where's best to live in nz,and what do we need to know?

(1000 Posts)
AngryBeaver Sun 16-Jan-11 20:57:14

My dh has been on at me for a year to move from the uk.He wanted Quebec,which looked gorgeous and romantic,but i wasn't sold on the winters and coudn't leave my mum.
He recentley said he wanted to move to NZ and i thought ,yeah if it's warm and a better life than here,let's do it.
So we've got fuck all money and 3 kids under 4.5 ...but we want to do it.
I don't know what's changed in me for me to agree ,but I hear th schools and hospitals are fab,and just want the best life for my lovely children.
I'm worrying though because I've read the houses are crap and cold.
We want sun,space and not too expensive (don't we all!)
We thought Tauranga,but that seems quite busy and we've read about boy racers.
We don't want Wellington as we've heard it's windy and weather not great.
Does anyone know about Nelson?Heard it's nice weather,but what's the reality?
We are going to put the house on the market this week,I am shitting myself,but I feel it's now or never.
Any help or advice,gratefully recieved

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AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 07:36:24

bump smile

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pavlovalover Mon 17-Jan-11 07:44:26

They all have disadvantages and advantages. Nelson is warmer and small. Many people rave about it. What about job opportunities? That would be a major downside.

North of Auckland - Orewa, Red Beach - would also give you a warm climate and small community, but closer to a bigger employment market. Can you give some more details if what you're looking for? Have you got PR or a visa sorted?

LionelBear Mon 17-Jan-11 07:49:34

We moved where the best employment opportunities were - for us that was Wellington. We moved here three and a half years ago and love it.

WhatSheSaid Mon 17-Jan-11 07:51:46

What job would he be doing? Need to know that.

If you think you'd miss your mum moving to Quebec, NZ is a looooong way from the UK (nowhere further!) and it would be expensive to visit regularly. Could she come and visit you?

BeenBeta Mon 17-Jan-11 08:53:51

We are moving to NZ in July.

After a lot of research we picked Auckland because it had the best employment/economic and lifestyle opportunities for us. Good climate and a largish international city with the kind of amenities we need.

I lived in the UK contryside as a child and the moved to London. I liked London a lot more. DW comes from Newcastle and we both agree that we want somewhere with an international airport, cinemas, theatres, shops and restaurants, good coffee and an international outlook without being a gigantic mega city - but that might not be what is important to you.

The exchange rate of the NZ Dollar versus the Pound is terrible right. The NZ Dolar is very strong so without a definite job and only a little of your own money you may find it a struggle to even go there to try it for even a few months.

sailorsgal Mon 17-Jan-11 10:04:04

You should have watched "wanted down under" this morning. I think they were near Christchurch.

As lovely as it all looks I think they were quite surprised at how expensive it was and they wouldn't have the lifestyle they dreamt about. Its quite an eye opener.

They still wanted to go though. hmm

I do think you need to have money to fall back on, and remember you will need health insurance.


AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 11:27:22

yep,the no money thing is a worry.
The wages must be ok though..comparably i mean to the cost of living?
dh and i are journalists/production editors.
I wouldn't be working though as i have the children.
I work one day a week here and mum has the children.
There is no way we can save any money,and our financial situation will never improve here as dh has gone as far as he can in that company,without moving to london,which we don't want to do.
There are no other companies nearby that could mach salary ie local papers(this is a national newspaper)
we are not city people,don't go out much,and live in a small rural village,which we like.

schools are important,we'd like to get there by jan,i believe that's when the new year starts and dd could start then.

Wellington looks like a great place,but don't fancy the wind!(dc's and I have very sensitive ears and wind is agony!)

I did look at a Cost of Living Comparison chart thingy,and although it was more than i'd imagined,didn't think it was too bad?

I read somewhere,"don't come to nz thinking you'll be rich,but come for the lifestyle"
We're not rich here and lifestyle non-existent,so got to be an impreovement!?
I know nz is far faaaar away,but mum is able to afford to come regularly smile.i would miss her a crazy amount though.

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AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 12:18:46

pavlova we're in the process of sorting out visa,printing off all info and counting out the £1000! warmer climate and not too busy sounds really good.

have been trying to find out about health insurance? a&e/maternity/refferals/kids under 6 free etc and doctors visit $50,isn't that it?

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bigTillyMint Mon 17-Jan-11 12:26:47

With your jobs (or just your DH's for the moment), I would have thought that you need to be in/near a big city, ie Auckland, Wellington, maybe Christchurch.

Have you ever been for a visit? It is not like England - apart from in the "big" cities, I would imagine there is very little call for a journalist, as other places are either very "small-town" or out in the bush. Think Wales (in the 50's/60'swink)

It is a beautiful outdoorsy place, and the people are really friendly, but I'm not sure what the job-op's are like for journalists.

Has your DH looked into this?

AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 12:45:15

Yes,i would have thought the same as you bigtillymint (your name made me smile,my mum still calls me tilly mint if i'm cheeky!smile)....but actually,there are loads and loads of jobs! I think being a journo is a popular career over there.There seems to be a tonne of jobs he could do,there are never salaries listed though,which is a bithmm,but i think he saw something that said range is between £30-70 grand
Have never been to nz,we can't afford to go for a visit first,which i know is a bit mad,but we just really want to do it!
wales in the 50's sounds exactly what we're after

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Blu Mon 17-Jan-11 12:50:22

Can you just immigrate to NZ, then?
For Aus you have to offer skills in short supply don't you?

Don't move to Quebec unless you speak French or will learn it v fast.

bigTillyMint Mon 17-Jan-11 13:03:41

It was my dad's pet name for me when I was little smile

Well, that sounds much better than I thought re the jobs!

DH's family emigrated out there with 3 under 5's and no job (although his dad's brother was there.) They had a far better standard of living than they would have been able to afford here, but it was back in the 70's

TennisFan Mon 17-Jan-11 13:18:24

You make it sound so easy to move.
We have sold our house and are in renting at the moment.
We both own a business - but I dont think we could do it over there. Apart from that i dont think we have the right skills for them.

Go, you will love it.

not1not2 Mon 17-Jan-11 13:33:53

well hre's my 2 p worth
I don't know Tauranga well but tis popular and does have nice weather, Wellington weather is mixed it is very windy when it is windy and it's windy there more than elsewhere. grin

Don't know anything about journalism or the wages but currently NZ (and I gather Oz) is horrendously expensive when compared to the UK. It ranges from clothes to shoes to and especially food. Cheap baby clothes here might be $12 whereas in Primark you would pay £1, there is a thriving second hand market! Toys are anywhere between 30 and 100% more expensive than UK usually at the higher end even things made in NZ (eg a springree trampoline) is cheaper in the UK than NZ. Petrol is currently a little cheaper $2 a litre the other thing and this is what makes the difference is that accommodation is a lot cheaper.
I have relatives in Nelson and they are all in houses around the $600,ooo dollar mark (3-5 beds) they would say more than that I think but currently prices are falling. However interest rates are around 6.5% on a domestic mortgage.
You would have to make your own mind up about schools and hospitals suffice to say you can easily find a GP who doesn't charge for an under 6 after that you're paying between 30 and 60 $ a time, recently we struggled to find a Dr who wouldn't charge us for our 2yr old, the little contact I have had with the hospital system has been unimpressive with long waits for treatment, there are some drugs that are either not used or the patient has to pay for and the GP I saw was rubbish and recommended tests which could only have served to line her pocket rather than being needed.
We have 1 dc at what is currently held to be a very good school by NZ standards and we think it thinks it is better than it is IYSWIM, our dc says the work was harder in the UK (a very average inner london state), one of the reasons we chose it was for the extra activities and we have been unimpressed. We have another at kindergarten and it is very average.

However the cost of things is really shocking bread seems to be about $2 a loaf, I need to sit down when I see the cost of veg, the meat however is good and cheap (def. better quality than UK for the price)

Nelson does have nice weather and it is certainly much cheaper for food espc. fresh stuff our rellies came from OZ and say that they like living there (easy access to beaches, walking round about etc) but find the cost and correspondingly the increased work hours hard (eg 1 worked 2-2.5 days in Oz had pool other didn't work, 1 works 3.5 the other 4 days in NZ and they moan continuously about money/costs-not particularly good budgeters though!!) I think if it's weather you want then you need to stick to North around Auckland (but not in) or Nelson.
Also public transport in not strong and people drive everywhere!

Children in NZ start school on their 5th birthday

Are you sure you'd get a job? Are you sure you'd get the nec. points to get in?
Don't underestimate the cost of living and don't underestimate the distance
TBH IMHO whether life is better depends on where you live now and how attached you are to what makes home home IYSWIM, coming from a small village I'd say you're off to a good start.

not1not2 Mon 17-Jan-11 13:39:59

Napier has nice weather
might be worth checking out

kiwifarfromhome Mon 17-Jan-11 14:07:38

I would think very carefully about the move, I love your spontaneity, but PLEASE think carefully, this is a big move for your kids.

NZ is a wonderful, awesome country, I know, I grew up there and I love my country unconditionally BUT......I think you would be silly to move there on a whim.

Cost of living is very high, houses prices are though the roof compared to wages. IMHO you can achieve a better quality of life, but for that you need to earn a good wage, and a good quality of life does not always measure up to the standard of living in the UK (iyswim).

Housing quality is not as good as the UK, shopping is dire compared to the UK, choice is limited on lots of things (funnily enough people complain about only being able to buy seasonal produce!!!!), weather can be very variable, there are plenty of social problems in NZ including gangs especially in the North Island. New Zealand does not have all the bells and whistles that the UK has. Travelling is limited on low wages, even Australia, Fiji and Asia are out of reach for lots of families, that said there is lots of beautiful spots to go camping in the summer.

You really need to look at your finances, a lot of people would struggle to support three kids on one wage. Whilst the scenery can be amazing, you can't eat it. Imagine your lifestyle in the UK and have to do it on about 2/3 of the wage you currently have now.

Having said that there are lots of ways you can cut the cost of living, growing your own veg. Cooking from scratch is a cheap way to eat, there is far less processed foods i.e ready meals but still all the takeaway foods (of course), there is not as much pressure to keep up with the Jones' although there are still parts where the car, boat, house on the beach are important. I think food is better there (but again it is what I am used to), cafe food nicer but not the high end Michelin star restaurants you may get in the UK.

Nelson is known as quite bohemian, arty, nice if you can afford it. Packed out in summer but does have lovely weather. I would strongly advise you to look at employment options before going there.

Wellington and Auckland are probably the main areas to look at work in journalism. Auckland is very expensive but wages are higher, Wellington is indeed windy but also a lovely, compact city with a great cultural buzz to it.

New Zealand is parochial, quirky and does not suit everyone, you are not going to set the world of fire living there, but it can offer an amazing quality of life. I miss it terribly, but having grown up there I am used to the pitfalls. As someone who lives away from both sides of our families, don't underestimate the value of family support.

Also think of the cost of travelling back to the UK, $10,000 might cover 5 airfares, that is a big chunk of change.

I think you really need to look at your finances and then decide if it is doable. If it is then I would definitely give it a go but research, research, research and don't look through rose tinted glasses.

Sorry, I hope this didn't come across as a lecture!

macmama Mon 17-Jan-11 14:33:16

"We don't want Wellington as we've heard it's windy and weather not great." hmm

Wellington is a fabulous place to live and bring up kids - much more compact than Auckland and lots of beaches/outdoor living PLUS a decent job market.

yes its windy but overall you will get much more sunshine there than you do in the UK (massively) and it actually rains less than Auckland.

macmama Mon 17-Jan-11 14:37:25

Agree with kiwi about cost of airfares to UK for a family of 5 – quite eye watering especially on one wage. And also remember the main time for holidays in NZ is over Xmas period that is when a lot of employers make you take your holidays – so visits to the UK might have to be in UK winter/NZ summer.

Some of the places on your list I would be worried about finding work – I don’t think you know how small a place like Nelson actually is. To my mind its a summer holiday kind of a place not somewhere to work and live year round unless you KNEW what sort of work you would be doing.

WhatSheSaid Mon 17-Jan-11 17:07:57

Blu, no you have to have be in one of the jobs listed on the skills shortages list to get into NZ. It works on a points system and you get points for age, job, relevant work experience etc.

AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 17:13:43

ookay,im feeling a little less positive after reading the last few posts.
re shopping,surely you can internet shop..im sure someone told me amazon deliver?
i didnt realise nelson was just like a holiday village.maybe a not viable then.
the gang references have worried me,i didn't know that.
airfares would be a huge chunk,but my family can afford to fly to nz regularly,and im not bothered about returning to uk.
we are reaserching as much as possible.
feeling a bit deflated now sad

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AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 17:14:31

sorry about typos ,have squirmimg baby on lap

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BeenBeta Mon 17-Jan-11 17:19:39

AngryBeaver - on the other hand you can go on a 6 month tourist visa. Take a look around and see if you like it.

We have a long term business visa and going for a year. Putting the kids in school and renting a house to see how it goes. Its only a plane ride away. At least we will have had a once in a lifetime experience.

We intend to stay but if we dont like it we will just come back.

AngryBeaver Mon 17-Jan-11 17:30:41

where are you heading to,*beenbeta*?
that was our outlook on things,take a risk,it could be wonderful..but if it's not we can come home.
feel a little less sure now.i think it's the cost of living that's scaring me.we're not materialistic people though,but its the price of food that concerns me.it's bad enough here and dh on better than average wage.

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WhatSheSaid Mon 17-Jan-11 17:31:35

Yes Amazon deliver (books and dvds/cds, not toys etc) thought the delivery charges prob take the price up to what you would pay in NZ anyway. Book Depository (online UK store) is best for books as they don't charge delvery costs. Quite a few UK high st shops deliver clothes to NZ, e.g. M+S, Next, Debenhams, quite a few others, again you are adding a 10-20 pound delivery fee on so may as well just buy here really, unless you are buying lots at once.

Wouldn't worry too much about the gang thing, seems to be concentrated in certain areas and doesn't affect most people. You just have to know which areas!

I think people from UK tend to think rural areas are always pleasant to live in whereas in NZ (espec North Island) some rural towns/villages are very poor and have social problems to go with that. Of course there are lots of lovely rural areas too - depends where you go.

I'm used to the less choice/higher prices thing now but I've been here nearly 10 years so it would be pretty strange if I wasn't used to it smile. And it's not THAT much more expensive, yeah you don't get 3 t-shirts for 2 quid a la Tesco/Asda but there are still cheap clothes around. Just not as cheap.

Is journalism/production editing on the skills shortages list?

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