Snow-boarding, amateur dramatics and therapeutic optometry make an eclectic mix but they are all things that attracted a young Auckland professional to work and live in Whanganui.

John Boyle, 22, graduated with an honours degree in therapeutic optometry in Auckland last year and has now joined the team at Wanganui Eyecare.

He will work in both the company's city stores as well as its Hawera outlet.

"Professionally, the job here was a major attraction. They're a really good team. It's a good practice, offering plenty of variety, and I'm learning from people who have been in the profession for a long time," Mr Boyle said.


But he said at a personal level he'd had enough of the pace of Auckland living. He has lived there all his life, was "sick of the traffic" and wanted something new. "It's a lot more relaxed down here, that's for sure."

What also interested him was the after-work lifestyle Whanganui offered. "I'm really keen on amateur theatre and snowboarding and, once I get myself settled in a flat, I'll get involved," he said.

This is his first job and as part of the new degree every graduate is therapeutically endorsed, which means they can use drugs to treat eye diseases.

"A few years ago it wasn't like that. You had to do extra study to get that sort of endorsement. Now it's part of a five-year degree course," Mr Boyle said.

He had looked at other regional centres - one of them was New Plymouth - but came to Whanganui because it's closer to Wellington and the mountains. He said he would be here for a couple of years at least.

"I know I'll get a good base here and have good people around me. Once I find my feet, I could be moving, although maybe not. But I love it, so it's not set in stone that I'll definitely be leaving. I'm enjoying it so far."

Mr Boyle said he was keen to catch up with other newcomers to Whanganui. "I'd heard there was a group that had started up of newcomers, including some professionals, so I'd love to have a chat to them once I'm settled in."