Tim Hunt is the Nelson-based owner of illustration and storyboarding business Diddley Squatt, which primarily provides its services to advertising agencies in New Zealand as well as some overseas.
When and why did you leave Auckland?
We left Auckland just over two years ago, the main reason being financial. We owned a bad house but in a good area. With a young family and myself working from home the house was just too small, and our mortgage was too large to be able to do what we wanted to the house. We had to sell. Our options were to either buy a bigger house in a not-so-nice neighbourhood, or to move out of the city. We chose the latter.
Why did you decide to move to Nelson in particular?
We wanted to be in a city and have good schools close by. Workwise, as long as I have cellphone coverage and a broadband connection then I can work from anywhere. Our shortlist came down to Napier and Nelson, with Nelson as the gateway to the South Island winning out. We figured that visiting family in Auckland we'd be flying from either of those destinations anyway, so that didn't really factor in our decision making.
What have been some of the benefits or opportunities that you've been able to explore by relocating your business from Auckland to Nelson?
The biggest benefit by far from our move has been the massive reduction in stress. We've managed to relocate our family into a house that is twice the size of our home in Auckland, with half the mortgage. The flow-on effect of that into my work has been huge. The burden of having to meet our personal financial targets has been massively relaxed so I can spend more time with my family and enjoying everything Nelson has to offer.
With this new, low-stress lifestyle I also think the quality of my work has noticeably improved. That's not to say I don't still get frazzled by everything that comes from being self-employed, but a look out my home office window to the view overlooking Tasman Bay seems to be a quick cure.
On the other hand, what have been some of the challenges - particularly those related to your new location?
I'm blessed with my business in that I can work anywhere as long as there is cellphone coverage and a good internet connection. The only challenge I've had business-wise was some initial poor cellphone coverage despite living in the middle of the city. That's been rectified now thankfully. Mind you, the cellphone coverage we had in our Auckland suburb was pretty bad too.
And occasionally it gets distracting when your neighbour starts his boat motor. You have to be pretty disciplined working for yourself.
What advice would you have for someone else considering a similar move?
Just do it. Auckland is only 75 minutes away by plane if you need to visit; some Aucklanders commute that twice a day.