Will Johnston: Single-handedly recruiting residents

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Mount Maunganui
Mount Maunganui

When mates or family come and stay with you, I bet you commonly hear: "oh, it's so beautiful here", or "you're SO lucky, I wish I could live here". It gives you a little sense of smugness that you maybe have made some good life choices, or had a little bit of luck to end up here. But then they leave. You forget all the stuff they said about how sweet it is here and life returns to 'normal'. I've discovered a new way to approach it to make you not take where we live for granted and also to boost your local friend base.

Try to persuade them to move here permanently!

We spent last weekend with mates from Wellington and some down from Waipu (just south of Whangarei). From the get-go we were Tourism BOP! Cheers, by the way, to the weather. It played ball big time. That makes the job a little easier. When we are still pushing 26 degrees in late March the Wellingtonians are easy money! They were running up the Mount (yup, they're a little insane) and then swimming at Main Beach. Their delirium was so strong that the fact that it was a bit rough and they were getting thrown around in the surf made it even better in their minds.

Glad I didn't take them across the road to the swimming pool (Pilot Bay).

Show a Wellington-native some sunshine, a decent beach, no wind (comparatively),a survivable airport and a distinct lack of 'carnies' and they are sold. So that's them done. They're looking for jobs here as I write and if the stats are to be believed they will walking in. She's in the health field and he's in to renovation. Don't let me down stats.

We've made heaps of awesome new friends over the two years we've been here, but why not share it with our friends from other parts who are clearly missing out? Like those from Waipu. Waipu Cove is a sweet little place. It has a dairy, a campground and some sweet surf. That's it though. We've got all those things. This should be easy. They do have us on climate though-if you like it hot, that's the place to be. But there's no point in getting a nice tanned body and walking round with your shirt off if there's no one to show it to right?! Shallow? Me?! I like to call it realism.

This summer haven we live in is perfect for the well-chiselled surfer and the fitness-inclined. But we offer way more places to do those activities than Waipu...so we shoved it down their throats. Big surf over the weekend at the Mount, State Ocean Swim Series at Pilot Bay on Saturday, Papamoa Hills walk on Sunday and a couple of nice cafes for lunch. Then we take it to the level Tourism BOP can't, we introduce them to our friends. Let them woo you with their stories of being close to a mountain in winter for snowboarding, paying jack-all in rent while living close to a beach in summer and job opportunities that tiny towns don't offer (especially if starting your own business).

Hell, we got them so invested that on their way home they stopped in Katikati and bought a Flemish giant rabbit! The best part is, we actually didn't have to do any of it. This place speaks for itself and so do its people. We're just those annoying hard-out over achievers!

(Will Johnston is the host of Will and Bridget in the Morning-Classic Hits 95FM Breakfast Show in the Bay of Plenty. Listen every weekday from 6-9am.)

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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