'Gizzy is magic'

A NICE BALANCE: Debs and Pete Hancock with their two children Jethro, 5, and Anica, 3, moved from Auckland to Gisborne four years ago. They have both gained 10 extra hours a week from not having to commute in Auckland traffic. Picture by Liam Clayton
THINKING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES: Straker Translations now has an office in Gisborne so their employees have a chance at home ownership . . . and a work/life/play balance. Pictured are the company’s founders — husband and wife team Grant and Merryn Straker. Picture supplied

Last week the Gisborne Herald on Sunday had a two-page spread about a multimillion dollar company moving some of its employees to Gisborne so they could have a chance at home ownership, and a work/life balance. Sophie Rishworth spoke to others who have done the same, as well as the organisations that encourage new businesses to this district while also boosting existing local ones . . .

When Debs and Pete Hancock did their budget for an upcoming move to Gisborne, they did not factor in how many fruit and vegetables the neighbours would bring over, for free.

“It actually makes a difference,” says Debs.

So did taking the hefty Auckland commute out of their daily routine. It has saved them money on petrol, and added two hours each, every day, back into their lives.

“That’s 10 hours each a week not being in traffic.”

Instead it’s a 10-minute bike ride to work.

Now Debs, 36, comes home after work, cooks dinner, takes it to the beach to eat with her family, and there is still time to get the kids bathed and in bed before 7pm.
“Unless you live by the beach, you just can’t do that in Auckland.”

The Hancocks were very 50/50 about whether to make the move here four years ago. They had one child and one on the way but wanted to be closer to Debs’ family in Wairoa.

“We took a bit of a pay cut and were stressing about whether we could afford it. But it is so much cheaper in terms of housing, petrol and parking.

“But with the time and ease of growing food, and the sharing between friends and neighbours, there are savings in all sorts of ways.”

Debs used to work from home. But Gisborne’s tech hub Launch! means people who have their own businesses now have colleagues to bounce ideas off and network with. There is also a great coffee machine, music is played and the atmosphere is conducive to working together, but on your own. Debs loves her desk there.

Imports go through ‘Gisification’ process

Launch! is situated upstairs from The Works Cafe Restaurant and Bar in the Inner Harbour. It’s like an open plan office where people can rent a desk. It brings people together.

Local people rub shoulders with employees from the multimillion dollar multinational company Straker Translations.

The Albany-based software company, which debuted strongly on the ASX last week, uses artificial intelligence as well as human experts to translate text.

It now has a regional office in Gisborne to give their staff a chance at home ownership. The Auckland housing market was just too far out of most people’s reach.

Straker employees will be based at Launch! for three to four months before they find their own space, which will in turn give business to a local landlord and fill up an empty gap in Gisborne’s CBD.

So far, around five Straker employees have moved from Auckland, with another one coming next month.

Gisborne is rising

The population of the Gisborne District for 2018 is 47,900 on the website idnz.co.nz, which forecasts it will climb to 52,063 by 2043.

The 2013 census had the population at 43,656, which was a decrease of 843 people since the 2006 census. The results of the 2018 census will not be known until next year but it is obvious the tide has turned for Gisborne and the secret is out.

Activate Tairawhiti communications manager Matt Cairns moved home last year with his wife Joy, also a Gisborne girl, and their children.

They’ve both noticed a distinct uplift around Gisborne compared to 10 years ago. The mood is upbeat and positive.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the optimism,” he says, and being able to promote Launch! as a central, cool place where people want to go.
“The Straker example will help other local companies realise Gisborne can offer what everyone is after — that lifestyle balance.”

Eastland Community Trust (ECT) chief executive Gavin Murphy says as well as encouraging people to do business here, they also work alongside locals to boost existing businesses.

“We have to work with local people and local businesses as well as bring new businesses to town. We need to do both.”

Gavin says ECT will equally, if not prioritise, work with locals to grow the jobs, and the quality of jobs, in their businesses.

Activate Tairawhiti and ECT staff work side-by-side in open-plan offices at the top of Shed 3 in the Inner Harbour.

A large consultation with 50 local businesses has just been completed by Activate Tairawhiti.
“We recognise the need for engagement with local business as well as outside ones,” says Gavin.

There is a strong Maori tech focus and support for Launch!, which is supported by Ngati Porou and Gisborne Holdings Limited (GHL) to help create the modern “techie space” where people can rent a desk.

Gavin says the beauty of Launch! is they had this space to offer to Straker employees immediately and enable them to work beside locals.

“It also meant our local tech people got to rub shoulders with a multimillion dollar company.”

In turn, the new arrivals are also able to pick up inside knowledge of their new home.

Gisborne woman Sarah Somerton contracts to Activate Tairawhiti to provide Manaakitanga to the new arrivals.

“When people relocate, there is a whole lot of background support needed. We are aiming to make this transition as smooth as possible for the Straker team,” says Sarah.

That has included Ms Somerton attending open homes, helping sort out temporary accommodation, checking out local schools, right through to where the butchers and medical centres are.

“If you’re left alone it makes it overwhelming. It’s about the small town things.”

Isolation Gisborne's saving grace from the rat race

Straker employee Simon Marino, 38, and his wife moved from Tauranga to Gisborne in March.

After taking temporary roles for a few months, he landed a full time job in June with Straker Translations as a customer service advisor. He works from Launch!

“What I love about Gisborne is that it is so much quieter than Tauranga, which has become a victim of unregulated growth,” says Simon.

People talk about Auckland commute times, but Tauranga is just as bad, he says.
What should be a 15-minute car trip becomes a 45-minute commute morning and night.

“I know a lot of people complain about Gisborne’s isolation but I think it is Gisborne’s saving grace.
“Gisborne is magic. Everyone has got that word-of-mouth thing — you see people you know at the supermarket or while on a walk.
“It’s lovely, it feels like a village. And everyone at Activate Tairawhiti has been so friendly and welcoming and supportive.”

It is this intangible benefit — the feeling of being in a community — that has so many people sold on the lifestyle Gisborne brings.

Aucklanders do need to switch gears a bit when they move here, Simon says.
He calls it the “Gisification process”.

Simon says while things might take a bit longer, it’s a nicer process getting them done.
“I have worked in places before where you are in little cubicles, and people e-mail you from the desk beside you.
“This place is completely the opposite. People talk more here.”
Simon says it is about changing the mindset, out of the rat race of Auckland, to getting that life balance right, and Gisborne is a great place where that can happen.

Straker study to promote more business buy-in

Straker Translations co-founder Grant Straker has agreed to work with ECT on a case study, video blog (and a hard copy to keep it a bit old-school as well) about their firm taking the live/work/play balance seriously enough that they moved employees to Gisborne.

The case study will help ECT to promote this idea to other businesses.

There is a whole lot this region can offer those from big cities, says Gavin.

But none of this would have happened if the pieces were not already in place to allow it to happen.

“We made sure our region was part of national tech week, which led to the korero between Mayor Meng Foon, Merryn and Grant Straker, and Activate Tairawhiti.”

It was that conversation which led to Straker Translations coming to town.

Having Launch! already set up and running meant it was available to the company for its staff immediately.

It all happened because of active decisions made by Activate Tairawhiti, says Gavin.
“Things were in place. We think we can do a bunch more of that.”

The case study will focus on why the Straker move to Gisborne had been good for business, and good for their people too.

Mayor Meng Foon is very pleased to have Straker in Gisborne.
“Wherever I go, I continue to promote our region, and at every opportunity I do.

“So welcome, haere mai Grant, ki te Tairawhiti.”

Mayor Foon says there are many other local success stories as well — like the Eagle Flight Training School.

Last week the Gisborne Herald on Sunday had a two-page spread about a multimillion dollar company moving some of its employees to Gisborne so they could have a chance at home ownership, and a work/life balance. Sophie Rishworth spoke to others who have done the same, as well as the organisations that encourage new businesses to this district while also boosting existing local ones . . .

When Debs and Pete Hancock did their budget for an upcoming move to Gisborne, they did not factor in how many fruit and vegetables the neighbours would bring over, for free.

“It actually makes a difference,” says Debs.

So did taking the hefty Auckland commute out of their daily routine. It has saved them money on petrol, and added two hours each, every day, back into their lives.

“That’s 10 hours each a week not being in traffic.”

Instead it’s a 10-minute bike ride to work.

Now Debs, 36, comes home after work, cooks dinner, takes it to the beach to eat with her family, and there is still time to get the kids bathed and in bed before 7pm.
“Unless you live by the beach, you just can’t do that in Auckland.”

The Hancocks were very 50/50 about whether to make the move here four years ago. They had one child and one on the way but wanted to be closer to Debs’ family in Wairoa.

“We took a bit of a pay cut and were stressing about whether we could afford it. But it is so much cheaper in terms of housing, petrol and parking.

“But with the time and ease of growing food, and the sharing between friends and neighbours, there are savings in all sorts of ways.”

Debs used to work from home. But Gisborne’s tech hub Launch! means people who have their own businesses now have colleagues to bounce ideas off and network with. There is also a great coffee machine, music is played and the atmosphere is conducive to working together, but on your own. Debs loves her desk there.

Imports go through ‘Gisification’ process

Launch! is situated upstairs from The Works Cafe Restaurant and Bar in the Inner Harbour. It’s like an open plan office where people can rent a desk. It brings people together.

Local people rub shoulders with employees from the multimillion dollar multinational company Straker Translations.

The Albany-based software company, which debuted strongly on the ASX last week, uses artificial intelligence as well as human experts to translate text.

It now has a regional office in Gisborne to give their staff a chance at home ownership. The Auckland housing market was just too far out of most people’s reach.

Straker employees will be based at Launch! for three to four months before they find their own space, which will in turn give business to a local landlord and fill up an empty gap in Gisborne’s CBD.

So far, around five Straker employees have moved from Auckland, with another one coming next month.

Gisborne is rising

The population of the Gisborne District for 2018 is 47,900 on the website idnz.co.nz, which forecasts it will climb to 52,063 by 2043.

The 2013 census had the population at 43,656, which was a decrease of 843 people since the 2006 census. The results of the 2018 census will not be known until next year but it is obvious the tide has turned for Gisborne and the secret is out.

Activate Tairawhiti communications manager Matt Cairns moved home last year with his wife Joy, also a Gisborne girl, and their children.

They’ve both noticed a distinct uplift around Gisborne compared to 10 years ago. The mood is upbeat and positive.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the optimism,” he says, and being able to promote Launch! as a central, cool place where people want to go.
“The Straker example will help other local companies realise Gisborne can offer what everyone is after — that lifestyle balance.”

Eastland Community Trust (ECT) chief executive Gavin Murphy says as well as encouraging people to do business here, they also work alongside locals to boost existing businesses.

“We have to work with local people and local businesses as well as bring new businesses to town. We need to do both.”

Gavin says ECT will equally, if not prioritise, work with locals to grow the jobs, and the quality of jobs, in their businesses.

Activate Tairawhiti and ECT staff work side-by-side in open-plan offices at the top of Shed 3 in the Inner Harbour.

A large consultation with 50 local businesses has just been completed by Activate Tairawhiti.
“We recognise the need for engagement with local business as well as outside ones,” says Gavin.

There is a strong Maori tech focus and support for Launch!, which is supported by Ngati Porou and Gisborne Holdings Limited (GHL) to help create the modern “techie space” where people can rent a desk.

Gavin says the beauty of Launch! is they had this space to offer to Straker employees immediately and enable them to work beside locals.

“It also meant our local tech people got to rub shoulders with a multimillion dollar company.”

In turn, the new arrivals are also able to pick up inside knowledge of their new home.

Gisborne woman Sarah Somerton contracts to Activate Tairawhiti to provide Manaakitanga to the new arrivals.

“When people relocate, there is a whole lot of background support needed. We are aiming to make this transition as smooth as possible for the Straker team,” says Sarah.

That has included Ms Somerton attending open homes, helping sort out temporary accommodation, checking out local schools, right through to where the butchers and medical centres are.

“If you’re left alone it makes it overwhelming. It’s about the small town things.”

Isolation Gisborne's saving grace from the rat race

Straker employee Simon Marino, 38, and his wife moved from Tauranga to Gisborne in March.

After taking temporary roles for a few months, he landed a full time job in June with Straker Translations as a customer service advisor. He works from Launch!

“What I love about Gisborne is that it is so much quieter than Tauranga, which has become a victim of unregulated growth,” says Simon.

People talk about Auckland commute times, but Tauranga is just as bad, he says.
What should be a 15-minute car trip becomes a 45-minute commute morning and night.

“I know a lot of people complain about Gisborne’s isolation but I think it is Gisborne’s saving grace.
“Gisborne is magic. Everyone has got that word-of-mouth thing — you see people you know at the supermarket or while on a walk.
“It’s lovely, it feels like a village. And everyone at Activate Tairawhiti has been so friendly and welcoming and supportive.”

It is this intangible benefit — the feeling of being in a community — that has so many people sold on the lifestyle Gisborne brings.

Aucklanders do need to switch gears a bit when they move here, Simon says.
He calls it the “Gisification process”.

Simon says while things might take a bit longer, it’s a nicer process getting them done.
“I have worked in places before where you are in little cubicles, and people e-mail you from the desk beside you.
“This place is completely the opposite. People talk more here.”
Simon says it is about changing the mindset, out of the rat race of Auckland, to getting that life balance right, and Gisborne is a great place where that can happen.

Straker study to promote more business buy-in

Straker Translations co-founder Grant Straker has agreed to work with ECT on a case study, video blog (and a hard copy to keep it a bit old-school as well) about their firm taking the live/work/play balance seriously enough that they moved employees to Gisborne.

The case study will help ECT to promote this idea to other businesses.

There is a whole lot this region can offer those from big cities, says Gavin.

But none of this would have happened if the pieces were not already in place to allow it to happen.

“We made sure our region was part of national tech week, which led to the korero between Mayor Meng Foon, Merryn and Grant Straker, and Activate Tairawhiti.”

It was that conversation which led to Straker Translations coming to town.

Having Launch! already set up and running meant it was available to the company for its staff immediately.

It all happened because of active decisions made by Activate Tairawhiti, says Gavin.
“Things were in place. We think we can do a bunch more of that.”

The case study will focus on why the Straker move to Gisborne had been good for business, and good for their people too.

Mayor Meng Foon is very pleased to have Straker in Gisborne.
“Wherever I go, I continue to promote our region, and at every opportunity I do.

“So welcome, haere mai Grant, ki te Tairawhiti.”

Mayor Foon says there are many other local success stories as well — like the Eagle Flight Training School.

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Robin Mc - 18 days ago
The population has increased 4000 in the past 5 years and the predictions are for 4000 more for the next 25 years . . . OK, there must be some bright minds working these stats out.

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