By Mana Williams. 12-15 Minutes
With 79 % of New Zealand’s wine produced in Marlborough, a plethora of bays to visit in the coves of the Sounds, a tiny population, and a bustling little town, Blenheim is really well situated. But this is a blog of truth. Having lived in this small community for over ten years of my life and having revisited as an adult, I can now bring to you a well-rounded account of living in small town Blenheim.
So what is it like living in Blenheim?
Blenheim is a little Christchurch. For those who don’t understand what I mean, I’m referring to its people. I could talk for days about the positive and negative effects the grape industry has had on the Marlborough region. But, like Christchurch, there are three golden rules that can be used to judge a place: People, climate, and affordability. Together, these three guidelines encompass the lens we use to decide whether a place is good enough for us to live. In essence, Blenheim fails to contrast in many ways to the likes of Christchurch and it’s people.
So what are the people like?
Blenheim has never been known for its snobbery. Because it’s the opposite. Like Christchurch, Blenheim has the “Just get on with it” attitude. This is standard with most places you would visit in the South island of New Zealand. South island towns tend to have fewer people and larger properties due to more space. Smaller populations naturally have fewer people, therefore fewer workers to do things for you. In comparison to city life where you don’t have a lawn or a garden or distance to travel to work to worry about, life in small towns can be more manual. Development is slower which means that more labour is required after a day at work. Therefore there is less time in a day to worry about vanity, snobbery and what colour shoes you’re wearing.
BUT JUST BEFORE YOU GO BACK INTO THE WATER!
In many places in New Zealand, particularly in places of small populous like Blenheim. There is an envy about the place. In a community where everyone knows everyone, outsiders are more judged. Even more so insiders! In a place where hard work is expected due to manual labour and a just do it attitude, it is easy to become envious of other people when they achieve something. Tall Poppy Syndrome exists, although many people are supportive, keep your wits about you.
For the young ones.
Academically weak, strong in sports. There is a wide variety of primary schools within Blenheim which are well rounded both academically and in their sports. There is an opportunity for development in many aspects. As you head through to intermediate years, options become more restricting and ultimately you learn to recognize that Blenheim is not a place for teenagers to experience very much, get into very much mischief or say very much without the entire town hearing about it. Reaching high schooling years, there is not a huge emphasis on intense academia. So if what you are looking for is to become the next Elon Musk then this is not the place to go. Musk is a billionaire American physicist, engineer, and entrepreneur. However, their sporting achievements from the likes of Marlborough Boys’ College blasts back decades. With a massive amount of support shown towards kicking a different region, namely Christchurch boys’ College, off of first places in cups and trophies. These sports include softball, first XV rugby, football, road cycling etc. Unfortunately, having grown up in small town Blenheim, I know there is not much for the young ones to do and see. But I’m sure they will appreciate spending more time with you.
Climate and Economy.
From a business perspective in the adult world, it really comes down to what industry you are working for. The region has a sunny climate which is why the wine industry does so well, namely Sauvignon Blanc. Due to the wine industry having such good success the tourism market has grown relatively. Tourists passing through from the likes of Wellington via Picton, Christchurch via Murchison, and Nelson via Nelson. There is also a strong Hospitality industry in Blenheim with small bars and restaurants. Other retailers like clothes stores also do well. There seems to be also a reconnaissance for nice European based restaurants in the town for the older generations to enjoy. The likes of Raupo with is French cuisine does a really nice platter. Gramado’s presents a really delicious pasta and is renowned for their Brazillian staff. Even Kiwi stuff does well! The semi-new Speight’s Ale House in Springlands also serves a good Blue Cod or a strong Kiwi steak. With its growing Hospitality industry combined with healthy Tourism, agriculture, viticulture, and horticulture, Blenheim boasts a strong economy.
Be sure to tune in for part two! I will be looking at the affordability of living in small town Blenheim! Thanks for checking in!!