Hey kiwi dude (or dude-ette). Welcome to this place and to riding in general!
I started riding at 29, never looked back. It takes over winter life for sure, but that's a good thing (helps that my gf skis and is hooked on shred too).
Ah yeh, i'm from the bay of plenty and before coming to live in bc was in auckland for bout 10yrs.
Always keen to hear what riding in the southern hemisphere is like, keep us posted!