No longer can Tauranga be referred to as the geriatric capital of New Zealand. Today, the city is full of professionals and young families, and has a median age of 38 – the same as the rest of New Zealand. Whilst it remains an amazing place to retire, it’s also perfect for raising a family and is increasingly becoming a hotspot for both employers and technology professionals, whether that’s permanent relocation or contract work.
My young family and I relocated to Tauranga from Auckland last year, and every day I find myself falling more in love with this place and my new lifestyle. For my family, once we committed to the move, everything else fell into place with ease. Our realtor took us to six viewings on a Saturday and, unlike Auckland, we weren’t competing with 20 other buyers looking to secure the home we wanted.
We left our three-bedroom home in Albany, Auckland for a four-bedroom (practically new) paradise just a short walk from the beach – and we’re paying less in rent and utilities than we did in Auckland. There’s even room for the boat so we don’t need to pay for boat storage! Through accommodation alone, we’re saving hundreds of dollars each month whilst enjoying a much higher quality lifestyle. I’ve traded my stressful school drop offs (with so many cars, the school resembled a Westfield mall on Boxing Day) for a blissful five-minute school run.
If the sunshine isn’t enough (Tauranga consistently has the highest sunshine hours of any New Zealand city), the Port of Tauranga is New Zealand’s largest port, with direct access to Asia-Pacific and global export markets. Furthermore, with Auckland and Hamilton being so accessible, nearly two million people are less than three hours away, making it a great place to do business as well.
Housing and Infrastructure Investment
Living in Tauranga gives you significantly more choice and affordability when compared to other New Zealand cities. You can have the ultimate coastal home or live the rural lifestyle less than 20 minutes from the CBD. You can buy new four-bedroom homes for under $500,000, and two or three bedrooms for less than $400,000. With plans approved to build 7,000 new dwellings, there’s no housing shortage, either.
Similarly, Tauranga has planned well for growth and invested heavily in infrastructure across various key areas. It has enough vacant land to meet demand for another 39 years, based on the average uptake of 10ha per year. It’s a challenge to keep up with the growing population, but the city is committed to staying on top of it and the community continues to go from strength to strength.
While admittedly locals have noticed the increase in traffic (nothing compared to Auckland in my opinion!) as the city grows, Tauranga has the most efficient state highways in New Zealand, along with numerous improvements to infrastructure, including roading, rail, energy and water quality. In addition, 98% of Tauranga residents have access to ultrafast broadband; the highest level of uptake in New Zealand for connections, which is great news for those working in the tech sector.
Tauranga’s Flourishing Tech Sector
Just like other aspects of the city, the local tech sector is much more than meets the eye. With various events, meetups, development groups, Agile clusters and professional groups in the area, they all play a major role in the sector and the wonderful sense of community that exists. Events like Ted X Tauranga and a fully interactive STEM festival (which is taking place in 2019 for the first time), are just a couple of examples of the hunger for continued innovation.
There are still obstacles to conquer when it comes to attracting candidates from other regions, but I believe there’s been much improvement. Mindsets are moving away from “the way things have always been done” and increasingly towards the adoption of newer technologies and frameworks. From a technology perspective, we’re seeing a lot of .NET Development, Power BI, and SQL. Whilst Agile methodology, automated testing and Cloud still have a long way to go in most local businesses (with some fine exceptions), the ability to be a part of that transformation is what makes Tauranga so alluring, particularly for IT contractors.
With a combination of business-friendly infrastructure, exciting career opportunities and an enviable beach lifestyle, it’s no wonder so many major businesses have chosen to relocate their headquarters here.
However, employers need to be savvy around bringing in fresh IP from other regions and should take advantage of seasoned contracting professionals that can uplift their existing teams’ capabilities, mature their environment and maintain a competitive edge. As many of the local players are competing for the same candidates, you’ll need to move quickly through the recruitment process to secure the best talent.
Because of its size, employers also need to be aware of their employment brand, how they position themselves in the market and what others are saying about them in this well-connected tech community.
Tauranga is a thriving city that not only offers a great lifestyle but provides extensive opportunities for employers in the tech sector. If you’re a local employer looking for contract or permanent IT professionals to join your team, please reach out for help with all your Tauranga technology recruitment needs. I live locally, so am always available to meet you in person to discuss your requirements and get to know your business.