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Thinking of moving to Wellington NZ - Any advice(7 Posts)
I live in London with my DH and 2 DC (8 and 12). My DH is a kiwi and is keen to go home. We have thought about it before but timing wasn't right. Things would work with my eldest being able to start secondary and my youngest going to the primary 2 minutes from his parents. He has family there and I have already received interest job wise.
I like the idea because of the lifestyle for the kids, the of size of the house we could afford and also getting away from the new national curriculum!
Guess I'm just looking to see if anyone has done it and how they found it. DH hasn't lived there for years so we have no real idea of what everyday living costs are like. Has anyone done this move with children in the same age bracket? Any advice much appreciated.
Yes, we've done it, almost 2 years ago. DD then aged 9 and DS then aged 13 but we moved to Christchurch. DD was totally up for it, DS was not. He was settled in secondary school, nice group of mates and not at all happy about going. We decided we would as we felt we needed a change but had many sleepless nights about DS not settling, what would we do if he was v.unhappy, we hated it etc. DS started high school half way through the school year, settled great, found friends and we all love it here. Academically High school a bit behind old school (but that was a super-selective grammar school), Primary School about the same BUT much more relaxed, much less pressure, much more emphasis on self-managing and being the best you can, rather than hitting targets. Lots of talk here about high rates of bullying but I've not seen it personally. DD is at small country school and that makes a difference, pet day, loads of different sporting opportunities (but at high school you have to pay if you are in football team, netball team etc). Don't know much about Wellington other than the city which I really like. Two years on, so glad we did it, wish we had done it earlier but timing wasn't right. Lots of Brits hate NZ, too far away from UK, travel costs to anywhere high, depends partly on what you like to do and where you come from. We wanted less people/queues and more land. We could never have afforded to have what we've got now and driving to school on empty roads with the sun shining on the snow of the southern alps feels me with joy.
You have to think about every eventuality. If you are thinking "we could home home if we hate it" think about university as you would be paying international fees for your dc in the uk if you decided to come home. (You have to be resident in the eu for 5 years to avoid this). That's just one example but worth considering every eventuality before you make the move.
Living costs....lots of things are more expensive, especially imports and out of season fruit and veg. We needed to change the way we shopped. Very few (decent) ready made meals like you find in good old m and s. I cook from scratch a lot more and only use in season fruit and veg which is always cheap and locally sourced. As an example lovely NZ apples were $1 per kg last week, but a pepper out of season can be $3 (50p and $1.50). There is always a sale on somewhere but bring everything and stock up on leather shoes, batteries, non prescription medicines (including nit lotion!) (under 13 are free at doctors, under 18 dentist) and anything ikea. I have struggled to find good quality mid price clothing, k.mart/warehouse are sort of primark/asda at home. M and S deliver free if order is over $50. Books are very expensive. Make sure you keep a UK iTunes account that you can use here as the same download is much cheaper in £ than dollars. House and contents insurance is much higher (more earthquake risk!), car insurance not compulsory. All in all our expenditure here on general bills is about the same.
Thanks so much for your replies. What kind of household income do you need to live a good lifestyle?
the fact that you could eat seasonally was one of the things I LOVED about NZ! You could get decent veg and fruit in shops. Outlawed in the UK, it seems, in the quest for year round supply.
Wellington sits on a fault which runs through the main route out by land. This also hosts the main power supply and water main. But then ChCh looked safe...
I am in Wellington, came 3/4 years ago with kids then aged 8,5,2. I absolutely love it.
Your motivations are similar to the ones we had, and they have been exceeded: we live in an amazing house which cost the equivalent of a 3-bed terrace in Zone 5, the children have a fantastic lifestyle, with an education system which is not pressured, and which is far more about producing rounded individuals.
Springstonchick is spot on with costs and availability of goods and the things we missed in the first month we still miss now (decent media, M&S, Waitrose, selection of clothing and household items). Some costs are eye watering such as our weekly supermarket shop, but others substantially lower: mortgage, childcare, car / transport.
Over time we have also realised that it's really, really expensive to leave the country, not just to visit UK, but also for mid-level family holidays, you can't just zip off for a cheap week in Greece or France. We therefore haven't travelled as a family as much as we'd have liked.
Another negative not much discussed is that whilst housing (outside of Auckland) is much cheaper than the UK, the build quality is generally dreadful, so houses are often really insubstantial, and built to poor building standards in terms of insulation, electrics etc.
You can look up stats for median incomes in NZ, but my feel is that a household income of $100-150k would give you a comfortable lifestyle. The job market in Welly is quite limited, so good that you're checking out already.
On re-read that all sounds a bit negative! We have a fantastic lifestyle here, interesting jobs, kids who are growing up with the beach on one side and the bush on the other, a great set of friends who made us feel part of a community very quickly.