Hi everyone!
I will try this message in this thread and see if I get any responses here.

I'm hoping to meet some friends and gain some insight on the Whakatane area.
Quick backround, we (my husband, daughter (20 years old) and I just) got our residency approved this month. We used to live in Auckland in the early nineties. But we are not interested in living in Auckland this time. Since we have been living on our farm in Virginia, we have grown accustomed to rural life. Having said that we aren't interested in living where there are no amenities. By that, I mean easy access to shopping, occasional dining out, meeting new friends, and cultural events. Originally when we started the application process we were shooting for the far north. But it didn't seem to be the right fit, although it's beautiful there. So I think we've decided on Whakatane. It's fairly close to Tarunga, which I know offers more in the way of amenities. Yet it has a small town feel...I would love to meet people who are interested in music (we're all musicians), art, farming, animals and theatre (we all have theatre backgrounds).
Anyone, either exPat or Kiwi, please give me any information you might have about the area. I'd like to know if anyone has moved there and is happy, or not...I really appreciate your time and help with this! Please let me know if anyone would like to meet up when we get there.
Thanks very much for reading this!