Feature article

Winner of Trade Me Jobs and Mazda NZ giveaway

Kaukapakapa Mum of two wins Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid after updating Trade Me Jobs job profile.

Last updated: 30 April 2024

Retail buyer, Andra Brown was happy to update her Trade Me Jobs Profile when given a gentle nudge by us in March. It had been five years since she’d last amended it and she’d changed to a different job since, so she couldn’t argue.

Updating her Trade Me Jobs profile wasn’t the beginning of a job search, the retail buyer says. She feels quite content in her current job, although she’s always keen for new challenges within the role.

The Kaukapakapa mother of two has been a retail buyer for Paper Plus for the past three years, which involves doing fun things like going to toy fairs and book fairs as well as working in the Whangaparāoa store. Prior to Paper Plus, she worked at Kiwibank for 19 years in a variety of roles, and was a personal banker when made redundant in July 2021.

It didn’t hurt that updating her Trade Me Jobs profile put her in the running for a flash $47,000 Mazda MX-30 M-Hybrid in our Trade Me and Mazda giveaway but she didn’t really give much thought about winning it.

“I’ve never won anything except maybe a meat hamper,” says Andra, whose husband Rhys is a trained butcher and operations manager. And, like many Kiwi, she’s never had a brand new car before.

News soon spread at Kaukapakapa School that she had won a new car, her older daughter, Keahna, letting her friends know and their parents then checking with Andra that it was true.

She picked up her awesome prize in mid April. The Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid, a five seater SUV, will replace her seven seater Mitsubishi Outlander (with 137,000 km on the clock). It’s a “Mum car” which they’ve owned for a few years and it worked well when the children were younger and outings involved playpens and prams, says Andra. But now the girls are bigger, Kora, six, and Keahna, nine, such a large vehicle isn’t necessary.

The Mazda MX-30 M Hybrid has plenty of room to take them and a couple of friends to their rugby games. The season starts at the beginning of May, so the timing for the new car is perfect. And no doubt there will be some parent envy on the rugby field.

Andra is still buzzing about going to pick up the car. Not familiar with owning a hybrid vehicle, Phillip at Mazda North Harbour allayed all her fears, she says. He spent 45 minutes going through all the details she needed to know about the vehicle and how it runs. It’s not a plug-in Hybrid, the car self-charges as she drives which makes it so easy, explains Andra.

Of course, the fun part was picking a colour for her new vehicle, with three to choose from. Andra went for a tasteful three tone palette of silver, black and white which has been given family approval.

“And the savings of driving a hybrid vehicle will be noticeable,” she says.

To fill up the Mitsubishi costs just over $170, and she would spend $100 a week on petrol typically. Now, one week after using the Mazda Hybrid the car is just under three quarters of a tank so that’s promising.

Andra learning all about her new vehicle

Andra would describe herself as an A to B kind of driver, but she says she’s enjoying driving more with the new Mazda because it does all these things for her. For instance, when she’s going from an 80 km speed zone to a 50 km one, the car starts slowing down before she can think to apply the brakes.

“The car is so intuitive, I quite enjoy driving now. It feels like it’s less stressful when I have the children with me because the car is doing quite a lot,” she adds.

A commute to many working mothers can be a blissful period of time all to yourself. “Now I’ve got this flash new car, I’ve been listening to music through the phone on Bluetooth, ” she says.

The retail buyer drives around 45 minutes each way to work and listens to the radio and to her favourite music artist, Pink. Her girls are ‘Swifties’ so the new car will have to get used to its fair share of Taylor Swift being played in it as well.

Of course, winning a new car has a number of implications for the finances of the Brown family. Andra says not having to buy their next car, which was on their big item shopping list, means they will put the proceeds of the Mitsubishi onto the mortgage. She plans to put her old car up for sale on Trade Me Motors after its Warrant of Fitness in mid May.

Like a lot of Kiwi families, the Browns have felt the pain of rising interest rates impacting their household expenses in the last year or two. They refixed their mortgage last year. Going from a 4.09% interest rate to two terms at 6.99% and 7.19%, which meant they haven’t been able to save as much for a rainy day.

The money they get from selling the Mitsubishi will also help them fund some improvements at their property, says Andra.

“We really need to do landscaping,” she says.

The Brown family home sits on close to one acre in Kaukapakapa and landscaping will transform the property which they plan to sell in the next year or so. Wherever the Brown family goes next, it will need to have a similar amount of land as they have 11 chickens that her girls dote on, raising them from chicks. The chickens are real characters, says Andra.

The family will be looking for a home and income property next, still in the Kaukapakapa area, but on a flatter site, says Andra. Her parents have recently come to live with them after selling their home in Gulf Harbour and she wants to give them their own separate space. The girls are loving having their grandparents living with them and vice versa.

One of Andra’s favourite parts of her role at Paper Plus is talking to the older customers who come into the Whangaparāoa store and are happy to linger for a chat. “They have so much wisdom to offer,” says Andra.

In the future, she thinks her next career might be in the health sector, perhaps working in administrative care of the elderly. She will amend her Trade Me Jobs profile accordingly when the time comes to change careers, she promises.


Gill South
Gill South