The story begins

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening wherever you are in the world and welcome to the first of our journal posts. We decided that keeping a regular journal of our week to week going ons, inspirations and opinions would be a sweet way of sharing with you more about who we are and what we have been working on. What better way to kick off this series than with a quick tale of how we got to Tairua and why we chose to make a go of the Coromandel lifestyle.


Today in Tairua it’s a crisp sunny autumn morning, I’m in the office thinking about how much life for us has changed over the last 5 months and it is crazy. Last year at this time we were living in Prague in the Czech Republic. A beautiful medieval city, from a fairy tale, flowing with beer but still bearing the scars of its previous Communist era regime. It was my 5th year living in the country, 4th year with Petra and 2nd year with our dog Awhi. None of us had any idea about the extent of the year to come.

At the time we had already started making plans towards getting back home to New Zealand. Petra, a keen surfer who has spent a lot of her life on beaches all over the world, was getting ‘landsick’ land locked as we were. While I, although very much enjoying our Bohemian existence, was dreaming of the next step in terms of work and life without a boss, being independent and setting out in our own direction.

When covid hit we found our routines had to change completely and we joined the millions of other people all over the world now working from home. All 60 square meters of it on the 4th floor of a 100 year old apartment building settled neatly between not one, but two separate construction sites.

Working from home was interesting. Besides the half-empty feeling of connectedness with our clients and co-workers, conversing through laptops, webcams and headphones, we actually found ourselves quite productive at home. Settling into a rhythm of our own work, our shared translation/copywriting work on top with breaks to take the dog out to stretch our legs and escape the confines of our apartment. We found that we were actually quite good at it, further planting the seed in our brains that there was potential looking further into life this way.

Our goal for the New Zealand move from the beginning was always Tairua on the Coromandel peninsula. A place that my family have been coming to in the summers since before I was born I have a great connection to its easy going small town vibe nestled in between the ranges on the west and Pacific coastline on the east. I had never spent a winter here before, but I knew a few locals and I liked their attitude toward life.

When I found myself in Prague thinking about home, New Zealand – it wasn’t the congested motorways, expensive bars and stuffy dress code of the inner city that caught my imagination and made my memory spin. It was the ocean, always changing and ever powerful. It was bare feet and pohutukawa flowers in the summertime, gumboots and wool fleeces in the winter. A nostalgic view of a lifestyle that seems extinct in a place of 1million people plus, but one I knew would still be alive in the sleepy coastline towns of the Coromandel. 

This nostalgic lifestyle we decided would be best achieved through a 21st century means. I mean good internet, a degree of flexibility and a bit of good old hustle. We decided that working from a home on the Coromandel could be an option and that by pulling our skills and experiences together we would be able to create a business that could find its place amongst this community. Allow us to work creatively and freely while still finding time to walk the dog on the beach and go for a surf when the waves turn on.

We turned our spare downstairs room into our creative space using all second hand gems of furniture, bought Awhi her very own office throne and got to work. We have been getting the ball rolling and building up steam with a few New Zealand clients that we are excited to present to you in the future, but for now, looking at the year that led us here, we are both just so stoked to be calling Tairua home and SOAK studio open for business.

(words by Garth, photos by both Garth & Petra)
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