In search of a more affordable lifestyle and with their eyes on achieving some lofty goals, Kylie and her husband Paul moved to Manawatu in 2009, after six years living in Queenstown.

Upon arrival, Kylie used her passion for creativity and community to start the annual Magic of Christmas Night Market in 2013, which has become a hugely successful mainstay on the festive calendar with almost 7000 attendees through its doors each year.

With a passion for interior design, Kylie wanted the event to be more than just a typical market – instead she envisioned a beautifully curated space where event attendees could enjoy the atmosphere as well as the wares.

“We’re immensely proud of building the Magic of Christmas Night Market into what it has become,” says Kylie.

Magic of Christmas Night Markets

Crafted & Co Food Truck, Magic of Christmas Night Markets

Through the Christmas market, Kylie and Paul saw a niche for bespoke furniture hire and decor, and so came their next ventures – Mabel, the boutique caravan bar, and Mustard Folk, a furniture hire and event styling business.

“There is a real emerging creative scene in the region. There are lots of amazing people doing amazing things and once you are a part of that it’s a really interconnected environment where people offer support around each other’s journeys.”

“I love the creative freedom and work/life balance that working for myself allows me and my family – and it’s special that we’re able to contribute charitably back to the community where we live, work and play.”

Kylie believes they couldn’t have done it anywhere else but Manawatu and they’re thankful their roots drew them back to the region.

Born and raised in Wairarapa, Kylie moved to Manawatu as a teenager, attending Freyberg High School before both Paul and Kylie went on to study at Massey University.

Paul’s career took them to Queenstown, where after six-and-a-half years, they knew their time down south had come to an end. They were ready to buy their first home, start a family, and settle down – so they made the decision to come home to their families in Manawatu and they’ve never looked back.

“I can have my cake and eat it too. All of the goals we had set before moving back to the region have happened. The local infrastructure and access to all of the basics means we are able to enjoy the small things and couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere else.”

“If you want somewhere with a solid foundation, lots of opportunities and good people – Manawatu is the place to be.”

What are your must do’s for visitors to Manawatu?

“Keep an eye on the events calendar – there are lots of events and workshops from small to large scale that are worth having a look at!”

Favourite spots to grab a bite to eat?

“I love visiting Joseph Street Kitchen with friends, and hitting The Fat Farmer in the Hokowhitu Village for dinner.”

The Fat Farmer restaurant Manawatu NZ

The Fat Farmer, Palmerston North

To find out more about Mustard Folk or to get in touch with Kylie visit her website.

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Manawatu Region

Facts & Figures

Total Population

119,600

Average House Price

$409,288

Average Weekly Rent

$315

Average Salary

$55,526

Parks & Reserves

196

Cafes & Restaurants

168