I did initially wonder about my decision to move from Auckland to Raglan - where Bob next door is cousins with Jill at the craft shop, and the dog rescue people know each escaped animal by name. (I know this for a fact - my partner brought home a stray dog on our second night here. The rescue lady showed up, took one look and said, "Okay Harri, we're going home".)
Going from the busy Auckland networking scene, helping run start-ups and being based in a sustainable business hub to idyllic seaside life, it seemed things might be a little too quiet.
But I've quickly realised there are plenty of innovative, interesting people in the Waikato doing things that are worth talking about. Raglan seems to have sustainability sussed.
We get our fruit and veges from Jon (who coincidentally lives on John St), have the most advanced recycling system I've seen out of the five New Zealand regions I've lived in (plastics, glass, cardboard and tins each have their own tub!), and any local will tell you that if you need something to check out the dump before purchasing at a store. Chances are you'll find whatever you want, from golf clubs to books, cutlery to beanbags, for just a few bucks.
And Hamilton seems to be producing some very motivated young entrepreneurs. Take Rab Heath, a Waikato lad. He not only studies, trains with the army on weekends, but also produces a staggering amount of moustache wax (yes, moustache wax) from his home for customers around New Zealand. Rab started up 'Moustachio Co' (www.moustachioco.com) last year when he spotted a gap in the market for moustache-sporting Kiwi males who wanted to style their mo.
Apparently he can produce up to 200 pots of his special wax concoctions in an hour; and it's a good thing he's fast, because production is looking set to scale up pretty quick with a Movember partnership in the works.
It's my mission to hunt out more of these local entrepreneurial stories. I also plan to keep you in the loop with what's going on in the start-up scene New Zealand-wide, how sustainability is impacting the way we do business, and give some tips on how selling fits into all of this.
It seems like that the Waikato's definitely got a thing or two on Auckland so far. If you're someone in the know with start-ups and sustainability, I'd love to have a chat and hear about what you're up to. Any comments or ideas email firstname.lastname@example.org.