Greg Nelson and Peter White knew they weren't going to be able to afford to buy a house in Auckland, so when a job opportunity arose in Dannevirke, in just two weeks they were packed and here.

Months later they'd purchased their home for just $92,500 and found living cheaper in Dannevirke, including groceries.

"I was hoping it (Dannevirke) would be good, but it's so much better than I'd hoped," Peter said. "We knew trying to buy a house in Auckland was going to be impossible, even though I was a deputy principal with a decent salary. With just 18 years until I retired, I couldn't see how we could do anything but die quietly in a council flat up there."

Then early this year Peter saw a job advertised at Dannevirke South School.


"Getting a permanent teaching job anywhere is difficult, and on the Thursday I put my application in I heard back from Stephen Snell, the South School principal."

Peter immediately drove to Dannevirke for a job interview . A phone call confirmed he had the job.

"We had two weeks to pack and move," Greg said.

Dannevirke Property Brokers found the couple a house to rent, for $185 a week, far cheaper than the $385 a week they were paying in Tuakau for a small, semi-detached property.

"Our plan was to rent for a couple of years," Greg said.

The pair immediately fell in love with Dannevirke and just six days after arriving they set up Greg's stall at the Dannevirke Carnival Market, selling his hand-knitted Rainbow Infusion Thermal Insulator tea cosies and business continues to flourish.

"We loved the place and school was a happy fit, so we were enjoying life here," Peter said.

While walking down Dannevirke's High St, looking in real estate windows, Greg was told of a house for sale by Property Broker's Nigel Jackson. After just one walk through, they made an offer and the house was theirs.

"We didn't see it again until we moved in. But over the years we'd talked about the type of house we wanted and when we suddenly found this we were very, very pleased. It had ceiling and underfloor insulation, a heat pump and log fire and it was on a quarter acre section," Peter said.

Built in 1947, with a kitchen and bathroom from the same era, renovations are on the list.

"We'll rip them out and do them our way," Greg said.

With the help of two legacies for their deposit, Greg and Peter are now set for a secure retirement in a town they really like. They've joined the Dannevirke Spinners and Weavers Club, enjoying being part of a great community.

"After six months here we feel at home, but even after nine years we didn't feel like that in Tuakau. Our house will be paid off in 15 years and the price - $92,500 - was about what we would have needed for a deposit for a modest house in Auckland," Peter said.

And living in Dannevirke has huge advantages.

"People are a lot more real here, moving has worked well for us. Yes, my salary has dropped, but this move was about our retirement and although we've both got KiwiSaver, having a home which isn't a rental is best when you retire," Peter said. "We've now got a great asset we can pay off and we live in a nice quiet neighbourhood in a town with real people, something we like."