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Wellington is a city not defined by limits and constraints, but by businesses and individuals challenging the norm and bringing innovations to life.
Special effects supremo Gino Acevedo came to Wellington from Phoenix Arizona almost 15 years ago to work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and now calls the city home.
“I love the people, the culture and everything about Wellington. I wish the rest of the world could be more like Wellington.”
See how Gino made the move to the coolest little capital.
“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".
Gino’s since worked on major blockbusters in Wellington such as King Kong, Avatar, Tintin, Planet of the Apes and The Hobbit trilogy.
“What makes Wellington a great place to live is the scenery and just how green it is.
I’ll never forget the first time I flew into Wellington from Los Angeles, just how beautiful and clean it was."
"It's got amazing cuisine. You know there's more cafes per capita than anywhere in the world."
That's right, Wellingtonians and visitors are spoiled for choice, with Wellington said to have more restaurants and cafes per capita than New York.
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 to make time for his rock climbing passion.
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.”
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.
"I've had the opportunity to work with some really smart people, and work on some really interesting projects.
The work culture is different in New Zealand. The Kiwis are concious of the fact they come from a small nation and it's built into their psyche to try and punch above their weight and over achieve, and it permeates at every level of the office environment."
Louise made the move from Liverpool to make Wellington her new home. Here Louise talks about how she's found moving to Wellington.
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
"You walk one way and you've got great restaurants and you know you can go out with your friends and have some really good food and wine.
You walk the other way and you can walk up a mountain and can be in the countryside".
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.”