When I returned to New Zealand in 2005 after 4 years overseas, my first stop was Hawke’s Bay to spend time with family and friends and to plan where I was going to go next.

So I soon realised that the Bay was the place I wanted to stay. I could see that the population of Hawke’s Bay was growing and changing, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I found a job, purchased a house and began to settle in. Eighteen months later I took the plunge and set up 99, my own business in Hastings.

When I am asked why did I choose to live and work in the Bay, I think: “where do you start?”

We have the lifestyle attractions such as the Peak for all ages to use to exercise, bike, run or walk over. The new Rotary walk/cycle ways along the stop banks of our rivers are a superb community asset. We have fantastic sports events, such as the Triple Peaks Challenge and the Kelt Capital Races. Not to mention the beaches, concerts, and beautiful world-class wineries.

Hawke’s Bay is centrally located for business, and thanks to modern technology we can work nationwide with ease, and still enjoy the spoils of the Bay lifestyle. Not to mention the lower overheads and costs associated with it.

Having had a taste of what is on offer overseas through business opportunities and lifestyle, Hawke’s Bay really ticked every box for me. Sun, lifestyle, family, friends, central location, and a stimulating business environment.

Operating a business in the Bay is great – we are early adopters of new business ideas. We have excellent networks and plenty of fantastic businesses based here. We have “can do” people here. The sort of personalities that make a community like Hawke’s Bay what it is.

When I think about leaving the Bay and New Zealand, it would only be for one reason, overseas extended travel. At the moment, there isn’t anywhere else I would choose to live in New Zealand.

In my mind are there are only a couple of areas that could do with improvement in Hawke’s Bay to make it more attractive to other young people to pursue business opportunities here.

Number one, is the perceived division between Napier and Hastings – centred on the local Councils. For an area the size of ours, it seems such a crazy waste of resources that are pumped into two individual Councils.

Our attraction is Hawke’s Bay – the region as a whole, not just either Napier or Hastings or Havelock North.  Each part of our region has its different attractions to offer, and it’s the sum total of these from Bluff Hill to Te Mata Peak that makes the Bay so special.  I believe we should have a united front, and combine the two Councils rather than compete internally and have such a divide.

Maybe our Council services would improve too? My other dig is specifically directed to the Hastings Council property division. From my own first hand experience when I subdivided my property, and from talking to others, delays and wasted time chasing the Council at every stage of the process are the order of the day. In some cases these delays cost people their contracts.
This division is user pays, not ratepayer funded, so there is no excuse for the number of unnecessary delays. This department have hindered or delayed development and progress in the buoyant times and, hopefully now with the advent of the credit/confidence crisis and subsequent slowdown, this division can reflect on their service turn around and become more positive and proactive with building and subdivision consents.
It’s great to have the change in the national government and to have Craig Foss and Chris Tremain back in again backing the Bay.

Hopefully, now we will be more progressive and encourage more growth, exactly what someone like me with a growing business and a love for Hawke’s Bay is after.

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1 Comment

  1. Great article Sophie! It's good to know there are still some of our generation "Back-in the Bay"!: This is just the kind of positivity and forward thinking the region desperately needs.

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