Having spent many years working as a health professional in Auckland, Raewyn Curin decided to make the move to South Island for a somewhat slower way of life.
Is it true that South Island is more spectacular than North Island?
Yes, it is spectacular. The changing seasons are much more noticeable than in North Island. The spine of mountains running down the centre of the island gives a fantastic backdrop to many views. In saying that, North Island also has some spectacular scenery, we are very lucky in New Zealand to have such a wide range of scenery.
I am sure this is not your reason for moving, we would love to hear why you made this decision?
I wanted to move to a smaller town or city when I finished work. I was very familiar with the Far North having owned a holiday house up there for many years and I considered that area very seriously. I had also had many holidays in Wanaka and loved the climate and scenery there. An added bonus was that my son lived in Wanaka and I had several friends with homes there. The town is bigger than Russell where my holiday house is and has a wider range of activities which also appealed to me.
At the time did you feel it a big decision? Or did you have the attitude if it doesn’t work out, you can always come back?
Yes, I guess it was a big decision but I have always been of the opinion that when you make a decision, you then make it work! I have an escape route if I ever need it as I still own the house in Russell. At this stage though, I cannot see myself ever needing to use it.
Did the move have anything to do with retirement looming?
Yes, very much. I had to live in Auckland for my work. I was born in Auckland and lived there my entire life up until retiring so it was definitely time to have a change.
Do the South Islanders embrace you and has it been easy to meet and make new friends?
I cannot believe how friendly people are here. When I first arrived I had a broken leg and I could not believe how people went out of their way to help me. Staff in shops offered to carry my shopping out to the car, a young boy offered to unload my supermarket shopping onto the checkout counter for me. I was hamstrung a bit in terms of meeting people while I had my broken leg but now that I am more mobile, I am finding everyone very welcoming. There is plenty to do down here with a thriving arts and cultural scene as well as every physical activity known to man! We have just had the Festival of Colour here and I volunteered as a driver for the festival. I got to meet many of the artists and speakers for the festival while driving them backwards and forwards to Queenstown airport.
Is your new life living up to your expectations?
Absolutely, I love it. I originally thought I would spend time up in Russell as well as down here but I have not been to Russell since I shifted down here.
What has been the best thing about moving, and what have been the challenges?
Best thing about shifting is my house — I love it. It has lots of history associated with it and is in a rural area so an absolute change from living on a half-site in Auckland. The property has a house and a small cottage and I have had great fun organising the interiors of both. Owning a small rural property also meant I could buy a ride-on mower and build a big shed to keep everything in. I also love being closer to my son. The opportunity of making new friends and establishing myself in a completely new community is really good for me. It might be a challenge but it is one that I am relishing. I recently spent some time living in Italy in a very small village and I was amazed how many friends I made there. That certainly gave me confidence and I know that I have the ability to make new friends here in Wanaka.
What do you miss about Auckland?
Only my friends and family who live in Auckland. However, flights are relatively cheap and very frequent and I can be in Auckland in three hours. Central Otago is also on everyone’s wish list of places to visit so I have not been short of visitors since I shifted here.