Returning New Zealander

Job title:

Business solution specialist


Spark Digital


Bachelor of Commerce (Economics)

Moved to Christchurch:

December 2012

David Yardley
Why did you choose to move to Christchurch?

After five years of living and working in London, my wife and I decided it was time to return to our hometown of Christchurch. We had a baby on the way and wanted a safer, healthier and more natural environment to raise her in.

My wife and I both have fond memories of growing up in Christchurch and want the same kind of lifestyle for our family. We like the slower pace of life and the size of the city – it offers a great city lifestyle that is not too busy or crowded.

We love all the parks and having the great outdoors on our doorstep. Housing is much more affordable than in London, and we wanted to own our own house and have enough room to spread out.

What does your company do?

Spark Digital delivers information and communications technology (ICT) solutions to businesses and government clients throughout New Zealand. It is New Zealand’s only end-to-end provider of ICT for business and delivers solutions that enable businesses to be better connected, operate with confidence, improve performance and realise opportunities.

What does your job involve?

As a business solution specialist, I work closely with a range of our South Island clients; understanding their business in detail so I can suggest ICT that will help drive it forward.

I have a particular interest in data-centre related technology and had the opportunity to assist in the development of our new state-of-the-art data centre proposition in Christchurch.

It has been great to help a number of our clients move their data and networking to our hosted services and in doing so, deliver a range of benefits to help drive their ICT strategies.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like being able to use ICT to make a real difference to local businesses. Technology is exciting and forever changing – it has the power to help a business thrive and be competitive, both here in New Zealand and on the international stage.

Since the earthquakes, businesses are keener than ever for new and innovative ways of operating and safeguarding their data. By bringing them the likes of hosted cloud services and new ways of connecting and collaborating, I play a part in shaping the future of Christchurch.

I am receiving some great exposure to a number of industries, including the manufacturing and transport industries, which I didn’t deal with as much in London. It’s interesting learning about these different segments of the wider economy and their influence on the region.

I’ve been able to tap into my experience in London, where I worked for five years as an account manager for a large data centre company.  I like that I can re-purpose my experience and bring it to help businesses here.

Living so close to work is also a bonus – it’s only a flat, 20-minute, door-to-door walk. That’s fresh air and exercise (and more time for family) that I was not getting when living in London and commuting to work.

Spark Digital also offers flexible, remote working, which allows me to work just as effectively at home as I would in the office.  I have a work/life balance that fits my family commitments and lifestyle perfectly.

How do you see your career progressing?

Spark Digital offers a range of career opportunities. It employs more than 2,000 people and has the largest number of ICT professionals in New Zealand.

With the emergence of cloud-computing and other technological advancements, such as video collaborations, that enable remote working, I am able to work here in Christchurch on projects that might otherwise have been restricted to project teams in Auckland.

I am forever up-skilling and as Spark Digital embraces new technology and I can see a number of openings for career advancement.

Tell us about your lifestyle in Christchurch:

Fun at work:
Everyone is really friendly and social, and I slotted right in. There is a bunch of us that go swimming three times a week – we motivate each other and the pool is just down the road so we can go at lunchtimes.

Below our office is the Chillingworth café, which is a great place to meet colleagues for professional purposes or a drink after work.

Fun outside of work:
We take our baby to a number of parks – there are a few to choose from and they are beautiful all year around.

We often hop in the car and travel to other South Island towns or cities – we recently went on a family trip to Queenstown and Nelson.

We have had a friend come over from England and we took her to Kaikoura and Hanmer, where we all enjoyed the hot springs and mineral pools.

It’s easy driving and traffic is minimal. It’s brilliant being able to show off New Zealand and the surrounding areas to my friends from the UK. It’s a beautiful place to live and easy to explore with loads to do.

Next summer I will be joining in the ocean swim race in Akaroa Harbour and starting up social cricket.

Family aspects:

We found it super easy to access support services for our baby when we first returned.  My wife joined a Plunket group and has made a number of friends from this.  We have found a really nice local day-care centre for our baby, which she is about to start as my wife returns to work part-time.

Life in Christchurch:

We are enjoying our new lifestyle, especially the outdoors and fresh air. The summers are great – unlike London, we are able to dine outside regularly. I love having BBQs, especially now we have access to good, fresh kiwi beef and lamb again.