A creative life

Migrant stories

It was a love of New Zealand that brought this creative Californian couple back to New Zealand to live permanently. And it’s proved to be better the second time around.

Dot is a very well travelled cocker spaniel, and she is enjoying living at the beach.

Mike Corcoran and wife Megan Doyle Corcoran were first drawn to New Zealand when a job opportunity arose for Mike in Wellington at special effects company, Weta Digital.

However the move was only temporary and after the film he was working on wrapped the couple moved back home to the United States, where Megan was keen to get back to work as a lawyer. 

Memories of Wellington and New Zealand were strong and after about four years, the pair decided to move back – this time making it more permanent. Moving from California to Wellington was easy the second time around for everyone involved, including their cocker spaniel – Dot.

We knew the lifestyle was easier, quieter, a lot more receptive in New Zealand.

Mike returned to work for Weta Digital, working on movies such as 'The Adventures of Tintin’ and ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, and Megan was now set on a career writing fiction. Her second novel is taking shape and she’s excited about the creative writing master’s programme at Victoria University.

The couple live right beside the sea at Lyall Bay, not far from Wellington Airport. Having lived in Wellington before, they knew what they wanted – a place near the water with plenty of sun. “It was a huge advantage knowing how important the sun is. In California it’s not so much of a concern,” says Megan.

Living by the water is “a dream come true” that just wouldn’t have been affordable in California. And their beloved dog Dot also seems to be enjoying her new home by the beach.

As for the wind that puts some people off Wellington, “actually it’s a very nice little saviour,” says Megan. It keeps the air fresh and sweeps away the noise of the airport, not that the noise is much by Californian standards.

Another thing that has changed hugely since the first time Mike and Megan lived in New Zealand is the way people stay in touch.  “We miss our friends and family in San Francisco,” says Mike. But with Skype and Facebook, it’s a lot better this time”.

In Wellington there’s no shortage of friends, helped by the fact that Mike and Megan are both keen musicians. “We play a little bluegrass with friends – it’s very social. They are people who all had very different reasons for coming here but they have all stayed.”

It was definitely a case of second time lucky for this couple and now back in New Zealand’s bustling capital, they couldn’t be happier.

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