My family and I have lived in Auckland’s Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Hibiscus Coast for 14 years.

We moved here from Port Elizabeth, South Africa with our children and we’ve never looked back.

Our life in South Africa lacked the opportunities for young people that we saw in New Zealand and I felt that my own career could thrive here. So, along with general safety and low crime rates, we saw a great future for our whole family in Auckland. 

 

Settling into a community

Brad running a stand-up meeting with co-workers at Auckland Transport

It was a little challenging for the first few months after arriving in New Zealand. We had a lot of adjusting to do – new people, a new environment, renting a house while looking for a home to buy, starting a new job and getting our children settled into school. 

The support we received from my work colleagues, our neighbours and new friends was gratefully received, and we soon realised we had made the right move. We all felt a sense of community straight away, and I can honestly say that you won’t find more welcoming and friendly people than Kiwis. 

I secured a job with Deloitte while still living in South Africa and they contributed to our relocation costs. This was a great weight off our shoulders when embarking on such a big move. I now work for Auckland Transport in the technology sector as the SAP Lead. It’s a great place to work with a fun culture, brilliant people and ambitious plans for Auckland’s transportation networks. 

 

Commuting by sea and relaxing by the beach

We live in Whangaporoa which is 40km from the city centre. The best way for me to get to work is by ferry and what a fantastic way to commute! I’m so pleased with the commitment made by Auckland Transport to provide a variety of transport options for Aucklanders.

You really can’t beat my journey to and from work. I get beautiful views of the city and its surrounding suburbs and it’s a daily reminder of why I brought my family to Auckland. The Hibiscus Coast has a relaxed vibe and friendly atmosphere, so I feel like I’m heading away on holiday every evening on my way home from work. 

 

Something for everyone

Brad and his family walking along the beach at Stanmore Bay

Our Kiwi lifestyle is full of boating, fishing, paddle boarding and scuba diving, and we also enjoy sports like squash, golf, water polo and cycling. In our spare time, we are never short of places to go and things to do, especially around the Hibiscus Coast and Mahurangi. There are at least 10 fantastic beaches nearby, as well as boating areas and a regional park, all just a short drive away. Wherever we choose to spend our leisure time, all the public areas, shared spaces and amenities are very well maintained and presented for our enjoyment. 

When we want a taste of city life we often head into central Auckland to enjoy some of the many concerts at venues like Spark Arena and Westpac Stadium. There are numerous other events in and around the city, and there’s always something interesting and new to explore. One fantastic initiative is free transport on Auckland’s buses and trains provided for attendees going to concerts or sporting events from outside of the central city. It makes the whole experience so much easier and stress-free.

Auckland has this lovely ‘little big’ city feel to it. The city and surrounding areas have everything that a large city offers but with the community spirit usually found in smaller cities and towns.

 

A secure future

Overall, we love Auckland for its lifestyle but also for the accountability of local leaders. It feels like things actually get done here, we can have our say and we all feel safe and secure. I feel connected to local officials and I can contact them and air my views on issues that concern me and my family.

I’m also truly lucky to have the opportunity to work for an organisation that is committed to making Auckland an accessible and liveable city for visitors and residents alike. The way the central city and suburbs are becoming more connected is thanks to these initiatives, and I’m proud to be playing a part in that. 

We’ve seen many changes in the time we’ve lived in Auckland and I can confidently say that this city only gets better with age. 

 

 

Brad Drury moved from Port Elizabeth, South Africa 14 years ago. He lives with his family in Auckland’s Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Hibiscus Coast. Brad works as the SAP Lead at Auckland Transport.

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