Over 250 years ago, Captain James Cook, when circumnavigating New Zealand, came across an area of the country that was abundant with natural resources, both on the land and in the sea beneath the Endeavour. As such, he described the region as ‘a bay of much plenty’ and the name stuck.
Today, the Bay of Plenty remains aptly named – it’s an area chock-full of career opportunities, lifestyle choices, Kiwi culture and everything in between. As such, it’s become a magnet for skilled migrants, each looking to add their name to this historic part of New Zealand. Let’s take a look at just why you should follow in Captain Cook’s footsteps and consider the Bay of Plenty when moving to New Zealand.
The Bay of Plenty in a nutshell
The Bay of Plenty is a bowl-shaped bite on the eastern side of New Zealand’s North Island, and that famous coastline stretches well over 250 kilometres – almost all of it soft, sandy beach. It’s one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing regions, due in part to the area’s wonderful natural beauty and beach-based lifestyle, but also the fantastic employment opportunities available.
Dairy farming and forestry are two of the biggest industries in the Bay of Plenty, but there are several other lines of work for the skilled migrant to explore. The Bay of Plenty offers the perfect mix of urban yet tranquil living, with big towns sitting alongside sprawling forests and endless countryside – and it’s this rare combination that’s attracting Kiwis and skilled migrants to the area in droves.
Working in the Bay of Plenty
Farming is big business in the Bay of Plenty, with fruit, meat and dairy all near the top of the employment charts. Additionally, perennial Kiwi favourites (the kiwifruit and avocado) are soaring in popularity around the world, so much so that they are now one New Zealand’s biggest exports.
Away from life on the farm, largest city Tauranga plays host to a wealth of finance, media, tech and construction jobs. The city is home to the Port Of Tauranga, among the largest in New Zealand, and where much of New Zealand import and export trade passes into and out of the country.
The vast swathes of woodland that cover much of the Bay of Plenty means that forestry remains a sizeable sector in the region – New Zealand Now stats that the Kaingaroa Forest is the biggest hand-planted one on the planet. Wood from Kaingaroa leaves New Zealand via the aforementioned Port of Tauranga.
Tourism is another big part of the Bay of Plenty’s economic makeup. Rotorua (the region’s other city) is built on a bed of geothermal steam vents, meaning that the area is a hot bed of mud pools, geysers and warm springs, as well as being a significant centre of Maori culture.
Living in the Bay of Plenty
We’ve already waxed lyrical about the Bay of Plenty’s booming beach culture, but there’s far more to the place than surf, sun and fun. Away from the water, there are hiking tracks galore that criss-cross mountains and caves, run alongside ancient lakes and meander through rustic farmland. The region is also home to several award-winning wineries, so you’ll have the pick of the country’s great wines on your doorstep after a day on the water or a particularly energetic tramp.
It’s not all about the outdoors, however. The Bay of Plenty’s main urban hubs (Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane) boast an array of fine restaurants, music venues, bars and the like, so there’s little chance you’ll ever grow bored or restless. It’s a well-worn phrase, but there really is something for everyone in the Bay of Plenty – perhaps another reason behind its name.
As a skilled migrant living in the Bay of Plenty, you’ll be in good company. Figures released by the government from the most recent census show that thousands of people from the UK, Ireland, Europe, Asia and the Middle East all call the Bay of Plenty home, which lends well to the cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures the area has become.
What to do in the Bay of Plenty
When you clock out for the day and head home for the weekend, what can you get up to in the Bay of Plenty? One thing’s for sure – the area is up there with the very best when it comes to grabbing a slice of Kiwiana.
How about swimming with dolphins? The area is home to 40,000 of the little guys call the Bay of Plenty home, meaning that there is ample opportunity to jump in and hang out for a while. Feeling a little tired after your stroll up Mount Maunganui? The hot pools at the base of the Mount have long soothed the souls of locals, but these ones are a little different to the others you’ll find dotted around NZ. They’re saltwater, as opposed to fresh, offering an interesting twist to your usual hot pool experience.
Have you ever heard of a blokart? No, us neither, but venture into Papamoa for a spin on this land-based surfboard with a sail and wheels – that’s as much as we’re saying on the matter! Kayaking on Lake McLaren is another big draw, especially at night – that’s because you can venture into a canyon teeming with a galaxy of glowworms, offering a surreal experience like no other.
Want a real taste of local produce? Mills Reef Winery, just a few minutes outside Tauranga, is home to a cavernous cellar with over 500 barrels of the stuff. You can sample the good stuff in their specialist tasting area, along with a plate of local cuisine. It’s all made onsite, so you know what you’re getting is authentic local fare – cheers!
The Bay of Plenty continues to grow and flourish at an exciting rate, and that’s expected to continue for years to come. Be sure to consider living and working in the Bay of Plenty when migrating to New Zealand – we’re sure you too will find it plentiful as Captain Cook once did!