A year ago, Emma Helleur took a leap of faith and moved from her home in Nelson to Taranaki to start a new job as day announcer for The Hits Taranaki, a decision she says she doesn't regret at all.

"It was definitely a huge move for me. I had only been to New Plymouth once. I was driving North to start a job in Whangarei and my brother was here with his band, so we joined up for dinner. I still have no idea where we ate!"

While Emma was sure it would be a great opportunity, she still had some nerves before arriving in Taranaki.

"I was standing in line to board a flight to Perth when I was offered the job. I had an eight-hour flight just thinking about this huge decision I had just made. But I was excited, it was a new position in Taranaki, I wasn't replacing anyone so I had the chance to really shape the role".


Now, a year into the role, Emma says she is glad she took the leap, despite meaning she is far away from her family.

"I left my fur baby, my cat, in Nelson with mum and dad and one of my brothers. My other two brothers and their families are in Perth and the Gold Coast. I'm so glad we have Facetime so I can still see my niece and nephew grow up"

While she may miss her family, Emma says Taranaki people have been really friendly and she has felt very welcome in the community from day one.

"Our listeners are great, and I love the conversations we have on air as well as through our Facebook and Instagram pages."

There can be no doubt Emma always thinks of her audience as half way through the interview, she dashes out of the studio and into the cold New Plymouth weather, having seen it start to hail.

"I try to get things on Facebook and on air as quickly as I can. It's a great way to start a conversation with our listeners around Taranaki."

It's being present which makes a difference, says Emma.

"Having a day show means we are often live on air when news breaks, such as the wild weather we have had recently, or the water crisis in New Plymouth.

"The amazing thing is that they keep me updated just as much! With the water crisis I had listeners calling me telling me schools had closed and supermarkets had ran out of bottled water."

Emma says while she doesn't claim to know all of Taranaki's secrets yet, she does know some of them.

"When I have family or friends visit, I show them things like Pukekura Park, where there are so many hidden corners or places, like the tea rooms, or being able to take a row boat out on the lake."

When she is in Stratford, Emma says she always loves to see the glockenspiel in action.

"I am always taken aback by how busy Stratford is — it seems like a mini city in some ways. The shops are doing well, the cafes always have people in them, and then you see plenty of tourists watching the glockenspiel do its thing. Stratford's a great place to come and people watch."

Just as Emma has fallen in love with the Taranaki region, it seems the region has also taken to her, with Emma's show on The Hits Taranaki enjoying excellent results in the recent radio survey.

"I'm really happy to now call Taranaki home and I'm looking forward to continuing to grow the show and meeting even more people around Taranaki in 2018."

You can hear Emma weekdays on The Hits Taranaki, 90FM between 9am and 3pm.

She is away on leave for the next two weeks, but will be back on air from Monday, June 11.

Tune in and remember to like The Hits Taranaki on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest competitions and news.

Emma now has a regular column in the Stratford Press — see her first one next week.

The Hits Taranaki is part of NZME, which the Stratford Press is also part of.