Jenkins Freshpac Systems Ltd has joined a growing number of companies that have relocated staff to Tauranga and while their people were willing to move, finding them accommodation proved to be "a key challenge", they say.
Marketing manager Melissa Yates said the company expanded last year when it built a new facility at Tauriko and transferred 11 people from Auckland before closing part of its operations (fruit label manufacturing) in New Zealand's largest city.
One of its employees was unable to find accommodation for his family and only secured a home last Saturday after looking for four months, she said.
"The family had to return to Auckland for a period of time while he shifted around staying with other staff."
On the positive side, the business that provided print, packaging and handling systems to the fresh fruit and produce industry wanted to be closer to its kiwifruit customers, the port and other major markets in Hawke's Bay and Nelson.
"Our label is on virtually every apple and kiwifruit that leaves the country and 60 per cent of what we do in fruit labelling in kiwifruit is in the Bay of Plenty so it made sense to be based here."
It has had a presence in Mount Maunganui for 11 years and before the expansion it employed 12 staff but that had increased to 36.
Emily Tuiti worked at its Auckland plant for 10 years and said it was a hard decision leaving her extended family behind but her own family loved Tauranga. Her daughter, 16-year-old Malaesaili had already received awards for English and Te Reo from Tauranga Girls' College while 11-year-old Johnathan, who did not like school previously, was enjoying his time at Tauranga Intermediate, she said.
The shift and change of scenery had also been good for Mrs Tuiti's health and wellbeing.
"I love it. It's a different atmosphere. I have lost about 20kg because I am from Otara where there is a lot of Polynesian food and bakeries."
Husband Hila was a stay-at-home dad and that allowed her to focus on the job, which included a promotion to supervisor.
"It is a good thing not to stress out about them so I can do long hours here to get the work done.
"I supervise five people and that has been a challenge.
"But I have been in their shoes ... everyone gets on well with each other and that is the main thing, we have respect in this place."
Her home in Mangatapu had became a holiday destination for whanau, she said.
"They are all coming down here for holidays. I didn't think New Zealand had beautiful beaches like this until we moved.
"I thought it was only in the movies. It's really great."