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Chat for those living in New Zealand

(143 Posts)
Shells Tue 03-Feb-09 00:19:32

Hi everyone. Thought I might start up a new chat topic as our other ones seem to have fizzled out, especially with Christmas/holidays etc. And I think maybe there are some new faces around too.

I've got lots I'd like to chat about.
Isn't it great that school is going back grin.
Are you worried about how the recession will affect NZ?
Why did I go camping with a one year old? and other stories from the holidays.
And it would be good to hear everyone's news really.

So, just to get the ball rolling. I'm Shells, I am a Kiwi but lived in London for 18! years. Came back 2 years ago with English DH and 2 DSs (7 and 4), and now have DD who is 13 months.

Sibble Tue 03-Feb-09 01:06:28

HI Shells. What a great idea, the Aussies are always online!

I've been here 6 years from London originally. Have 2 ds's ds1 will turn 9 in 2 days (where did the time go?) and ds2 is 4, turning 5 in August when I will have a nervous breakdown on this thread about my baby starting school. lol.

I was dreading the holidays. What was I going to do for 7 weeks with 2 boys but it's absolutely flown by and I can't believe that school starts again tomorrow. We still have a list of things we had planned and are yet to do. We spent some of last week in Wellington staying with friends. I must admit that, although I visit with work, I hadn't really spent time there with the children and it's fantastic: Te Papa, great pools, the Botanic Gardens, parks etc etc...we had the best time and the weather was great for us, although it was slightly frantic as my friend has 4 children so 6 was entertaining I have to say. I'm coming down for work at the end of May and plan on enjoying the shopping next time!

We're off to the beach again for part of this weekend. West Coast, great surf beach. Then ds1 is having a sleepover party on Saturday. 6 boys including my 2. Could be worse but don't think they will be doing much sleeping, they all want to camp in the living room or ds's room in sleeping bags.

I guess we are just enjoying this fantastic summer - long may it last. In fact I was only thinking this morning the great thing about Auckland is that although you can get 4 seasons in 1 day we have yet to have the heat that Melbourne has had and are unlikely to have the snow that has house bound most of my friends and family in London overnight.
Summer in NZ really is great.

Look forward to hearing everybody else's news.

lavenderbongo Tue 03-Feb-09 08:25:32

Hi - I will be living in Wellington from the 27th of Feb so can I join in?
I think both of you (Sibble and Shells) have spoken to me before when I have posted asking for advice about moving to Wellington; Well thanks to your advice we are almost organised now for the move. However we are still working on having somewhere to live when we get theregrin. I have two dds aged 4 and 23months and we are moving as DH has got a job in Wellington.

Is the weather still going to be hot when we get there as we are wearing woolly hats, gloves and scarfs at the moment. Will I have to dig out the summer gear?

Sibble Tue 03-Feb-09 18:06:34

hi lavenderbongo. welcome. The weather will still be glorious, summer here doesn't fizzle out until the end of April usually although it can cool down of a night. You won;t be needing your snow gear grin. Re. housing having just stayed in Khandallah at my friends I can highly recommend it there. Easy bus access to town (even for an out of towner like me!), great school etc etc........

Shells Tue 03-Feb-09 18:56:45

Welcome LB. I am in Wellington - as are several other MNetters. Let us know how we can help.

The summer is just the best time to be here. Even at my most grumpy I can't deny that its fabulous!

Sounds like you had a cracking holiday Sibble. Ours was pretty packed too, but I did find it exhausting. Had 3 weeks of child-free, glamourous sister staying with me who seemed constantly amazed at the mess and chaos and general rowdiness of the children. 'I can't believe you let your children jump on the sofas' kind of thing. Ususally as she was applying more perfect make up, or choosing another fashionable outfit to wear. Sigh.
Then we went camping to Mahia (where the fire has been) which was totally lovely, but truly tiring as DD kept disappearing round corners (cackling), or walking straight into the ocean, and so couldn't take our eyes off her for a minute. Was lovely to be back in my fenced house!
Kindy back last week and school today. Yippee! The boys have had a great time, but really need the structure of school etc. again I think.

And long weekend coming up. Its not all bad is it.

WhatSheSaid Tue 03-Feb-09 23:40:49

Hi everyone, I'm still around in West Auckland, enjoying the summer, lots of trips to the park and beach with dd (now 15 months).

Schools going back good for me as it means playgroups starting up again so an opportunity for dd to wear herself out for a couple of hours. Rather like your dd, Shells, she is now alarmingly mobile - we have been to a couple of music-in-the-park things and she just takes off into the crowd without so much as a backwards glance at us!

We have mil and step fil arriving on Saturday from UK, here for about 4 weeks but not with us the whole time. Dh and I might actually get a couple of evenings out together. We have been out together (in the evening) twice since she was born though we go out a lot separately.

2toddlersandme Wed 04-Feb-09 02:42:45


I am currently a bit of an interloper as will not be permanently in NZ until next Oct but we are in Auckland for the next couple of weeks doing a recce. Been dragging my twins (aged 2) round different areas of Auckland. Went to Herne Bay this morning which was great but ruled out on the grounds of being too yummy mummy (I'd need a whole new wardrobe and bank account grin). Plus not sure we'd be welcome after the lovely suburban quiet was disturbed by both of them tantruming (but not at the same time - there's some sort of twin law never to give you 2 minutes of peace!!).

Also trying to get to grips with childcare (20 free hours doesn't seem that 'free' in some parts of Auckland). And DH is trying to get a job (he's meeting some economists tomorrow so may be able to answer that question about the recession Shells).

Loving hearing what everyone is up to over the Summer. We are all loving swimming in the sea and the beaches. And getting v excited about visiting all the places we've never been. Although slightly daunted about organising the move - whether I'll ever make any friends etc.

Anyway, DH needs the laptop to research for his meeting and I need to referee a dispute re. the ownership of Thomas (the tank engine in case there was any doubt).

Look forward to chatting more...

WhatSheSaid Wed 04-Feb-09 03:54:12

2toddlersandme if you like Herne Bay but find it a bit too yummy mummy, you may prefer the surrounding suburbs - Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Westmere, Western Springs, Point Chev. All very nice and loads of families with young kids. If you're investigating Grey Lynn go to the park and check out the free outdoor toddlers paddling pool, it's fab.

2toddlersandme Wed 04-Feb-09 05:47:04

Thanks what she said - that's really helpful. I'll check them out. We're looking for somewhere that's definitely got a community of young families & I'd like to be near the water if possible. We've looked at the Eastern Bay area which also seems really nice (apart from today - there's been a sewage spillage into the sea because of the power cut!). Nowhere seems to have much of a garden though - is this pretty normal?

yawningmonster Wed 04-Feb-09 06:44:10

Hi I am in CHCH. I have a ds who is 4.4 and a baby due on the first of May. The summer here has been fantastic. We are very much an outdoor family and are all kiwi born and bred. We have been doing loads over the holidays as I am not yet too big to cope, it is the last year ds will be free to go places like the wildlife parks and it is the last year I will only have one to cope with out and about. On the whole it has been great but very thankful for Playcentre starting up and going back to work 2 days a week while ds is with a childminder (similar set up to Porse but specific to the area we are in)

WhatSheSaid Wed 04-Feb-09 06:50:32

Traditionally a Kiwi house was built on a quarter acre section - but over the years most people have subdivided the section and sold half of it off for another house and garden. Some places still have bigger gardens but not many that close to the centre of the city.

The Eastern Bays are nice too, and the North Shore has loads of nice beaches and tons of British expats. It can be a pita to get over the bridge every day though, unless you live in a suburb with a ferry to town.

Of the other suburbs I mentioned only Point Chev has a beach (I think). It's a lovely beach though I think they import the sand there. There are loads of parks everywhere though - it's a very green city.

buzzybee Wed 04-Feb-09 08:04:30

Hi Shells - aren't you good!
Hi everyone else too grin

I'm buzzybee, a kiwi from Wellington who's had 2 stints living overseas: in Geneva in the mid 1990s and in London 2000-2003. I'm a single mum to 2 girls, DD1 aged almost 7 and DD2 aged 13 months. The 6yo spends 1 week out of 2 with her father. I co-own a childcare centre in Johnsonville, but work in the CBD 4 days a week.

I must admit I'm a bit concerned at how DD1 will adapt to going back to school. She's just adored the lack of structure over the holidays. I can see her becoming more and more rebellious as she gets older. Her father will say "pack her off to boarding school" and I think she would agree but only if its Hogwarts!!

We had 2 very pleasant breaks away which were pretty relaxing on the whole. Despite also having a 13 mo DD I'm blessed with her being a little less mobile as yet. [In fact I don't think she's going to be a big climber which is a huge relief.] We went to Motueka and rented a house for 5 days then to the Wairarapa and camped out at a cousin's house while they were away for 3 days. Both fantastic in their own ways and mercifully quite cheap...

I'm trying to be positive about the recession and hope that Wellington will be largely insulated by the presence of Govt here. My main concern is for the families at our childcare centre.

2toddlersandme Wed 04-Feb-09 18:01:21

Thanks again - we have another 10 days to explore. Think where we end up will depend on what's out there to rent when we come over as we'll only have 3 weeks to find something.

The estate agent we met with said rental prices are going down in Auckland in line with house prices. But seems to be where we were in the UK in the Summer with people still loathe to accept offers on houses.

Would love to hear all about camping trips/holidays with kids. We're going to bring our tent over (ashamed to say only used once when the kids were 10 months - camping in May in the Peak District was so cold I just didn't want to go back!).

Wish your childcare centre was in Auckland buzzybee. Any tips for finding smg good here?

Any plans for Waitangi Day?

buzzybee Thu 05-Feb-09 06:42:06

Hi 2toddlersandme - sorry not sure I can be of much assistance re childcare in Auckland. I'd be surprised to find many childcare centres in central Auckland provide 20 hours free. All it really means is a higher rate of funding for 3 and 4 year olds from the Govt than for 2 year olds. Whether a particular centre can then afford to translate this into free childcare for those hours depends on their particular cost structure. Better quality providers will have higher teacher:child ratios which will typically make "free" unaffordable. The subsidy provided by the Govt is on the basis of 1:10 for pre-schoolers - but at our childcare centre for example we aim for about 1:5 or 1:6. There can also be huge differences in overhead costs such as rent and I would imagine that Auckland would be really bad for this. Kindergartens tend to have no rent and ratios around 1:15 so they mostly do offer 20 hours free. The key thing to remember though is that even if you do still have to pay something it is a lot less than before the "20 hours free" policy was introduced - just have a look at the rates charged for babies compared against 3 and 4 yos.

My advice would be to put your name down on about 6 "good" childcare centres' waiting lists and if your name doesn't come up before you arrive in NZ consider using a PORSE nanny (have a look at their website).

2toddlersandme Thu 05-Feb-09 08:34:14

Thanks buzzybee. Really helpful.

Sorry everyone - didn't mean to hijack the thread with my moving preoccupations.

How's everyone doing? grin

twentypence Thu 05-Feb-09 08:56:11

I've seen that some nannies in ChCh do 20 hours free - not sure about Auckland. Also I think Barnados Home Based Educators do nationwide.

Shells Thu 05-Feb-09 17:50:57

Happy Waitangi Day everyone. Hope you've got nice days planned. Hi Buzzybee, yawningmonster, twentypence, whatshesaid, 2toddlers. I'm sure there are some more of us....

DD has been up since 5.45 - her usual wake up time.
2toddlers - are you going to be working? Don't rule out kindy or playcentre. both excellent childcare options - and possible with p/t work, but a little harder to arrange.

twentypence Thu 05-Feb-09 18:08:52

Happy Waitangi day Shells. Ds went to Sparks in the Park yesterday - got home at 11pm. Doubt he'll surface much before 9am. Hurrah!

2toddlersandme Fri 06-Feb-09 01:04:13

Just been to Waitangi celebrations at Orekei, great but had to leave as just too hot...

I'll be working full time Shells - not something I've (or DH) has done since having the children. There will be some flexibility, but not enough for kindy I don't think unfortunately. Went to Birkenhead on the North shore yesterday and really liked it - childcare also seems to be about half the price of East Bays. But haven't found one I'm happy with yet. Will check out home options as well (although they do need to spend time with other children otherwise their relationship becomes a bit too 'intense' shall we say!).

Sorry to hear about the 5.45 wake ups - DS has just about grown out of these (although it must be 21/2 years since I slept past 7am!).

Hope your ds had a lie in twenty pence grin.

yawningmonster Fri 06-Feb-09 01:59:13

Hi everyone, happy Waitangi Day. DH has just taken ds to choose a movie from the vid store so I have 5 minutes respite...have had a bit of a shocker night and day but gorgeous weather here today. Had a 5.30 wake up call here as well, ds usually goes to 6 but must have sensed that I had a rotten night or something. Hope the weather everywhere else is lovely...we are off to Kairaki Beach tomorrow (near Kaiapoi) to stay our friends caravan for the rest of the long weekend (DH has Monday off as wel) It is a devine spot and can't wait. 2TandM, I lived in Birkenhead for a while as a child and went to Birkenhead is a lovely area and prob will be a bit cheaper than East Coast Bays as further from the beaches. Not sure what Devonport prices are like but it was a nice area when I was young and can get boat accross rather than using motorway to commute.

WhatSheSaid Fri 06-Feb-09 05:25:38

What is it with the 5.30 wake ups today? Dd normally goes through till 6.30-7 but today was 5.30 and it was dark! Dh was staying at a friends after a night out so I had her on my own till 11.30 when he arrived back, however I then headed off for a few hours time to myself.

Went to see "Slumdog Millionaire" (very good) - bit of a shame to be inside on such a lovely day but it really was incredibly hot and the air-conditioning in the cinema was incredibly nice.

Took dd to beach when I got back and she's now on the deck lapping water from a bowl like a dog while I MN. Not the actual dog's bowl, I hasten to add. She seems happy. PIL arriving tomorrow so am half-heartedly sorting the house out a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

buzzybee Fri 06-Feb-09 07:03:23

Hmmmm, well we wandered around Wellington's waterfront marvelling at the weird and wonderful Sevens costumes. Very blustery here though which is a bit of a shame.

Since moving DD back to formula for her bedtime drink she's mercifully become a reformed sleeper - this morning until after 9am! (sorry mumbles guiltily)

2toddlers, from what I've heard PORSE do try and encourage their nannies to take kids to playcentre etc to get the social contact.
Having said that I'm rather biased towards childcare as its more structured, you know the teachers are qualified, follow a curriculum, and are supervised. So I guess what I was suggesting is considering a nanny from someone like PORSE only as an interim measure until you found full time childcare you were happy with

Sibble Fri 06-Feb-09 18:17:08

Hi All. Well we had a fantastic day too. Headed to the beach as planned spent the day in the surf, catching crabs, walking along the beach. There was a surf comp on which was great fun. Caught up with friends for lunch and dinner. At the last minute decided not to stay but head back late last night with 2 very exhausted boys who are still asleep shock. Usual wake time 5.30 (must be a kiwi thing!)

Today ds1's sleepover party so I need to shop for 6 very hungry boys and start baking!

MrsJohnCusack Sat 07-Feb-09 06:09:51

Hello! I am not really posting at the moment, but will make an exception for Living Overseas thread

twentypence, meant to say I catted beansmum with my details before I saw your message, thought I'd wait until I heard back from her and then give her your details as well - haven't heard a thing though so maybe she hasn't looked at her email or something. Maybe she'll see this thread

er and that's it really. Boiling hot. V.busy on house bits and bobs as I am in the mood for Doing Stuff. Had a great Christmas - one of my best friends from the UK came over (from Beijing, where she's a diplomat) and we had SUCH a lovely time. she chilled out and entertained the children over Christmas whilst I was ill, and we also did swimming with dolphins, and then had 2 nights in Kaikoura doing whale watching etc.; the weather was fab and it was lovely to catch up properly with her - oh it was so nice. And I loved showing off NZ to her too. Also went to Wellington to see my sister with just DD. We had a great trip to Paekakariki (sp) - WHAT a great beach. IN fact we've just been going to beach pretty much all the time - I have done a lot of mooching along them by myself as well, taking photos and collecting shells - my dream come true really, being able to do that 15 mins from my house.

glad DS enjoyed Sparks twentypence - I enjoyed it too, especially getting to shove off at the interval!

yawningmonster, sorry I have not replied. I can't believe your new baby is so soon! How very exciting. I am lobbying DH for no.3, time frame when DS is about 4ish so in 2 years or so. I think I'll wear him down (except probably by the time I have I'll ahve changed my mind...)

whuneedsleep Sat 07-Feb-09 07:47:13

Hi Everyone,
I hope you don't mind me crashing your site, but I am travelling to NZ in a couple of weeks and I just wanted to ask if there is any SMA formula in NZ? I have heard that they do HEinz nurture, but wasn't too keen to have to change DS formula. Also any tips for the long flight with a 5 month oldgrin

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