Former Aucklanders Darryll and Fiona Hart say coming to Rotorua was the best move they have made and they have no plans on moving back to the big city.

It comes as Auckland's newly-elected mayor says he has no problems with Rotorua trying to lure his residents away and is "happy to share".

The Harts are the sort of people the Rotorua Lakes Council's new "Love, Life. Live Rotorua" campaign wants to attract to the city.

The campaign was launched this week by the council's marketing arm Destination Rotorua with a $200,000 budget over the coming year to lure Aucklanders to come and live and work in the region.


The Harts' love for the district came after a summer holiday in 2012 at a lakeside timeshare at Okawa Bay.

"We found the people to be so friendly and Rotorua was such a neat spot that we decided to move here. It was just as the house prices were starting to go crazy in Auckland."

A self confessed "boat nut", Mr Hart runs his marine products distribution business, Marine Express, from a barn on his two-acre property in Ngongotaha where his wife also keeps alpacas.

They made enough money after selling their Auckland property to move to Rotorua in July 2013 and buy their property freehold with a little bit left over.

"I like the fact we can be in town in 15 minutes, always find a carpark, and everything is so easy and handy to get around."

He said the only thing that kept him in Auckland was the Hauraki Gulf, "but even that's getting congested now".

"Ultimately we left because of the congestion on the roads and all of the road works. They don't have the infrastructure there and all they keep doing is moving it from one place to another."

He said since they had lived in Rotorua they had seen their Auckland-based family and friend far more often than they used to.

"Not only that, Rotorua is so central the access to everywhere else is great.

"We can jump on a plane if we want to go to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch and we are always out on Rotoiti fishing for trout, or over on Tarawera with my mates from Auckland going fishing.

"But, deep down, the last thing we want Steve [Chadwick] to do is ask more Jafas to come down here. We have this wonderful place, but make sure you have a return ticket," he joked.

Mr Hart said he thought the council's campaign was a good idea "as long as they keep up with the infrastructure, we'll be all good".

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said he felt the campaign would have an impact.

"In the first instance it is an awareness campaign that says to an audience, that already plays in Rotorua, to look at it differently. 'Look at us as part of a region that has job opportunities in tourism, forestry, agriculture, horticulture and more'.

"Alongside this is a quality of life supported by good schools and strong communities, and house affordability."

Mr Barnett said most people only looked at Rotorua as a tourist spot and recreation stopover, so helping people see it through different eyes was a good first step.

"Rotorua will also have to sell its intentions for new industries and investment.

"For those who are risk averse they will want to see the job they will move to and the prospect of another in case something goes wrong, so choice will be important," he said.

Newly elected Auckland mayor Phil Goff said he had no problem with the campaign and thought it was a good initiative.

He said the regions needed a boost and this was one way to attract people to move south.

"We've got lots of people up here so we are happy to share if they are looking for a different lifestyle.

"We will grow by another million people in the next 30 years and we should be able to promote regional development ... we are not a city state and see ourselves as part of New Zealand."

Mr Goff said Auckland's growth was putting a lot of pressure on the city's infrastructure.

"We grew last year by 45,000 people and that has put real pressure on our housing and roads, so if people can make the transition and live outside of the city, then that's great," he said.

Another former Aucklander spoken to by the Rotorua Daily Post, 31-year-old Dave Lewy, said he and his fiancee moved to Rotorua at the start of August.

"We have friends here in Hamurana and came down for Christmas last year and saw how awesome it was.

"We went through town and thought everything was here, but it still had a small town feel."

He said they were forced out of Auckland due to the high house prices.

"We are loving it down here, the people feel so much more Kiwi I guess and Auckland is quite dog eat dog."