Living in Taranaki

Why live in Taranaki? Here is how some of our recent arrivals to Taranaki have described living here:

“Work life balance is much better here, and there’s no hierarchy at work – everyone is treated the same. We have fun but we get the work done, and it’s really rewarding.” Michael and Rebecca Maxim.
“We arrived at the end of June 2011, with the plan of staying for a year, and we’re still here. The call to stay was unanimous!” Brad, Jenny, Lindsay, Skyler and Owen Ellington.
“To anyone looking to move to Taranaki, do it. You won’t regret it, but if you do you can always move back.” Charlie, Natasha, Samuel, Daniel, Callum and Elise Lewis.

There is no reason why you shouldn't come to live in “Taradise”.


What is there to do in Taranaki?

Taranaki has become known as an events capital and punches well above its weight in terms of attracting international superstars. The region is lucky to have the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, a natural amphitheatre housed in Pukekura Park, a 50-hectare park in the centre of New Plymouth city. This world-class venue has attracted many famous international artists including REM, UB40, Sir Elton John, Jack Johnson, Simply Red, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Crawford and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as well as hosting the annual WOMAD festival.

The highlight of the year for many Taranaki people is when WOMAD comes to town. The three-day World of Music, Arts and Dance turns the TSB Bowl of Brooklands and surrounding Brooklands Park into a hive of cultural harmony.

Every spring, dozens of Taranaki’s best gardeners open their hearts and homes to visitors and locals during the annual Taranaki garden festivals. For ten days at the start of November, the region buzzes with people admiring topiary hedges, clever plantings, blooming roses and rhododendrons which are part of the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular.

Every summer, Taranaki people talk about “going to see the lights”. They are referring to the TSB Bank Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park, where trees lining the paths and lakes are strung with lights, turning the park into an enchanting fairyland.

Farmers’ Market Taranaki is a vibrant scene where local growers and producers meet local customers and visitors to the province.

Taranaki has staged the Americarna festival which celebrates all things American, numerous times. For a week in February hundreds of hot rod and classic car enthusiasts parade around the region and provide locals with the opportunity to get up close and personal to their prized vehicles.

Something for everyone

Taranaki’s fantastic landscape and highly developed infrastructure provide a myriad of opportunities for everyone to participate in a wide range of activities. There is an array of all-weather surfaces for athletics, tennis and hockey. Netball is a huge sport and is played throughout Taranaki, as is football, which in New Zealand is commonly called soccer. In winter, a snow-clad Mount Taranaki provides a steep playground for skiers and snowboarders.

Apart from joining a club you can also take part in the many annual sporting events that fill up Taranaki’s calendar. There are round the-mountain cycle races and walks, fun runs, a mountain-to-surf marathon, half-marathon, half ironman, tennis tournaments and surf life-saving competitions to name but a few. 

Cycling, both road and off-road, has a growing community in the region. For mountain bike enthusiasts, Lake Mangamahoe and Colsen Road mountain bike trails have numerous accessible trails for riders of all levels. For road cyclists, there is a network of urban cycle ways and a multimillion dollar velodrome and closed road circuit just north of New Plymouth city.

Swimmers can train all-year-round in aquatic centres throughout Taranaki. There are indoor heated pools in New Plymouth, Bell Block, Stratford and Hawera as well as a number of outdoor pools throughout the region. The New Plymouth Aquatic Centre features heated indoor and outdoor pools, a wave machine, water slides and a fitness centre, along with a spa pool and sauna.

And then of course there is the sea... 

The region’s numerous beaches provide hours of family fun and a great swimming option during the summer months with three of New Plymouth’s beaches, Oakura, East End and Fitzroy becoming the first ‘blue flag’ accredited beaches in Oceania, an international standard for water quality, environmental sustainability and education. The beaches are kept safe by both volunteer and professional lifeguards, many of whom are stars on the national lifesaving competition scene. 

The annual Flanagan Cup is an open water swim challenge over 1.2 and 3.6 km.  This is keenly contested and attracts swimmers from around New Zealand every February.

Taranaki is also known as a surfers’ paradise, good enough to lure the world’s best board riders as well as produce them. Every April the best women surfers on Earth grace our shores for an ASP World Tour event. Other popular activities along the coast include windsurfing, kite surfing, water-skiing, canoeing, fishing and kayaking.      

Where could my children go to school?

No one with kids moves countries without an assurance that their children will be better off for the move. Well you will be pleased to know that many people move to New Zealand for that very reason.

There is a wide variety of education providers in the region, from early childcare through to tertiary institutions. Our schools provide a safe, friendly and positive environment where students are actively encouraged to reach their full potential by highly qualified, dedicated staff.

Quality education begins at one of Taranaki’s high-level preschool facilities which include kindergartens, play centres, Montessori pre-school, child care centres, Kohanga Reo, home-based family day care and nanny placement services.

Primary and intermediate schools offer low teacher to pupil ratios and secondary students have the choice of enrolling in a school that suits their needs. Whether it is co-educational or single sex, boarding or day, religious or secular, our schools are renowned for their academic, sporting and cultural achievements.

Sector specific training is provided by Industry Training Organisations (ITO’s), and tertiary education by the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT) and Pacific International Hotel Management School (PIHMS). Apprenticeships are managed and promoted by a number of different organisations and some larger companies provide internships or graduate programmes as part of their recruitment programmes.

Taranaki is now part of the global Kiwi Advanced Research & Education Network (KAREN) which provides ultra high speed 1GB broadband to researchers and education providers.

The Ministry of Education website has useful information for parents about the schooling system in New Zealand

The Education Review Office (ERO) evaluates all schools in New Zealand on a regular basis and you can view their reports online.

Where could I live?

Taranaki offers a wide variety of affordable housing ranging from apartment living in city and town centres, traditional bungalows on private sections to farms and lifestyle blocks in the countryside. With the affordability of housing in the region, along with the time you’ll save in commuting, Taranaki gives you lifestyle choices ‘like no other’.

If you would like to find somewhere to live, contact a local real estate agent or check out their websites for more details.  Most places to rent or buy are available on, and, and Te Whatu Ora Taranaki has lots of online noticeboards and other staff communication advertising housing.  So you may want to start off in short term accommodation and then scan what’s available later.

If you choose to make New Plymouth your home, no matter what suburb you live in, you will be just minutes away from the city centre. It’s likely to take you no more than 10 minutes to commute to work each day.

Hawera, Stratford, Inglewood, Waitara, Oakura, Opunake, Urenui and many of the other towns throughout Taranaki provide an inviting alternative to city living. In these smaller communities, you will find homes on spacious sections and lifestyle blocks with sea and/or mountain views.

Renting a house

There is a wide variety of rental housing available in New Plymouth and in all towns around the region. If you are moving from overseas, it is recommended that you rent first before buying so that you can learn more about the market and where you would like to settle before purchasing a home.

Buying a house

Buying a house is generally a straightforward and simple process. The average time it takes for settlement to go through once an offer has been accepted is 30 days, and there is no ability for other people to ‘gazump’ you. A great way to get a feel for the market is to attend ‘open homes’ at the weekends. For information on the buying process, residency rules and arranging a mortgage talk to your local bank manager.

A multitude of sports

Sport is a large focus in Taranaki for all ages. Not only does the region host top-class sporting events, it also encourages people to get active through providing a variety of high-quality sports facilities, clubs and grounds.  New Plymouth’s picturesque cricket ground at Pukekura Park received international honours in 2007, when prestigious publisher Wisden named it as one of the six greatest cricket grounds in the world.

Another one of the region’s premier venues is Yarrow Stadium, judged the third best place in the world to watch a rugby match by New Zealand Rugby World Magazine. The Stadium regularly hosts major rugby and sporting events, including three Rugby World Cup 2011 matches.

New Plymouth is also the location for the TSB Stadium, a multipurpose centre that caters for a diverse range of events including sports, shows and concerts, exhibitions and trade shows, dinners, conventions and community events. The Stadium is located adjacent to the Pukekura Raceway, where races are held on a regular basis throughout the year.

Opened in 2002, The TET Multi Sports Centre in Stratford, central Taranaki, is a modern facility offering both indoor and outdoor sports, such as volleyball, netball and hockey, including a fully licensed bar and restaurant and large conference facilities.

The TET Stadium in Inglewood also provides modern rugby, squash and conference facilities and features a world class Mondo all-weather running track.

The TSB Hub is a sports, recreation and events facility for the entire South Taranaki district, based around Hick’s Park in Hawera. It provides a comfortable, spacious venue for indoor leisure activities and operates as a modern conference/events/function centre as well as a meeting space for a variety of community clubs and organisations. It also links to the neighbouring 800-student Hawera High School and the nearby Powerco Aquatic Centre. In 2010 and 2011, the TSB Hub hosted the Davis Cup, an international tennis tournament and the world’s largest annual team competition in sport.

Last updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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