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Special effects supremo Gino Acevedo came to Wellington almost 15 years ago to work on the Lord of the Ringstrilogy and now calls the city home.
Special effects supremo Gino Acevedo came to Wellington almost 15 years ago to work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and now calls the city home.
“One of the things I noticed when I first moved here to Wellington is just how creative this town really is. It seems like every other person is some kind of artist,” says Gino.
Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Gino’s since worked on major blockbusters in Wellington such as King Kong, Avatar, Tintin, Planet of the Apes and The Hobbit trilogy.
For him, one of the things that makes the city a great place to live is its scenery.
“I’ll never forget the first time I flew into Wellington from Los Angeles, just how beautiful and clean it was. Walking about the town, everything’s so easy to get around and plus the water’s no more than five minutes away.”
With an amazing cuisine and more cafes per capita than anywhere else in the world, Gino loves the buzz and feel of his new home.
“I love the people, the culture and everything about Wellington. I wish the rest of the world could be more like Wellington.”
Family doctor Kim Hurst came to Wellington from the UK five years ago and feels a real sense of community here.
“New Zealand’s health system is a really great place to work. As a GP, you can manage a lot yourself but you’ve also got a lot of support from colleagues. Everyone’s pulling together; it’s like working in a big family really,” she says.
“I chose Wellington because it’s got huge amounts on offer – the bush is just 45 minutes from the city centre, I love hitting the outdoors on the weekend and there’s heaps of great coffee as well.”
A keen mountain biker – Kim is a former UK and current New Zealand representative – she loves hitting the trails around the Wellington region.
“Wellington’s an awesome spot for a mountain biker and that’s what I fill my weekends doing,” she says.
“I won Karapoti which is a 50km rugged mountain biking event and the best bit about that was crossing the finish line to a whole bunch of friends who were all new friends I’d made in New Zealand.”
Sandra Little and her husband came to New Zealand for a seven week holiday and 10 months later they had moved to Wellington.
“I really liked my life in the UK; I never really thought I’d live anywhere else. Coming to New Zealand changed that,” says Sandra.
She says Wellington’s small enough that it’s got a really good community spirit, but big enough that there’s a lot of variety about what you can do here.
“Day-to-day life is quite similar to in the UK but the things you do in the free time are completely different.”
“I’ve never lived anywhere where there’s so many people running and cycling and kayaking and just enjoying the outdoors.”
Sandra works at Worksafe NZ, a government agency focused on health and safety in the workplace.
“I found my job just by a good old Google search. Here because your skills are so valued and there’s, I guess, less competition the opportunities are a lot broader.”
Stuart Clark swapped the traffic jams of London for the freedom of Wellington.
The IT developer used to work in London but spent almost all his spare time escaping to the English countryside or heading to Scotland to spend the weekend rock climbing. He came to Wellington to have more access to the outdoors.
“I just got sick of being stuck in traffic jams every weekend. I didn’t really want to go to Auckland because coming from London it just seemed to be swapping one big city for another.”
Stuart says moving to New Zealand definitely hasn’t been a backward step for him or his career.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really smart people, and work on some really interesting projects.”
Outside work, he relishes the ease with which you can move around the country. Roads aren’t as congested as in the UK and petrol’s about half the price, which means he can explore more of New Zealand’s great outdoors and, importantly, get more climbing done.
Knowing she could work in the same role in Wellington as in her home town Liverpool gave Louise the confidence she needed to make Wellington her new home.
Louise is an environmental engineer for Opus an international engineering consultancy firm. She was able to migrate from the UK with a skilled migrant category visa.
Louise has found her team at Opus very friendly and supportive as she’s adjusted to life in Wellington over the last few months.
“I’m amazed how quickly I have settled down here. One of the things I love about where I live is that I can walk to work, it’s 15 minutes. I love the sea and I love being able to see it.”
The city’s size makes getting around in good time easy and there’s a lot on offer.
“Lunchtimes I’ve been running, I’ve been indoor rock-climbing, I’ve been kayaking. Sometimes I pop home for lunch. With the city being so compact you can do whatever you want.”
From her house walking in one direction she is within easy reach of great restaurants, “you know you can go out with your friends and have really good food and wine”. The other direction takes her up to Wellington’s green belt, a corridor of natural bush and forest that sits on the city’s doorstep, “you can be in the countryside”.
“The biggest surprise with Wellington is just how close everything is and how quickly you can get to know a place and settle down and feel like you have lived here forever.”
Six years ago Mark Bruce could only dream about walking to work along a picturesque waterfront to an amazing job in an action packed yet family friendly city.
But now that’s what he finds himself doing as a software developer at Trade Me in Wellington. “It’s just my dream job. I couldn’t ever imagine having the same job in England.”
Trade Me is the largest internet auction website in New Zealand and Mark loves his position, especially the environment and culture.
“It’s a really welcoming place. When I first started everyone was really friendly and it’s a good social atmosphere.”
Mark first came over to Wellington with his wife on honeymoon in 2007 and the couple fell in love with the place, moving back in 2013. They now have a young son and find it easy to get about with him in such a compact capital city.
“We take him everywhere. To football, swimming, all these activities are in the city.”
Living in Wellington is economical for a family too. “Things like childcare works out better for us here than in the UK, but you can’t really compare dollars and pounds.”
The couple are delighted with the welcoming neighbourhood they now live in. “We’ve had barbeques with our neighbours where there’s been 20 or 30 people there.”
But what’s a BBQ without a good beer? Not having enough of a choice in beer varieties was something that Mark worried about when he first arrived. However, he found the opposite was true.
“I was blown away. There were so many craft breweries, so many beers; I just didn’t know where to start.”
Previous Did you know... Next
Wellingtonians have a 5km average commute to work
49.8% of Wellingtonians own their own home
There are 363kms of MTB and walking tracks in the region
Previous Did you know... Next
Wellington has around 750 cafes and restaurants
Wellington has 2,110hrs of sunshine per year
Wellington region has a population of 492,500
Wellingtonians have an average commute to work of only 5km
Wellington has 363km of mountain biking and walking tracks
Wellington's median house price is $455,899