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moving to Christchurch

(16 Posts)
notfarmingatthemo Sun 29-Apr-12 22:09:56

We are at the just looking into stay and would welcome any advice/tips. Dh would be a skilled migrant. We have 2 dd aged 6 and 10

notfarmingatthemo Sun 29-Apr-12 22:12:23

I have lots of little questions dd age in years 1 and 5 in the uk what years would the be in Nz. Where is good to live? Is it best to rent from the uk or is there another option? Any tips on choosing schools?

LillianGish Mon 30-Apr-12 15:41:25

Why Christchurch? I have a good friend living there and it is in a terrible state after the earthquakes. Lots of people have left or are trying to leave. Slightly surprised that you would choose to move there.

notfarmingatthemo Tue 01-May-12 07:06:53

I have a friend in the local ish area and that is where most of the work is for my dh. He is a quantity surveyor. So it need to be commutable to Christchrch

juniperinNZ Mon 07-May-12 01:49:00

Hi, we live in Christchurch. We moved out here at the beginning of January and we love it here. I have a 4 year old, 2 year old and a 5 week old (who is officially a kiwi!), and we haven't had any trouble settling here. Yes, there has been several earthquakes which has meant the city centre is cordoned off and there has been a lot of damage to old buildings and many houses to the east of the city. However, it is a big place, and most of the city is open and working - in fact in many parts you wouldn't know anything had happened. We have lots of malls here that you can go to for shopping, so we don't miss being able to go into the centre. There is also a lot to do here, far more than in the uk where we lived (Gloucester). Hagley Park is fantastic, with huge play area, paddling pool and lots of gardens for the kids to explore (my 4 year old calls the NZ gardens "the jungle"!), and through Nov to March there is an event on there pretty much every weekend. The beach is a 15 minute drive from us, and we have year membership to Orana wildlife park and Willowbank reserve (google them) for only $50 each for a whole year - at Orana my kids love hand feeding the giraffes - all less than half an hour from the centre, so we go out there a lot. Banks Peninsular is beautiful, and 20 mins from our house takes us up the Port Hills with stunning views across Christchurch to the Alps one side and various bays the other side. I could go on and on...!
We missed the major earthquakes, but you will feel some shakes here, but they are becoming less and less - we've only felt about 3 little ones in the last month, and my kids don't even notice them. All kids here are taught what to do if there is one, as they are in the rest of NZ. Yes there could be another big one (although apparently unlikely) but the buildings have been assessed here and anything that wasn't up to code has been cordoned off or already restrengthened, so we do feel safe - despite two fairly big ones since the feb earthquakes no one else has died, which shows the precautions that have been taken. Don't listen to people who say it's a horrible place to live in (mainly seems to be people who don't live here!) - listen to the people who live here - the other expats we know love it here too, and we have met lots of people that have moved from other places in NZ to here and love it too. Most people you talk to around Christchurch are very proud of where they live and have no intention of leaving.
We live in St Albans, which is north of the CBD and very nice and has nice schools. There are lots of nice suburbs about, which I can list some of if you like, but I would stay in a motel when you first get here and have a look around to get an idea of where you like. We were lucky and managed to get a nice rental within a week of looking, but you really do have to be here to see them, don't try from uk, as some can be very dated, bit damp etc - have a look on trademe.co.nz for an idea.
Kids start school here on their 5th birthday and go into year 1 - the school year runs from January to December. Most schools have a website which gives you an idea, but they do have quite strict zoning here for schools so you do really need to decide on an area first. My daughter will most likely go to St Albans school next year. Schools don't have ofsted here, but have a decile rating between 1-10, this shows the social make up of the area but exam results etc don't have any effect on these.
Lots of work for a QS here!
Any more questions don't hesitate to ask!

beansmum Mon 07-May-12 02:08:25

I'm in Christchurch, have been here through all the earthquakes. It has really settled down now and feels mostly back to normal. I'm in Ilam, to the west of the city centre and around here you wouldn't know anything had happened. The city centre is still closed but that just means businesses have moved elsewhere in Christchurch.

We moved here from the UK about 4 years ago and managed to rent something before we arrived - on trademe. I knew which school I wanted ds to go to (I'm a student, so I just picked the nearest school to uni) and looked for flats within the school zone. Renting might be a bit trickier now in some areas, with people out of their houses while they wait for repairs etc.

If you do rent something from the UK make sure you get a house with some kind of heating - it gets cold here in the winter. We had ice on the inside of our windows last year, until the landlord put a heatpump in.

Christchurch is great, don't be put off by the earthquake stuff. There is still lots going on, I think people have been making an extra effort with some venues shut down, so there always seems to be something happening.

(Move to Ilam - it's lovely, and Ilam school is brilliant.)

juniperinNZ Mon 07-May-12 07:47:34

Rental situation is a bit mad at the moment as demand outstrips supply since the earthquake. I doubt you'd be able to rent anywhere from the UK, as they have "open days" here often, which last about half an hour. It's quite common for at least 15+ people to attend each one, then they select the best tenant from those who apply, so they would probably not rent to someone they hadn't met. Having said that, if you're not really picky about where you want to live then you should be able to find somewhere when you get here, and Christchurch is a really easy city to drive around (despite all the roadworks!). We were lucky and managed to get in to see our rental before the open day, and they liked us and rented to us,so it's worth trying that!

notfarmingatthemo Wed 09-May-12 16:47:40

Thanks not put off by the earthquakes. Looks like it might happen dh has had lots of skype calls and phone calls with agencies. There is one who is in th uk at the moment recruiting. He is a few hours away, we are planing to try and meet up with him this month.
Had an estate agent round to talk about renting out house out, he was very positive, He is a friend so we trust what he said. We need to do a few tiny things to the house but that it.
We are targeting Feb 2013 so the kids can start school near the beginning of term

FeijoaVodkaPlease Mon 14-May-12 10:20:14

My parents still live in Chch and by all accounts the earthquakes are no where as bad as they were in the months after the big one. It also helps they live in the SE suburbs where there was little damage.

In a way the fact you are coming into the city in it's current state and not before it was trashed may help in a strange way. It'll be less of a shock if that makes sense. I know that the next time I get back there will be very strange and upsetting as it will be the first time I've seen it in it's current state. In my head it's still in it's pre-quake state.

Sorry I can't be more help. I haven't lived there in many years.

juniperinNZ Fri 25-May-12 12:05:43

Totally agree with you Feijoa, it is much easier for us seeing the city like it is than it is for many people here as we had never been here before we moved in January, so don't miss what we never saw. It is hard seeing ruined buildings etc and seeing pics of what it was like, however there are lots of empty spaces where buildings have been demolished that we don't know what was there before, but for those who knew what the city looked like before could be pretty devastating.

Weta Fri 25-May-12 17:02:57

It's funny though - we lived in Chch for 5 years and went back in December, and it's amazing how you forget what used to be there. It was very emotional of course though. But even my friends who live there find it hard to remember individual buildings, except for the big landmarks of course.

notfarmingatthemo Wed 24-Oct-12 13:30:16

Hi all, I thought I might update you. We have put in our visa applications in. Immigration have now come back and asked for more info about me, I have arthritis. We are hopeful we may get visa before Christmas. We have looked at flights, movers. We are stuck at the moment as we can't do anything else until we get visas. Scary but exciting

diamondsagirlsbestfriend Wed 24-Oct-12 13:51:58

Hi, I hope it all works out for you notfarmingatthemo, NZ is an amazing place to grow up the south island especially, i am greatful that i got to

Can i suggest to all of you that live in the south island that you check out puzzling world in wanaka, i still remember it from going there as a kid, was fantastic smile

juniperinNZ Thu 25-Oct-12 11:08:52

Good luck with it all - hopefully see you here soon! We found immigration pretty slow, worth giving them a ring every so often to push smile
Thanks for tip diamondsagirlsbestfriend, were thinking of going that way over christmas break, will check it out if we do!

juniperinNZ Thu 25-Oct-12 11:23:54

My husband had a work do tonight with lots of local construction etc firms and they were saying they are absolutely desperate for Quantity Surveyors, so you're coming at the right time!

notfarmingatthemo Thu 25-Oct-12 20:09:43

Thanks for that juniperinNZ Dh has a job in NZ (contact signed and returned) so we are really lucky. That seams to has speeded up everything. He got job offer just after we put EOI. which meant the ours got picked in the next batch. We but the Visa applications in on 12th September.
We are going to rent a bach when we first get there. But then not sure what has to happen first. House or school. I want my dds 7 and 11 to go to local schools. Anyone have any tips. How important is it to also look at high school

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