Relishing all that Wairarapa has to offer, Hitiri and Jacqui Turner could easily be the poster family for living and loving life in Masterton. So smitten with their new environment the family of six encourages others to be bold and follow suit.
It’s a message that has already resonated with one of the extended whanau – Jacqui’s sister – who just couldn’t resist and has convinced her husband and family to also re-locate to mighty Masterton.
Originally from Te Awamutu, the Turners packed up their belongings and made the move in the middle of last year when Hitiri landed a promotion with his employer, Manuka Health. He is the national extraction manager at Manuka Health’s state-of-the-art extraction facility just south of Masterton.
Since arriving Jacqui has also secured a good job, as a legal clerk in an established practice in town.
Both busy professionals, Hitiri says it is awesome living in a region where there is so much that you can do to unwind and live life to the fullest.
“We’re quite an outdoorsy family, so having the ranges and all the camping that is on offer is something that we really love,” Hitiri says.
“There are heaps of options for hunting, and people are really helpful and welcoming.
“Also the beaches here are really good, and they’re not crammed full of people like Raglan which was the only beach that was near to us back home.”
A surprising aspect about Masterton is that for a town its size it doesn’t really want for anything, Hitiri says.
“Everything that you need is here. If we do need to go somewhere, there is ‘Palmy’ just down the road, and Wellington is not far away either. There is nothing much that you can’t get here, to be honest.”
There is a great range of options for dining, two terrific movie cinemas and heaps of first-class amenities, he says.
Although totally enamoured with the Wairarapa now, the couple freely admits that there was a settling in period.
“For us it was a really big decision. Waikato is where we are from and all of our whanau are there.”
With no family and no mates, after the first couple of months they began to have doubts that they had made the right decision.
“We perhaps didn’t think enough about how much adjusting for the kids was going to be required, especially for the older girls, it was really tough.”
It became apparent that they needed to be more pro-active in making themselves known, and before long one or two contacts morphed into many and now they feel very much part of the community.
“People here are actually really welcoming, that’s surprised me a little bit, to be honest. . . . you have to be prepared to make an effort, but when you do it is really easy to make friends. The kids just love it here now.”
A big factor for any family with young kids considering moving to another district is the options for schooling. The Turner’s are blown away by the choices in Masterton with a mix of single-sex and co-ed colleges in town. For their two youngest children the local Te Kura Kaupapa Maori has made a big impression.
“The kura in Masterton is really awesome, one of our boys is there and the other one will start soon.”