I was born in Hastings, grew up in Ashburton and Tīmaru and travelled a lot in my 20s before coming back to New Zealand with my husband, Hugo. We settled in Wellington to soak up the ‘coolest little capital’ vibes. After four years in Wellington, with two little ones under two and Hugo starting his own business, we came down to Rangiora in 2012 to be closer to friends and whānau.

I was a bit hesitant moving from Wellington to a small town so similar to where I had grown up, but our mates kept telling us North Canterbury was a great place to live, so close to the beaches, rivers and mountains. They were so right.

Crisanna and her whānau at Waikuku Beach.
We now have three boys – Blain, Aki and Reef – and we are lucky enough to call Waikuku Beach our home. We have a bit of land for our sheep, chickens, and ducks, and we have awesome friends and neighbours, so cocktails and a braai on the deck with a swim in the pool are our favourite things to do

I am a Deputy Principal at Te Kura o Tuahiwi and Hugo has his own plumbing, drainage and gas-fitting business. I love my mahi! Te Kura o Tuahiwi is an awesome Māori Medium kura in Tuahiwi Pā – across the road from Tuahiwi Marae. Before we moved here, I had been specialist teaching te reo Māori in Wellington and this was transferred easily to the schools here in North Canterbury. There are so many amazing schools and dedicated kaiako out here. We’re very lucky. I drive 10 minutes to kura, so my travel costs and time are minimal; as are my husband’s as he works only across North Canterbury.

When moving from Wellington and scouting for somewhere to live we looked in Ōtautahi, but we were so impressed with how much more land you get for your buck out here in North Canterbury, and how close everything is. I mean where else can you live a ten-minute walk from one of the best beaches and come home to an acre of land with sheep, ducks and chickens grazing? One of the things I love the most about North Canterbury is the proximity to te taiao – the environment: sunrise walks and surfs for the boys on the beach, fishing in the awa and lakes close by, and views of Maukatere (Mt Grey).

As a whānau we have played touch, league, indoor netball and rugby here in North Canterbury. We also have an awesome boxing club in Waikuku which the boys joined and I was blown away by the level of commitment the coaches have there. We are so fortunate to have amazing people putting their hands up to tautoko our tamariki in their sporting journeys. We feel very blessed to live in such a cool, caring community. I joined Thistlefit Gym when it first opened and think it is the best gym I have ever been to. The community that owners Nicola and Ross have created is so supportive and down to earth. I love going to their 5am class so I can then catch the sunrise on the beach before I get home.

I also love shopping and catching up with mates over coffee or cocktails and we are seriously spoiled for choice here in North Canterbury with boutique and chain shops, department stores and some of the best cafes in Canterbury. I think all of these are made more special as you get to know the people working in these places and they you – a bit like Cheers on TV, where everybody knows your name!