed there...
"We were renting the house we lived in, and although I had a reasonable job, we had no chance of getting our own home. Prices in Auckland are ridiculous; we couldn’t have raised a deposit, let alone got a mortgage."
Looking for a lifestyle change, Andrew says they began to look at other areas where housing was more affordable and the pace of life was easier, not so rushed as it was in the city.
"In Auckland everything is busy; everyone’s rushing and also working hard just to earn enough money to live. We wanted an easier life, where there wasn’t that pressure, where we could afford to buy a home and not have to struggle to pay it off."
After initially looking at properties in Wanganui, they visited Tararua and loved what they saw.
"The region had everything we were looking for, we thought it was a lovely area and we began looking at houses. That was last year."
In July, the couple found a home in Woodville that was exactly what they wanted and bought it, and in November they moved from Auckland.
Neither had a job when they arrived but Andrew soon secured a three month contract with Office Max in Palmerston North. Although it was a temporary position, it gave them time to settle in and look at their options.
It was during a visit to Dannevirke to do their grocery shopping, that Sharon suggested to Andrew he ask if they had any positions available.
"It was Sharon’s idea, so I asked and they told me to fill in an application form. A short time later I got a call and now here I am, working fulltime at New World and loving it.
"Sharon’s now secured a job in Palmerston North, which from Woodville is not far to go, so we are both working and it’s great."
Andrew says when they moved to Tararua they didn’t know what they were heading into and didn’t know what to expect, but they are so glad they made the move.
"Everyone’s been so welcoming and friendly. There’s a feeling of peace and quiet you don’t get in Auckland.
"We have no regrets. We both love it here and our son is at school in Woodville and he has settled in really well."
Andrew says he wouldn’t hesitate recommending to anyone in Auckland thinking of moving, to move to Tararua.
"Why struggle to raise enough money to buy a house up there and then spend all your life working to pay it off?
"The price of our house in Woodville was less than the deposit we would have needed to buy one in Auckland.
"I’d say to anyone thinking of moving here to just do it. It was certainly the best thing we ever did."