Life after
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If I can be that personal cheerleader in your life that whispers: “you really can do this” while the rest of the world is provoking doubt… then I’ll consider my job done.

I'm Holli


NAME Aroha Tahau

AKA Other Half of Carl Axtens


KIDDIES Two boys. Kingsley (3) and Hughson (20 months)

FROM Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

LIVE Aix en Provence

ALL ABOUT BEING Driven by competition and fun adventures!

JILL OF WHAT TRADE/S Family adventure planner! I live for this stuff – the latest being our winter holiday to Austria prior to Christmas. It will be our first family holiday to the mountains… I think we are going to be “that” family with “all the gear and no idea” haha. Being a mum. All things real estate and investing.

CURRENTLY CRUSHING ON Actually, I am currently so motivated to plan trips and new experiences for our family to soak up and enjoy as our time living abroad is coming to an end. I am fully aware that living in this way (rugby life with a family abroad) and being given so much free time to enjoy with our kids is unique. 

So trying to make the most of that is a real priority for me – whether it be afternoon trips to a beautiful beach/village, a walk, a weekend exploring somewhere new or visiting a new country, we typically would not have had the chance to had we not lived in Europe. 

Also, trying to invest, learn and educate myself and Carl to prepare for an exciting and successful transition into life outside of rugby. 

SUPPORTIVE WIFEY OR INDEPENDENT WOMAN I think it’s an absolute privilege to be a part of this journey. Because of Carl’s talent, I, too get to experience something unique. A life abroad full of fun adventures and a bit of lux living (yep, epic wine and food) I know I never would have experienced if it weren’t for rugby.

I mean sure, perhaps we would have holidayed in Europe at different points but never would I have delved into the language, culture, experiences and friendships that rugby has enabled. Rugby wife life is a life of pretty extreme privilege from my personal experience. 

I think the role I play in being the other half is to maintain life admin, plan the good times (holidays, family and friend visits etc), minimise the tough times (shit days at training, stressful times when moving clubs or contract negotiations, missing family or special occasions like Christmas and weddings), to keep a content family and prepare for life after rugby. That is what I deem to be crucial in our world currently.

So that was probably a really long way of saying, supper supportive partner (like Pitbull vibes if you were to ask Carls’s agent, haha). Our roles in the life we have here are pretty equal, and I think Carl and I are both pretty appreciative of that. 

GIVE US THE LOW DOWN  Originally Carl and I are from the Bay of Plenty. We moved to France within 48 hours of being given the opportunity. Seven years and two kids later, we are still here. 

My background was in the media. I was lucky enough to grow up knowing this was the industry I wanted to be in, so I interned right throughout school and university with media companies in New Zealand and went straight into full time roles out of university.

However, I only actually worked in journalism and advertising for 4 years, as it was then that we left to live in France. We were both 24 at the time. 

At different times I have felt a bit “dumb” being out of any workforce for such a long time. I felt like I needed to keep my brain alive, so I worked with a business mentor and carried out education in real estate and property investing.

I did my real-estate papers in 2020 as that has been a strong interest of mine, growing up with a mum who is a real estate agent. I have always been a person who didn’t like to have a ceiling on my income and having a commission-earning option with real estate appealed to me. To have it in my back pocket, at least. 

The time came to pull this out of “my back pocket” when we thought we had finished living in France and moved back home (to Mount Maunganui) in late 2020.

I immediately started working for Raywhite, Mount Maunganui upon our return – but it was short lived (10 months). I gave birth to our second baby and Carl received another offer to play back in France. The fact that moving back to France would allow us to avoid 7.30am day-care drop offs or mum guilt of getting home after “finishing work” but still having my head in my phone made for an easy decision to return to rugby in France.

I am certain this experience is what makes us so grateful for our chill day to day time we get with our boys now. I loved working in real estate sales, it was an addictive buzz, feeling the excitement of people buying and selling their homes and being a part of the process.

But, the timing was poor with two small boys, to work as I like to work (100 miles an hour and throw my entire self into achieving success) my family would suffer, and that was quite clear what was going to occur. 

Together, Carl and I have enjoyed the benefits that real estate has given us and thanks to the help of a team of varying people, we have built a property portfolio which should serve us well when we finish living abroad and move home. This is what brings me to my latest “THING”…. With the intention of giving Professional Rugby players and their partners some easy knowledge and processes to follow when considering buying property back home whilst living overseas.

I have created a product/guide “How to buy a house in New Zealand: A guide for kiwis living overseas”.

So many guys here are on great incomes and want to buy a house back home but have absolutely no idea where to start or who to talk to. Our intention is that it is a simple and clear structure that can be followed when someone is looking to buy a house but has no idea where to start. Essentially, it is for a person who has the funds/income but genuinely has no clue about the process of buying property. 

What can you expect to receive from the guide?

  • A 3 step process with simple actions to follow in order to buy a house. 
  • An itemised list of requirements and documents needed to get you through the process of buying a house in New Zealand.
  • An understanding of experts and those who will help you to buy a property.
  • An understanding of the terminology that you will come across in the process of buying a property in New Zealand whilst living overseas.
  • Our personal property purchasing contacts list… It is always difficult to find an expert you trust. These people can take years to find and cost you a lot of money through poor advice. We have used these people ourselves and rate their expertise and services, so as an added value to this guide, we will pass these contacts on.

BUSINESS GOALS Our goal is to offer clear information (a simple PDF product) in the form of a guide which enables kiwis (rugby players) living abroad to easily follow and purchase a home back in New Zealand.  

I genuinely believe young guys who leave the insula New Zealand rugby bubble while they are young are brave. Brave enough to leave the comfort of New Zealand rugby and home to experience life abroad and make the most of their talent earning fantastic money, but we all know it’s only for a short period of time. 


Two things.

  1. Developing a financial situation for Carl and me so only one of us will work when we return to New Zealand. As we have created a salary/income through our property purchases. 
  2. Seeing others on a high when they buy their own house – particularly when they never thought it was something they were able to do. This is just so exciting and cool!


  1. I am one for wanting an instant email back or, at the very least, within 24 hours. Slow communication back to New Zealand with the time difference drives my impatient self crazy!
  2. Worrying about what others may think. Constantly questioning if I am doing the right thing. I really appreciate quality experts. A business mentor, and people who have been there and done that I always appreciate when I am looking for reassurance. 

FILL US IN ON SMASHING ALL THEM GOALS I have lists on lists on lists… but typically, I have about 10 priorities for the week and then take one or two of those things per day that I intend to achieve. Prioritising what is on my “to-do” list is hugely important to me to actually achieve what I set out to do and to keep myself motivated. 

If it’s just a big long list of “things to do” I tend to throw it in the “too-hard basket” and do nothing at all. 

It’s nothing original. You’re a mum and living a life determined by someone else’s schedule, so having a flexible mind to just “wing it” is crucial. I am not great at this, but I think I mentally prepare myself for free styling and going with the flow as best as possible.  

WHAT’S YA SECRET/S Lists, lists, lists… but wing it and be prepared to go with the flow when it feels like things are turning to custard a bit. 

WHY IS BELONGING TO A COMMUNITY IMPORTANT AS AN ENTREPRENEUR  Reassurance, motivation/aspiration. Education and learning from others. Particularly communities where you are the rookie. I love being in groups or working with people that are more successful than me. These people lift me up and are never intimidated by big goals or dreams they genuinely encourage it. 

YOUR INSPIRATION I think naturally I have always been an extremely self-motivated person. Possibly to my own detriment sometimes (never being fully content), I always like to chase chunky goals for my own personal satisfaction. 

Of course, Carl and my kids inspire me. However, in terms of an inspirational goal, I aspire to at some point before I am 40, gift one of our properties to a child-based charity to use as their base or to facilitate their work in. It’s just something I feel passionate about, so am working towards having ourselves in a position to be able to do that. 


RUGBY LIFE MISCONCEPTION Hmmmm I don’t know. I feel like most stereotypes of a Rugby Life are reasonably accurate haha. 

RUGBY HIGHS Rugby has given us some of our very best lifelong friends and our very best travel memories and enabled our wider friends and family the opportunity to visit and explore France when they most likely never ever would have had we not lived here – for that, we are grateful and proud to be able to enable that. 

RUGBY LOWS Moving and not feeling settled. This has been huge since having a family. Initially, when it was just Carl and I, moving was reasonably carefree and easy. Now when we change clubs or move because of a new rugby contract, it really unsettles our children, and for that, we both feel guilty. 

PROUDEST RUGBY FAN GAL MOMENT I think each game I go to watch, I always feel excited and proud of Carl, but particularly seeing our boys be sooo beside themselves with pride and excitement for their dad is what has been most special for me. They are so loud and sooo proud of Carl, anyone sitting remotely near us knows after 5 minutes into the match that their dad is playing haha. 

Possibly, I think that is what has reignited Carl’s love for rugby, too (it’s not something we have talked about, but Carl’s body language is always different in a proud and happy sort of way when the kids are at the match). 

LIFE AFTER THE PITCH  Yes, I am such a planner, so planning for this is a huge priority for me. I want to be excited about moving back to New Zealand and excited about starting a new career/business or whatever it may be. 

Carl and I have spoken with many people for advice and sort the help offered by NZRPA in terms of work life after rugby which has led us down the path to currently exploring the supermarket business. 

So while we are here in France, we are both doing work experience a couple of times a week to gain as much knowledge and insight about the functioning of supermarkets. We are lucky enough that the owner of Carrefour in Aix en Provence lets us base a work schedule around the kids and Carl’s training. 

WHERE TO NOW Enjoy our last few years living in France! Create as many epic memories as possible and soak up the opportunities that come with living in such a beautiful place. Aix en Provence is seriously sooo insane, and I feel so lucky to call our little village just outside of the city (Fuveau) home. 


Here’s the dream…

  • Living somewhere beautiful in New Zealand (near a beach)
  • Kids are content and happily settled into school. We are present at their activities (this is sooo important to me, as Carl and I both had really present parents growing up).
  • We have a supermarket business. 
  • Carl has brought his dream boat.
  • Time is flexible
  • Building our dream home
  • We have a Bach for holidays

PEARLS OF WISDOM If I was ever nervous about taking a leap at something new or challenging, mum would always say, “what is the worst that can happen?”.

It’s not remotely original, but it is a sentence engrained in my mind whenever I know I should just give something a crack. 


Instagram: @arohatahau_property
Facebook: ArohaTahauPropert

Purchase AT property guide: ArohaTahau How to buy property in NZ Guide

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