Bianca Grizhar

Bianca Grizhar Working remotely for Raygun from their van.

After living in Shanghai for seven years, Bianca Grizhar decided it was time for a change of pace. She wanted to find her ‘forever place’ and settle down. After extensive research she decided on Wellington.

The frenetic pace of a big city can be exciting, but for Bianca the drawbacks outweighed the advantages. “I was over Shanghai, and I was looking for a place where I actually wanted to live permanently. I’m a very analytical person, so I made a list of things the new country needed to fulfil.” That list included friendly people, clean air, clean water, healthy living, and a government which supported all of that.

She was surprised to find only a handful of countries met her criteria. New Zealand was the standout and specifically Wellington.

“There were many things that drew me to Wellington — the city itself is beautiful, it has spectacular views of the water, there’s fresh air, the outdoors… the only thing you need to worry about is getting caught out in the rain,” she laughs. 

Being a tech guru, Bianca also loves the city because of its support of creatives.

“I saw the tech ecosystem here and compared to China or the UK it was so much more of a community.”

The support of businesses in their early stage of development was of particular interest to her. While initially working at Victoria University of Wellington in research commercialisation, she set up a business consultancy on the side. The tech community was supportive, and not just in a work sense. “When people ask, ‘how are you?’ they actually want to hear the answer.”

After a three-year stint at Victoria University and some time back in her home city of Berlin in Germany, Bianca landed a job with Wellington tech company Raygun. It fulfilled her long-term passion for product management. Raygun is an application monitoring company with major international clients. “As product lead at Raygun it’s my job to translate the company’s business strategy into product development, handle operational work, and make sure we’re reaching our goals.”

Though Bianca is heavily focused on her career, she enjoys the Wellington lifestyle outside of work. “I love the sea, but I am terrified of swimming in it. I like the live music, shows, and festivals on offer. I like the intimacy of smaller gigs here. The night scene in Wellington is great for that.”

Looking over the crowd inside the busy San Fran club while a band plays under the Pink lights.

San Fran, a live music venue in Wellington.

Bianca also enjoys the freedom her campervan gives her and regularly travels the country marvelling at the scenery, and the proximity of Wellington to beaches, snow, and forest.

Looking back, Bianca is grateful for the opportunities she’s been given in New Zealand and is glad she made the choice to come here. “I do miss my family, we keep in touch regularly and they are happy for me to be living here. Even my grandmother understands that Wellington is home now,” she says.

Originally, Bianca had planned to split her time 50/50 between Wellington and Berlin, but the global pandemic halted that idea. Now that she’s completely settled into the Kiwi lifestyle, she knows she made the right decision. “To be honest, if I had to pick between the two, it’s definitely Wellington.”