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NAPIER MAIL, JANUARY 16, 2013
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British pair cement life in Napier
New Kiwis: Steve and Angie Rawlinson love their Napier life.
Eight years after meeting Napier
Mayor Barbara Arnott at a New
Zealand Lifestyle Expo in Eng-
land, ex-Londoners Steve and
Angie Rawlinson are now bona
Before moving to Napier in
2005, both had stressful, high-
pressure jobs in London with long
hours spent commuting to work,
and they felt their treadmill-like
lives had become a drudge.
They knew there had to be a
better quality lifestyle some-
where, with a slower pace, and
they found it.
At the New Zealand Expo in
2004, the couple's main focus was
to gather information and find out
about visas and work permits, but
they said it was confusing because
to get a visa they would need a job
offer but to get a job they would
need a visa.
We were just about to leave
when we saw the Napier stand.
We had learned about Napier in
the Lonely Planet Travel Guide
that stated Napier had the most
sun, was a wine region, was on the
ocean and was a unique, pictur-
esque Art Deco city . . . it sounded
The Napier stand was very
busy, and then a lady called
Barbara came up and introduced
herself. When she told me she was
the mayor of Napier I didn't know
how to react and was stunned that
she made the effort to be at the
expo,'' said Mr Rawlinson.
When she read my credentials
and saw that I was a graphic
designer, Barbara called out to
Rick Hopkinson [the director of
Adplus Advertising at the time]
and said Rick, I have a graphic
designer here'. Then, what was
supposed to be a five-minute chat
with Rick, turned into a
40-minute interview, and ulti-
mately a job in Napier.''
Four months later they arrived.
I worked for AdPlus for a few
years before setting up my own
business, Many Hats Ltd. Rick,
who is also working for himself
now, mentored me through that
process and we do work together
sometimes. I redesigned the
Napier Life magazine a number of
years ago, and worked on art deco
signage for the council.
Having my wife, Angie, who is
an accountant by trade, works
When she is not doing his
books, she's organising confer-
ences up and down the country''.
New Zealand is far more
relaxed and far less up itself; the
class thing doesn't seem to be as
important as it is in England,'' she
In December they were granted
New Zealand citizenship at a cer-
emony held in Napier City Coun-
Their decision to become Kiwis
did not happen overnight.
It takes a while to understand
the culture of another country;
albeit that you speak the same
language and you drive on the
same side of the road, but it does
take a while to assimilate how
things are different.
Yesterday for instance we
could just wander down to the
beach, in our jandals -- we don't
call them flip-flops anymore -- just
five minutes from the house. You
can't do that in the United King-
In England, the weather is
quite good for only three months
of the year, whereas in New Zea-
land, especially Napier, the
weather is great for nine months
of the year -- and the skies are
very blue,'' he said.
That was one of the reasons
why we definitely wanted to leave
England and one of the reasons
why we definitely wanted to stay
here,'' said Angie.
There are some things they
miss about English life -- the pubs
and the football but those things
had become less important as they
enjoyed barbecues and sailing and
other outdoor activities.
Because of the weather, Eng-
land has much more of an indoor
lifestyle, like dining out in res-
taurants, bars and cafes, and of
Here we've played golf, tandem
skydived, bungy jumped, water
skied, been out in a surf lifesaving
boat, snow skied and even had a
good old Kiwi-bach holiday.''
Both believe that the secret to
fitting in was to embrace the Kiwi
culture and be prepared to jump
out of their comfort zone.
Our friends are moving to New
Zealand in February -- they came
to visit us last year and they too
fell in love with the city and the
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