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Another 'should we move to NZ thread...any advice welcomed'

(61 Posts)
whoodoo Mon 03-Jan-11 09:19:25

I know its been done recently but was wondering if you could help me with a should we go to NZ decision (FYI - kids aged 4, 2 and 9 months).

Lots of background to this decision so will try to consendse:

-DH and I have long term love affair of the country and have NZ friends out there - been about 3 times in the last 10 years and DH returning in June on cheap Quantas deal for a week to get a tattoo (mad I know but serves to demonstrates his love for the place plus the fact that every am the first thing he does each morning is check the NZ weather and the Matarangi Beach webcam).

-DH can get transfer with his company and we gave the decision to emigrate serious consideration 2 years ago after DS2 born. Job offered at the time to DH wasn't right though and we thought we wanted Wellington and job offer came through for Auckland instead. Threw us a bit at last minute and I got cold feet. We had a commitment of a flat, I wanted another baby in future, my job was offering good money (even if I hated it), got a bit worried about if NZ schooling good enough, was it wrong to get off the UK hamster wheel? - would we ever get back on it, etc.

-DS3 now arrived and find ourselves reconsidering again. We have sold and move out of flat into rented flat this week and will have some money in bank. Plan was to look for a house in the city (V. expensive Scottish city) and mortgage ourselves to the hilt thus well and truly tying us into the jobs we both don't really like for next 10 years at least. I wanted to retrain but with current childcare financial commitments and changes in government this looks unlikely in the next 5 years at least.

-Over last couple of years we've been looking more at the North Shore as a place to live. Life in the UK fine but not really great. When not working (I work 4 days and DH FT with long hours) we spend the weekends walking round parks, coffee shops and soft play centres with the kids cos the weather so cold and the 2nd floor flat been so restrictive. I'm back to work soon and not really relishing the trudgery of it and we don't have family nearby to help with the kids. I would want to work in NZ though.

I'm aware that NZ can be expensive with crap heating and can be isolated as a county but we are looking for more if a balanced family life with some outside space and heat for the kids. I suppose I just want some advice from those who have made the move and how you are really finding life over the pond.

Sorry for the ramble BTW..... I could go on but I think I'll stop just now.

Horopu Mon 03-Jan-11 09:32:50

Go for it! It is 10.30pm here and I am off to bed so can't write loads.
housing can be pretty rubbish but if you know that you should be ok.
Schooling is fine, not so prescriptive as England (but you are in Scotland)
You need lots of sunblock for the kids to go with the heat, and even when it is not hot (I'm off to have a mole removed on Thurs).

Good luck, we have been here a year are happy.

whoodoo Mon 03-Jan-11 09:35:51

Where are you living Horupu?

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 09:53:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whoodoo Mon 03-Jan-11 10:00:15

Hi - I haven't done it (obviously from post below) but my mum has last year (she emmigrated to NZ and came back) part of the ramble I didn't disclose as it's too long a story. Anyway I think to ship her 3 bed house of furniture it cost her about £3,500 to £4,000. I think furniture over in NZ is expensive but folk who are there can tell me if I'm wrong

onadietcokebreak Mon 03-Jan-11 10:06:24

OP. I would say just go for it. Sounds like you have given this so muh thought for years that if you didnt do it you would always wonder "what if....?"

As long as you are fully aware of the cons and can live with them then you should cope well.

If I didnt have DP would was so rooted here I would be off like a shot in similar circumstances.

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 10:41:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shelscrape Mon 03-Jan-11 18:09:10

We're moving to NZ in about a week. Again, it was something DH and I dithered about for ages, then I ahd DS and it put the brakes on the whole thing. DS is now 6 and we thought we have nothing ot lose. Renting our our house in the UK to start with, DH has a job but I don't - need to do some more exams for the relevant porfessional body out there to do what I want to do anyway.

Our house contents are all being shipped out - container of 1050 cubic feet is costing us £4550, but insurance is just under £1600.

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 19:26:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Horopu Mon 03-Jan-11 19:35:23

I am in Northland, about 2hrs north of Auckland.

Take everything! Especially furniture and books. We bought a fridge, TV, microwave and kettle when we got here 'cos the ones we left were old. We bought new mattresses and slept on them until the beds arrived (3 months. We used cheap plastic garden furniture - a table and 5 chairs until our things got here. We had cupboards in the house so could hang clothes and used laundry bags instead of drawers! The hardest bit was no washing machine. I washed clothes in the baths (it was summer so things dried quickly, unless it rained, used the school washer or drove 50 mins to a laundretter once a fortnight! I have since discovered there is a machine in the motor camp near my school but no one remembered that until too late.

Anyway, go for it.

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 19:39:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Horopu Mon 03-Jan-11 22:10:16

About GBP3500 I think, from memory

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 22:13:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 22:33:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ZacharyQuack Mon 03-Jan-11 22:42:48

Try here for a reasonably priced furniture chain in NZ.

Or here for an example of appliance prices.

You can buy everything here, you know. NZ's not that expensive grin

(However, if you have children and they are into Playmobil, bring it with you - it costs a bloody fortune here! )

justaboutmaintainingorder Mon 03-Jan-11 22:44:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhatSheSaid Mon 03-Jan-11 22:54:15

MOst of the North Shore is very nice and it has some beautiful beaches, plus schools are generally very good over there.

However, if you or your dh end up working south of the bridge the commute can be horrible - I know people who leave at 6am to go to work just to avoid the traffic. Leaving for work that early may be something you are trying to escape from in the UK.

HOwever, there are some places that have ferries to the city and the motorway now has a bus lane with express buses, so that may be quicker than driving.

The North Shore always seems pretty busy to me when I go over there but I think that's just because I'm a bit of a hick, having been here 9 years and living in a quiet little suburb in west Auckland. It probably wouldn't seem at all busy coming from a city in teh UK.

Other stuff to consider - do you have lots of family you are close to in the UK? Would you be able to afford to fly all of you back to see them for holidays? WOuld you want to use up a lot of your holiday entitlement flying across the world? Would you want to keep doing that journey with smallish children? We simply cannot afford to fly to the UK regularly at teh mo, dh's family visit every year but I haven't seen mine for nearly 3 yrs - though of course you can "see" family a lot on Skype.

Not trying to put you off as we are very happy here, just pointing out a few things.

thelittlestkiwi Mon 03-Jan-11 23:02:10

There is a very strong second hand market in NZ. Check out Prices can be high. We decided to by most stuff new as there didn't seem to be a huge saving. I'll sell all of DD's stuff as she grows out of it.

One other issue is that you don't know the best places to buy when you arrive so stuff can cost more. And you end up spending every weekend looking at furniture and going to the Warehouse. You could ship some IKEA flatpacks.

Horopu- what does your name mean? We're heading up North on the 24th with my Il's. Staying in Russell. If that is ear you, do you have any hints on things to do? I'm desperate to see an Orca.

whoodoo Tue 04-Jan-11 00:11:42

Thanks whatshesaid for north shore info. Busy doesn't concern me too much. To be honest if I wasn't in walking distance to the milk/ bread shop I'd go into a cold sweat. I'm in Edinburgh so used to crowds etc but I do walk everywhere as it's so compact here. Ferry to work sounds fab though.

Can I be crass and ask about money? Dh would get basic of 70 Nzd plus car and commission ( say 30nzd plus). Can we have an ok standard of living on that in the shortish term till I get a job ? I know north shore won't be cheap. I'm not bothered about clothes, lifestyle stuff etc- just need to rent a three if not 4 bed place in an ok area and be able to afford the basics like food, bills etc. We both earn well in uk but it all goes on childcare so doesn't feel like it sometimes. Oh and as you mention we would need 5 seats on a plane home every two years I should imagine. The family thing not too much of an issue for ne but I know PiL would be devasted which is what held dh back last time- his mum would never forgive us I think

WhatSheSaid Tue 04-Jan-11 00:31:17

100k (70k base plus the 30 commision) would be fine for living on I would think, it's a lot more than the average wage over here! You can check out rents for the north shore on the Trade Me property pages here.

Obviously there is quite a big difference in rents due to location and size of house - obviously the rents get higher the closer to the beach you are.

Some of the British expat websites have cost of living info too - I'll give you a quick idea of our basic costs in Akld - for 2 adults and 2 kids (but youngest only 5 months so not costing us much in food yet!) All in NZ dollars

Mortgage - just over 500 a week (for a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom detached house with garden) - obviously less for you if you brought over a lot of money from a UK house sale. Rent for a nice house on the North Shore would be 450+ I would think.

Electricity - average 160 a month (but I am quite used to cold NZ houses in winter now and don't put heaters on as much as I did when I was first here)

No gas - everything runs on electric in our house.

Food - 150 a week but that's being quite frugal, it would be very easy to spend a lot more

Rates - about 160 a month

Sky - 70 a month

Phone and internet - 80 a month, includes all local calls free so toll calls added on top of that.

Insurance - 100 a month, that is for 2 cars, house and contents.

Water rates - about 100 every six months so v low, about 15 a month.

Can't think of any other basic costs at mo...obviously leisure spending costs can be as little or as big as you make them, there are certainly loads of lovely parks and beaches which are free!

I agree it's not THAT expensive here, some things are and some things aren't. E.g. the supermarkets don't do kids clothes so you don't get stuff like 3 t shirts for 2 quid from Tesco - but places like the Warehouse and K Mart have cheap kids clothes, pretty basic stuff that won't last forever, but cheap!

WhatSheSaid Tue 04-Jan-11 00:38:02

That turned into a bit of an essay!

Meant to say, you wouldn't pay rates if you were renting - landlord does.

The having enough money to fly all of you home regularly could be harder.


whoodoo Tue 04-Jan-11 00:40:13

V helpful for all those costs- thanks. I've ebayed kids clothes out to Nz before so that's an option. My boys are all in hand me downs and charity buys but I had heard clothes expensive and I know choice for women limited but tbh I lost my fashion mojo with my placenta.

WhatSheSaid Tue 04-Jan-11 00:49:29

Quite a few UK clothes shops deliver to NZ too, delivery fees usually 10-15 quid so OK if you're getting a lot of stuff at once, not worth it for one item really. And there are kids clothes shops here! Just not as big a choice I guess. Have you been to a Pumpkin Patch shop in the UK? They are a NZ company.

thelittlestkiwi Tue 04-Jan-11 01:00:03

Be aware that tax here is higher- there is no tax free allowance. The IRD website has a tax calculator which will help.

Also, I think rent may be a bigger expense- it depends if you want to live somewhere live like Devonport and take a ferry to the city. A 3/4 bed would probably be more like 6-800 a week. But trademe will give you a better idea.

Check out It's a great forum for things like cost of living calculators. A huge amount depends on the lifestyle you want to have. We struggled when we first arrived as set up costs were much bigger than we expected. But 2 years in we are more comfortable. And have adapted a bit! $50 is a fortune where as £25 is nothing.....

I lived in Edinburgh for a few years and loved the compactness of it. I thought I would hate Auckland cos it is so sprawling. But actually, it's a great city to live in.

Horopu Tue 04-Jan-11 01:21:00

We rent a school house and get a discount as my dh works for the school so our rent is currently very cheap. School boards have to set their rents quite low I think.

thelittestkiwi My name means steadfast (in Maori). I got bored of having a Pokemon name !

I haven't been to Russell but went on a school camp at Paihia in December.

Get a leafet for Lilypond farm. Don't go to the farmpark (it is OK but nothing amazing) but drive further up the track instead of turning in to the lilyponds. There is no actual pond but a lovely swimming hole.

Waitangi is great, I nearly cried when my class performed a Haka in the meeting house there in front of some tourists. The cafe there was lovely and you can feed the eels. Show your driver's license and you get in free. The guides are very good if you feel like paying though.

Actionworld is good fun for adventurous kids, loads of stuff e.g. tightrope walking.v

There are great glow worm caves run by the local tribe on the road up at Kaiwiti about 1/2 hour before Russel/Paihia. Just before the place with the famous toilets- Kawakawa.

We did a boat trip to the hole in the rock when we were there on holiday in 2005. I was pregnant and spent the whole trip vommiting so saw almost nothing. There are plenty of dolphin spotting trips around, sorry can't reccomend one. Not sure about Orcas!

The walk from Haruru Falls to Waitangi is lovely, especially if you get someone to pick you up from the golf course carpark, so you don't have to go back.

Ngawha Springs, Kaikohe, is on the way up there, just outside Whangarei so if it wet and miserable you could try going there (you will smell of sulphur for a long time afterwards). It is very basic and very cheap but good fun.

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