Tech and lifestyle underpin move
Posted on Wednesday 4 December 2019
Russell Manning relocated from Auckland to Nelson Tasman in 2018 and soon after found himself joining New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation, the Cawthron Institute, as its Technology and Innovation Manager. Russell says that he’s been wanting to move to Nelson Tasman for about fifteen years and after the birth of their second child he and his family took the opportunity to relocate to the region.
What do you do for work here in Nelson Tasman?
I’ve been in the technology space for a long time and I’ve recently completed a Masters in Technological Futures which studies the exponential rise of technology, so things like blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and IoT. There are two parts to my role at Cawthron; one is a fairly standard IT management role, and I’m also looking at how to explore some of the new technologies available and how we should be adopting them to enable and support the delivery of world-class science.
How do you find the region as a place to work and a base to do business?
There was a fear of moving to a smaller place and becoming disconnected and a bit remote. What I have discovered is that is far from the reality. Nelson has the fifth busiest airport, the largest fishing port in Australasia, and a multitude of companies with customers across the world. Digital technology has enabled companies to move their global HQs to Nelson so they can run their businesses from where they want to live, rather than from where their customers are. Doing business in a smaller region means you can be more nimble and responsive to what’s going on around you, and there is a real willingness to work with other organisations and a belief that we’re better together.
Cawthron Aquaculture Park
What drew you to live in Nelson Tasman?
Hands down, the climate and lifestyle. I love getting outside and doing things. After 20 years in Auckland we were very much ready for a change, and having family and friends in the region made it even more attractive. We had already spent many weekends and holidays in the Tasman region and decided that this was the place to raise our kids.
What has surprised you since you moved to the Nelson Tasman area?
The calibre of people who have moved back here after gaining great experience and skills elsewhere in New Zealand and overseas. The wealth of talent that’s coming back to Nelson is really great. The region is really coming of age. To be honest I knew very little about Cawthron before I came to Nelson and I am constantly in awe of some of the research initiatives our people are leading, not just in NZ, but globally. When you dig deeper it is truly extraordinary what is going on in Nelson Tasman.
What do you value about living and working in the Nelson Tasman region?
The opportunities that present themselves here, as well as a far more balanced and exciting lifestyle. The great weather that enables you to experience outdoor activities that are much more readily available than in the bigger centres. And the people – we were close to being severely impacted by the recent fires and had to evacuate our home twice. The offers of accommodation and help from people we hardly knew was overwhelming.
To discover more about living and working in Nelson Tasman click here.