10 reasons to base your tech company in Tauranga

We’re unashamedly biased when it comes to promoting the positive aspects of living and working in Tauranga.  I grew up here, loved it, moved away for 15 years (as you do when you go off to uni and then head overseas) and have come back to raise my family and run a business.  Here’s 10 reasons why we love it and think you will too:

1. Great weather.  Lots of places can claim this, and we can too.  At the time of writing Tauranga hadn’t had a frost for 4 years, our winters are relatively mild, summers are hot (but not too hot) and all year round you can make plans to go places and do stuff.

2. Lots of outdoor activities.  We have one of the best beaches in the world, and it’s easy to get to.  We have great access to fishing, walking, hiking/tramping, cycling, mountain biking, paddleboarding, kitesurfing, kayaking, hanggliding, paragliding and sports of every kind.

3. Fabulous fresh kai (food).  The Bay of Plenty is renowned for its horticulture.  We grow everything from kiwifruit and feijoas to avocados and grapes.  Put that alongside the freshest fish, seafood, beef and lamb and you start to appreciate the quality and variety of our diet here.  That includes what we grow and eat at home as well as from the fine range of restaurants and cafes locally.

4. Ambition.  Again, you could say this about many different places, but here in Tauranga we’re living it.  From local government initiatives including that of Priority One, our economic development agency, to those of private organisations such as Wharf42, we have people passionate about business in the region.  And that passion and ambition extends beyond the business community to our environment and social causes.  This is no more ably demonstrated than by the public response to the grounding of the Rena in 2011 and the catastrophic oil and cargo spills that ensued.

5. Community.  I’m part of it, and I feel a part of it.  There are many clubs, community organisations and groups here that you can get involved in.  Everyone is welcoming and there’s bound to be something to suit your own interests, and those of your family.  This includes Lions, the Chamber of Commerce, tech meetups, quiz nights, groups centred about the kids such as Plunket and Kindergarten, sports clubs, arts groups, wine clubs, Tai Chi, yoga, dance and more.

6. Infrastructure.  Physically Tauranga is very accessible, traffic always flows well, apart from a couple of pinch points at peak times, and you’re generally never more than 20 minutes from the beach, or downtown.  Ultra fast broadband is being rolled out, so tech businesses that rely on bandwith can operate from here as well as anywhere else in the world.  Geographically we’re located next to a major port, only 2.5 hours drive from Auckland, 1.5 hours from Hamilton, 45 mins from Rotorua and there are regular daily direct flights to New Zealand’s major cities, and from there on to the world.

7. Lifestyle living.  In Tauranga you can live on a rural lifestyle property and still be just 15 minutes from downtown restaurants and the movie theatre and 10 minutes from a major supermarket.  Your property could have native bush (forest), it’s own stream or water source, orchard and/or livestock, not to mention a fabulous view of the harbour.  There is a growing enthusiasm for self sufficiency, in particular with food, water and energy, and these semi-rural properties are perfect for realising this dream.

8. You’re not alone. The tech community in Tauranga is vibrant and growing.  Made up of a few larger firms and many smaller ones, the sector is big enough now to sustain itself, provide intellectual stimulation, qualified and experience staff and technical know how.  Even if the right staff aren’t available here, there aren’t many people who would turn down the chance to live and work here.

9. Access to capital.  Tauranga’s economic development agency, Priority One, is proactive in helping businesses to relocate and be successful here.  New Zealand in general has strong support for businesses looking to grow, particularly those focused on export markets.  Wharf42, an organisation dedicated to connecting Kiwi tech firms to Silicon Valley, is based in Tauranga.  Their incubator model is modeled on that of Boulder, Colorado, one of the USA’s most successful tech city stories.   And  the Tauranga-based Enterprise Angels network has invested millions of dollars in start up firms based both in Tauranga and across the country.

10. Quality staff.  At the time of writing job postings in Tauranga had risen 21% year on year, and salaries were rising strongly.  The Bay of Plenty was also the second most desirable place in New Zealand that Kiwis wanted to work, after Wellington.  We have a number of IT training institutions and a Waikato University campus in the central city.  It is hoped that a fully fledged university will open here in the near future.