Whanganui's house prices and pace of life caught the interest of people attending an Auckland home show - and having our mayor show up didn't hurt either.
For the second year, economic development agency Whanganui & Partners had a stand at the Better Home and Living Show at the North Shore Events Centre last week.
On both occasions it has been the only stand providing information about a region as a place to live or visit, Whanganui & Partners digital and online lead Paul Kjoss told the Chronicle.
"It's not the normal sort of show we do but we went last year and people were really interested in the regions," Kjoss said.
"We're there with people selling things like heat pumps and brooms. It was a really rewarding and worthwhile show for us."
Mayor Hamish McDouall joined Kjoss and visitor centre consultant Saskia Bloot on the stand, which Kjoss said was a crowd pleaser.
"He really is an enthusiastic proponent for Whanganui and people love to see a mayor there.
"At first people didn't believe he was really the mayor. We had to show them his photo in the Celebrating Whanganui publication before they believed us.
"He engaged with everyone and people were having their photos taken with him."
More than 8000 people attended the show, with the Whanganui team engaging with nearly 1000.
"By engaging, we mean actually talking to people about Whanganui, not just handing them a brochure," Kjoss said.
"The main things they asked about were house prices - most people don't believe the house prices are as affordable as they are, so it was good to have Whanganui Chronicle Property Guides to show them.
"Lots of people were taking them to show friends or family members thinking of moving to the regions.
"Then they asked about employment opportunities - people seemed quite serious about making the move. Just about everyone you talk to in Auckland has a desire to leave the rat race.
"People also asked about the weather and schools and education. My sense is that people are seriously looking to move to the regions."
There was also good interest in Whanganui as a visitor destination, Kjoss said.
"There was high awareness of Whanganui as a place, and we talked about Whanganui's proximity and ease to get to other places - and about how much people can pack into a day because there's not the traffic there is in Auckland."
The stand and staff cost $4000.