Town Mouse Country Mouse

Our journey from the city to a town called Masterton in Wairarapa region of New Zealand

Wairarapa countryside

About 10 months ago, mid September, we packed up our house to up and leave the big smoke, to move to the beautiful Wairarapa to a town called Masterton. I think most of our friends in Auckland imagined we were leaving to pitch our tent in a one-horse town, as we ourselves hadn’t even seen Masterton until last June (only 3 months before we came). We had the wonderful opportunity to come and work in Masterton, earn a good income, halve the price of putting a roof over our heads, and also enjoy 10x the amount of land we lived on. So with 3 busy boys in mind, the lure of ‘more space’ was actually the biggest draw card.

We were very blessed with a quick and easy, pretty much painless move, and have been settling well into life in Masterton on 5 acres, but very close to town.

Part of my reason to write a bit more about this amazing move, is because I’ve been enjoying the change in focus in our lifestyle. The weather here is amazing, so after a “not very well thought out” decision, and a quick stop at Mitre10, I bought a cherry tomato plant, 3 ‘fancy’ lettuce plants and a 6 punnet of chilli seedlings (our son’s choice…”To make peri-peri with dad”). Well, a few weeks later, the tomato plant has gone from the the size of an average Auckland Starbucks Grande Latte, to the size of a local Wairarapa sheep! Several months later, after picking a few cherry tomatoes here and there for salads (with our equally thriving lettuce plants), we harvested easily a 1000 cherry tomatoes. I suddenly realised why ‘pickling’, ‘canning’ and chutneys and jams, are consistent terms in CountyLife and other equally relaxing named magazines. I was suddenly thrilled to have saved all our Pic’s peanut butter jars as we bottled about 10 jars each of tomato sauce, chilli chutney, tomato chutney, and even then, I think we still had some green tomato chutney to make which might have not happened… (guilt moment).

Anyway, after seeing how well the gardens grow (Yes, Mary Mary Quite Contrary may have possibly lived in the Wairarapa, most probably next door to Mary who had a little lamb), we’ve invested in some more fruit trees (black dorris plum, billington plum, figs and mandarins) to add to the apple and quince trees that are thriving. I have no real knowledge of gardening, so have haphazardly been collecting information to know how to supply more food from our block of land and be able to save money at the supermarket. I’ve learnt though, that there is the “fancy” (read pricey) way to garden which can get very expensive very quickly (making it less frugal and more about ‘knowing where it was grown’) or you can collect information and then work around it in the garden. If I get organised, I can grow seedlings from seeds on the window sill, make a worm farm for $20 instead of $200 for a ‘named’ one, and compost pretty easily without a fancy bin.


On top of all this ‘green’ fingers stuff, is my new found interest in building up a better financial future for our family with small little steps that make big differences in the future. It started with me reading Scott Pape’s, The Barefoot Investor book which opened my eyes to how I can more carefully plan our life and our future and get the bank off our bank in the nearer future. I also read Unshakable by Tony Robbins which for me, got me considering the fees I am paying my Kiwisaver provider (horrendous!!), has been a great tool during this journey.  I feel empowered that we’re now heading in a much better direction at a much better pace. I’m so excited to share more about that journey too, as I feel we can all retire a little better off if we just set a few things in place.

Our family on our lifestyle block (Photo courtesy of Ashley Syms Photography)

Our move away from the big city (which we still love and gave us such a great start to our ‘grown-up’ life) has opened our eyes to the fact that there is not only ‘life’ beyond the bright lights, but it is thriving! People seem to have so much more time which seems to spill over into other areas of their lives in such a positive way. We’re grateful for all the people who have helped make this move so wonderful, who have been generous with not only their precious time, but also their food, supplies, machines, and overall with their support. My advice to anyone who is considering such a momentous move to a smaller regional area of NZ, is to take in all that the area has to offer, research, meditate, visit and know that smaller towns of NZ really are wonderful, and you may find like us, that it was the best decision you could have made.

With love,


Jo and the boys (and our dog, 10 chickens, 2 borrowed sheep and our newest arrival, our jersey calf MissyMoo)

Missy Moo and I getting acquainted. She will grow up to hopefully be our house cow and raise a few beefy’s too.