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Level with me on NZ!

(42 Posts)
FrankCarsonsDressingRoom Thu 03-Apr-14 17:00:08

I read too many conflicting reports re Rome, cost, weather etc etc. I never know if these are whinging Pom reports!

I'd like to go. Husband would already have senior job sorted.

Anybody done this with kids? We prefer a less materialistic, less boozy and more outdoorsy lifestyle for our kids but are not particularly sporty ourselves....kind of bookish hippies.

chloeb2002 Thu 03-Apr-14 21:43:03

Not sure about less boozy!
We are across the pond but I have several good kiwi pals!dh works over there quite often.
They all like a beer /wine! Nz grows great grapes! wink
However life is what you make it. Of you want to be outside.. Head out... Better climate probably on north island but still have winters! (We are qld ) grin
Loads of kids stuff amazing playgrounds all over!

Sibble Fri 04-Apr-14 04:56:06

We are in Auckland and have been here for about 11 years (could be 12 have lost count!) It depends on where you live and what you make of it. I think it is less materialistic but my boys (9 and 14) are still into playstation, ipods and computer games. They don't however have mobile phones, they both play sport and we do alot of walking, paddleboarding, things as a family. Activities IMO are more accessible and cheaper than in the UK. NB I wouldn't say we are a true 'outdoorsy' family. Some pockets of Auckland are very arty, hippyish and some are very 'sloany'. There's something for all. North, South, East and West Auckland are very distinct.

The weather is definitely better than the UK especially around Auckland where you can pretty much guarantee 4-5 months of sun (mid 20s), change of seasons and sometimes a frost in winter (it does rain alot). The south island has colder winters but still warm in summer.

The cost of living is high and to get on the housing market is difficult but if you are on a good salary and arrive with a deposit it is all manageable. We spend our money differently to friends and family in the UK. We rarely eat out, buy take aways etc... we prepare meals from scratch, have friends over for BBQs etc,... Less materialistic expenditure and more lifestyle (we have friends who inherited their parents furniture 30 years ago and still have it! A bit extreme but they spend their money on other things.

The move has been good for us. It is however a long way and there are downsides.It doesn't suit everybody here. If you come it will be what you make of it.

I say to everybody that asks, give it a go, what have you got to lose. What's thought to be the worst thing - you come hate it and go back. Not the end of the world. What's the best thing, you come love it and never look back. What's worse imo you don't do anything and spend the rest of your life thinking what if...

Long winded but putting off mowing the lawns haha grin

Sibble Fri 04-Apr-14 04:58:13

Oh and less boozy - teenagers, youth are youth all over the world. Drink, drugs and binge drinking are problems here too. Again that depends on your child and who knows how they will turn out!

Ecclefechan Fri 04-Apr-14 05:24:56

"a less materialistic, less boozy and more outdoorsy lifestyle for our kids but are not particularly sporty ourselves"

you can have that in the UK, you know. We have these things called forests and woods and mountains and beaches and parks and playing fields and rivers and lakes ...

lavenderbongo Fri 04-Apr-14 05:51:03

Not like in NZ though Eccle. We've got actual wilderness here!

kiwiscantfly Fri 04-Apr-14 06:03:56

We came home to NZ after 8 years in the UK and I'd say it is less boozy, you don't go and hang out in pubs for hours and hours, and you certainly don't take kids to pubs. There are restaurants and a great cafe culture, which is nice, but I do miss a Sunday roast in a pub!

Yes things are expensive, but I agree, once you get into eating and cooking seasonally things are fine. We don't go out half as much as we used to, nor do we get as many takeaways (lack of delivery options where I live).

The housing deposit has just been raised to 20% here which is causing some people a worry! a bit like it was doing in the UK in 2012.

I'm very pleased we came home (even when I take family out of the equation).

And yes things seem more outdoorsy, and hey it's early April (early autumn) and the temp today was around 23c!

Kakaka Fri 04-Apr-14 06:28:29

For us the difference is in how easy it is to do outdoors stuff. In Auckland we live 5 mins from the beach, 5 mins from a nature reserve and 25 mins from the city centre. You can park everywhere - although the city centre is a bit pricey at $5 for half an hour during the week. Most places parking is free though. Things are generally less crowded so you can go to festivals, events, shows etc generally without a problem. We're not sporty types but we spend much more time outdoors here.

The weather in Auckland is generally pretty good for 4/5 months. But even in winter the days are longer and you tend not to get days of endless rain. It'll rain for a while, then the sun will come out and you can go out if you want.

The downsides are expensive, crap housing and lack of choice in stuff to buy, which is all expensive too. House prices have increased a lot in the last few years and you won't get a decent family house in central Auckland for much under $1M these days. But if you go slightly further out things do get cheaper. Have a look on

It's also very far. Flights from NZ to the UK are more expensive than the other way round and, as you tend to have less disposable income, they are harder to afford.

Emigration can be hard. Even when you do it by accident. :-) But I have learn't an awful lot by being here and our quality of life is so much better.

JellyTipisthebest Fri 04-Apr-14 06:42:48

We moved here a year ago and love it, people don't seam to eat out much in restaurants, but that might be quake related. I am not into sport or wasn't. I enjoyed watching my younger one play rugby last year and this year my big one is playing hockey. Taking the kids to watch rugby is much cheaper here and lots of the local team are also all Blacks.

Do you have any specific questions? the climate is different depending where you live. I never had more than a fleas on last winter, but then we had just come from a uk winter. its doesn't seam to rain much compared to south west uk. Last winter we think if we had had central heater there was maybe a mouth when we would have put it on. We have 2 heat pumps which seams to be enough most of the time. we did have a oil radiator as top up a few days last year but we were learning how to use the heat pumps.

OuterFromOutersville Fri 04-Apr-14 07:13:49

Oh, I (quite possibly) want to emigrate to Wellington. Stop it you lot grin.

It always hits me when we drive anywhere in the UK - you're not driving through the wilderness like you would be in NZ, you're driving past square forests, and power stations confused...

DH and I have considered emigrating once seriously a few years ago, and might be about to consider it again. Eek!

FrankCarsonsDressingRoom Fri 04-Apr-14 08:15:03

We're scottish, (so familiar with those things called mountains and forests, thanks ecclefechan smile ) but live in glasgow which has increasingly getting on my nerves (polluted, generally bad schools, poor weather). We were originally looking at moving to the borders until my husband was approached about this job.

Shopping terms of being expensive, well, how expensive?
What are the schools like?
We're not big shoppers really 2x scruffy parents * two boys = rare shopping trips. I can't remember the last time we all went shopping together of a Saturday tbh. I pick up the boys stuff in batches, so if I can bet hold ,of decent kids clothes, and maybe the odd book, then it's fine for me on the shopping front.

We cook from scratch anyway so if fruit n veg n fish n teabags are cheapish, then we'd be sorted. Is fish expensive? (We think its ridiculous in uk but we loved n Spain for years so were quite spoiled on the food front)

My son has just turned four so were looking at schools now, and info would be great. Are they all hot on uniform like they used to be?!

Finally. The job is in Hamilton. Suggestions on where to love would be awesome!

shelscrape Fri 04-Apr-14 08:23:32

We've been in NZ for about 3 1/2 years now, we moved here when DS had just turned 6. We live in Northland, the climate is much better than in the uk, DS wears shorts all year round to school. Snow is unheard of here, but places on the South Island have weather more comparable to the uk.

Children have a lot more freedom here than in the uk, sport is more prevalent amongst kids too. Put it this way, a child is considered odd if they don't do sport.

We don't regret the move at all

Kakaka Fri 04-Apr-14 08:40:47

Things like white goods are expensive. Books are ridiculous but just get yourself a kindle and set up a UK amazon account and that is solved. Marks and Spencers do free international delivery most of the time which is good for kids clothes.

But I think in the UK, we were used to very cheap stuff. Here stuff just costs more most of the time. There is no IKEA for furniture is expensive. Have a look at for prices but be aware the quality is a bit shit.

The big difference I noticed to Scotland was how respectful and positive people here are. Have you been for a visit?

Paddingtonblue Fri 04-Apr-14 08:58:08

We moved back to NZ about 6 years ago after a decade in the UK and I do still tend to do bulk clothes shopping for the boys on M&S and get it sent here, clothes are much more expensive and of a lesser quality. With hindsight, I would have stocked up on cotton bedding - polycotton is king here for some unfathomable reason. The greater expense on the majority of things can be explained by economies of scale.
If you cook from scratch then you are sweet. If you go to farmers markets or even just local fruit and veg stores then the prices aren't that much worse than the UK. Supermarket produce is pretty but bland and overpriced. There is more of a reliance on seasonal produce here which isn't a bad thing. And the seafood is great, plentiful and fairly inexpensive. There are also fresh fish delivery companies operating in most places which are fab. Eating out is more expensive.
Most schools have uniform but it is normally t-shirt and shorts. Again, I bulk ordered M&S sports shorts at a fraction the price.
Books are tear jerkingly expensive. If you can't quite imagine yourself curling up with a Kindle, then befriend your local library or get to know Book Depository.
Life is just easier here, more space and cleaner air. It is the other side of the world, I miss a greater sense of history but I can't imagine a better place to bring up my children.

Sibble Fri 04-Apr-14 09:35:27

Hmmmm Hamilton - not the mecca of NZ. Have a look at Cambridge, commutable and nice. Raglan, surf beach, might be a bit far out but I know people who commute.

FrankCarsonsDressingRoom Fri 04-Apr-14 10:25:07

Yes, we really like cambridge, and liked the look of raglan too but think its too far? Commutings one of the reason we're leaving!

Shorts all year round? I'd no idea it was so warm!

Re books, yes, we're all kindled up so that's ok...I was more concerned about children's books etc....

WhatSheSaid Fri 04-Apr-14 20:28:37

Children's books (or adults), just use , UK prices and free delivery. We use our library loads too - and we can download ebooks and audiobooks from it as well as getting out printed books.

Sibble Fri 04-Apr-14 20:36:04

We use libraries for most of our books. I also belong to a book club so have access to lots but only need to buy a few a year. We use the book depositary and ds1 who's 14 now reads on line. We also buy alot from book fairs. Everything is doable...

Re schooling. We have been pleased with primary schools on the whole. Secondary - different story and zoning is an issue. I have been the biggest skeptic of the NZQA system and sent ds1 to a private school which did Cambridge exams. He was desperately unhappy, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. We managed to get him into a NZ state school as an out of zoner this year at year 10 and he is a completely different child. The more relaxed, vocational subject choice really suits him. I am no longe a skeptic (he's doing outdoor leadership (like Duke of Edinburgh) - great for his confidence; electronics (computing, physics etc...) and business studies) rather than music, drama, art, design and Chinese. Most schools have a uniform, hats are compulsory in summer.

Fish is reasonable and having boys we go fishing a few times a month and catch our own.

Shopping is dire - either cheap and nasty or lovely but expensive. We are on good salaries but I buy on-line, from the UK or second hand designer (last season - who cares!). My one non-compromise are the boys shoes - over $100/pair as ds1 has problems with his feet!

lavenderbongo Fri 04-Apr-14 20:54:11

Hi. We moved here five years ago and have never regretted it. My girls were almost 2 and 4yrs when we moved and are now proper little kiwis.

I have absolutely no regrets. I love the outdoor life. We live two minutes from the beach have cut our commutes from 4hours each day to just 25minutes on the train. We have a much better work life balance.

Primary school are great. Kids love it. Academically I personally think its better than the UK. I teach at secondary level and I think the NZQA is not the disimilar to GCSE and A Level.

Shopping is dire and dont move here to be rich. Saying that we have a much better standard of living than in th UK. No big screen TVs or fancy electronic gear/or posh car but a much bigger house and garden in a great area.

FrankCarsonsDressingRoom Fri 04-Apr-14 21:59:59

The more I read, the more I want to go.... I hope he gets the job!

sibble are there catchment issues?
lavenderbingo .... Will electrical goods work ok? Just talking tellies and DVD....

I read that cambridge is not particularly friendly....big social divisions that true? Are there any other towns I'm missing..?

lavenderbongo Sat 05-Apr-14 01:53:37

We brought the tv and stereo with us and theyy work fine obviously with plug adapters.

ZacharyQuack Sat 05-Apr-14 02:14:19

Electricity is the same voltage as the UK but the plugs are a different shape. Either use adapters or just replace the plugs.

50ShadesofGreyMatter Sat 05-Apr-14 02:38:52

Auckland is really almost a different country to the rest of nz in a lot of ways (pom, been here 28 years, raised 3 kids to adulthood here).

Hamilton, Cambridge areas may not have the school zoning restrictions that Auckland has but I don't know for sure. as well as selling everything also has a message board, asking area specific questions on there could help, otherwise I could poss find out more info re that area if you get stuck.

kiwiscantfly Sat 05-Apr-14 02:41:59

The Tron (what we locals call Hamilton!) I went to uni here, got a job here and then moved to Cambridge before we came to the UK. Now we're back, and there's been so much growth. If DH's job was on the southern side of Hamilton (it's not) we'd live in Cambridge for sure though, we made heaps of friends through football, and I think it's a great small town.

I think Hamilton is very underrated, and one of the main reasons is NZers love a beach, and it's a landlocked city. I love the river (reminds me of The Thames). It is a proper city 150 000, ten (soon to be eleven) secondary schools, two of which are private, and another two catholic (one boys, one girls), loads of good primaries.

One of the other good things about Hamilton is that it's close to everywhere, beaches, mountains, Auckland, etc. We also have an awesome balloon festival every autumn, it was a couple of weeks ago and just amazing!

Ps I don't work for the tourist board, I just don't get it why people get so down on the place, lol.

kiwiscantfly Sat 05-Apr-14 02:42:52

Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

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