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Hamilton New Zealand

(13 Posts)
Libra Tue 04-Aug-09 20:38:03

Hi. I am flying out to Hamilton later on this month for a job interview. This has all come as a bit of surprise - I have been applying for jobs, if you see what I mean, rather than looking for employment in NZ, but the job came up and they are flying me out there for an interview (!!!)

So - can anyone help with what I should expect in Hamilton? How cold will it be in August?

What should I check out (I will be there five days) in order to see whether NZ and Hamilton will be a possibility for us?

Many thanks

jkklpu Tue 04-Aug-09 20:43:38

Some info on here
ukinnewzealand.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/living-in-new-zealand/

I'm sure there must be local forums you could find on Google to contact people who have made the move in the last few years or places where you can ask about schools, health service, employment opps, etc.

I guess you've already looked at www.nzembassy.com/topic.cfm?c=14&l=56&s=to

All sounds amazingly exciting. Best of luck.

Libra Tue 04-Aug-09 20:52:57

Many thanks. It's an interview at the university - does anybody how academic life in NZ compares to the UK?

WhatSheSaid Tue 04-Aug-09 20:56:17

Google "British expat" and "expat forum" and go to NZ sections- be warned, some of the people on those forums are very negative about NZ though!

I've lived in N z (in Auckland) for 8 years and like it very much.LIke everywhere, it has good and bad, but mostly good imo. Hamilton has the reputation of being a bit dull but perfectly nice really and a good place for families.It is NZ's 4th biggest city (or maybe 5th) but is seen as a bit "small town". NZ cities are quite small by UK comparisons though. Hamilton is only about an hour and a half from Auckland and is inland, unlike other NZ cities. Sea is a 45 min drive, there is a cool little town Raglan with great surf beaches due west of Hamilton

Have to go and get dd dressed, back later.Sibble may be along with more info than me, I think her dh is originally from Hamilton.

Yes it may still be chilly in August at nights, prob OK in the day. In Auckland it's about 16 in the day and 7 at night at the mo and Hamilton is around the same temps or a degree or two lower. ALmost nowhere has central heating here so be prepared.

Libra Tue 04-Aug-09 21:08:34

Excellent, many thanks.
Am sitting in Paris at the moment sweltering, so the idea that I have to dig out the pyjamas for my trip is a bit wierd!

Not a problem with Hamilton being small town - we live in a very small village at the moment, so would not be wanting a big metropolis anyway.

I have had a look at some of the expat forums and feel that some of those people had some very unrealistic expectations to start with.

It's slightly different with me because we weren't considering emigration. It is simply that I am looking for a new academic job and I suppose the academic job market is very international. Can't believe they are actually flying me over for an interview though - I thought it would be a complex video conferencing event!

WhatSheSaid Tue 04-Aug-09 21:52:55

How long would the job be for? I didn't intend to emigrate either, I came here on a year's working holiday visa and never left.

I agree about unrealistic expectations on expat forums - some people just seem to expect a Little Britain with sunshine and cheaper houses. They seem amazed when they come across any of the normal everyday difficulties you get anywhere.

I can't advise about schooling as my dd is not 2 yet. Schools are free but they ask for a yearly "donation" which in theory is voluntary but in practice I think most people pay. I don't think it's very much though - a few hundred dollars maybe?

Quite a few people have health insurance as waiting lists can be long - health insurance quite cheap, I am looking into it at mo and am gettign quotes of about 15GBP a month which is v reasonable (that's for basic cover). In theory healthcare is free but you do pay for some things - GP visits (I pay about 5GBP a visit,some are more expensive).On the plus side,I have always got a same-day appointment as people don't tend to go to the doctors with colds when they have to pay! Children under 6 are free.

As you would expect of an island of 4 million a long way from anywhere, there is not as much to do culturally as some big European cities BUT there is stuff if you look around for it. People complain the shops aren't very good, again, smaller population so less choice. I think you can get anything you need and there is a pretty good choice in the cities. I'm kind of used to it now after 8 years.

It's very much an outdoor lifestyle and I think less materialistic over here. Great for kids - it's the equivalent of February here and I am taking dd to the beach every day at the mo as it is dry and sunny and we have a little beach across the road smile. She loves pottering around in the rockpools.

Right, got to go and take dd to playgroup and then the beach, I will have a think about what you should see in your 5 days here...you'll prob be jetlagged for about 3 of them!

Gracelo Wed 05-Aug-09 10:08:45

I lived in Hamilton from Nov 94 to the end of 99 so my information on Hamilton may be a little out of date. I did a PhD at Uni of Waikato, in the science department. In which department is the job you are interviewing for?
I liked living there but I was a student then. I don't know how it would be having a family there. Quite good, I think.
Hamilton may not have the cultural possibilities that the bigger cities offer but there is still quite a bit going on. The NZ Symphony Orchestra stops there regularly (playing their more boring programs, as dp kept complaining), there is a quite active chamber music society that organizes concerts, since the late 90ties there is now also a cinema that shows independent movies. There are plenty of good cafes and restaurants (and my favourite ever cafe anywhere in the world, Metropolis on Queens Street). There are many venues where life bands play.
About 40 min away is Raglan with its famous (for surfers at least) beach, there are good walks on Mt Pirongia and there are more beaches, a little further away on the East coast. The Waikato also has a sizable Maori population, the seat of the Maori king is only about 30 miles down the river in Ngaurawahia. Also, Auckland is an easy drive when you need a little more urbanity.
August will be coldish and possibly quite wet. During my first winter in NZ it rained for 3 month straight. I lived in a miserable student flat at the time with no heating and I've never been so cold in my life. Winters can be quite mild though. I have not once seen snow in Hamilton during the 5 years I lived there.
I think it's a bit of a misunderstanding about the space you have in NZ. Yes, there is a lot of stunningly beautiful countryside in NZ but a lot of it is inaccessible. There is no right to roam and you can't just wander onto private farm land.
I had no health insurance whatsoever while in NZ besides what the student health centre offered. I wasn't part of the state system since I'm not a NZ citizen. And I couldn't afford to buy private insurance on my studentship income. The 2-3 times that I needed a doctor I paid for it and it was very very cheap, but this may have changed.

Libra Wed 05-Aug-09 17:08:49

Many thanks for this information.

We are just collecting as much info as we can at the moment, although of course this is all based on them offering me a job!

Sibble Thu 06-Aug-09 08:09:24

Hi. As Whatshesaid said! dh is from Hamilton. I'll get the negative out of the way first my only stipulation when we moved here was that I wasn't going to live in Hamilton grin. That said I was coming from London where I had lived, or on the outskirts except from a short stint in Oz, all my life. I find Hamilton too small town and quiet but that is always a personal thing. As you drive down from Auckland you can see the mist hanging in the air, the Waikato River that runs through it makes it quite damp and it's marginally colder than Auckland.

So if I had the opportunity to live here and it had to be Hamilton what are the pluses:
Raglan (as mentioned twice)
Cambridge, not far lovely but pricey (guessing 30 mins so commutable)
Easy access to anywhere, 'The Mount' for beaches, Tauranga, The Lakes e.g. Taupo, Rotorua, the ski fields Ruapahu, Waitomo glow worm caves, Auckland, hot pools but the name escapes me at the moment
i.e. if you come, plan to explore and make the most of being here you are in a great spot.
Has an International airport (at least I think it still does) so can fly direct to Oz
The Rose Gardens
Waikato River walks
Hamilton Zoo
Talk of a commuter train to Auckland

On another note I work for Uni of Auckland, I've found work culture here quite different in some ways but similar in others. Red tape is the same while incorporating or acknowledging the Treaty of Waitangi into all aspects of learning and action is obviously new.

If there's anything specific please let me know. My ds's are 9 and turn 5 tomorrow so have to go now to wrap presents (another difference they start school on their 5th birthday but I've veto'd that, pulled ds1 out from school and we're going out for the day ds2 will start Monday)

HTH

Libra Thu 06-Aug-09 19:46:51

Thanks Sibble. I obviously need to research the Treaty of Waitangi before the interview. How formal are universities in NZ? The interview is for a professorship. At my place a visiting interviewee for such a position would probably expect to be wined and dined and assessed informally as well as with the formal interview. Do such things happen in NZ or will I be left strictly alone apart from the interview?

They have been very generous and I will be in the area for five days so think I will hire a car (am I right that public transport is not so good) to explore the area a bit.

We have two sons - 15 and 6. DS1 is ecstatic to learn about the legal age for driving in NZ.

Sibble Thu 06-Aug-09 20:54:21

Hi Libra. My interview was very informal in fact I thought it was an informal interview as a forerunner to the real thing only to be offered the post at the end. Having said that I did know one of the Head of Dept but socially not professionally. I would expect to be informally assessed and wined and dined as usual.

You are right public transport is improving but non-existent by European standards. We once took the train from Hamilton to Wellington, it would have been quicker to walk grin. Internal flights are great though, run as frequently as buses.

Good luck and let us know how you got on.

There are some very good schools in Hamilton for your ds's, state schools have zoning so something to consider if you do move over but also some very good private schools.

HTH

Libra Fri 07-Aug-09 10:01:28

Many thanks. It is the schooling that makes me toss and turn at night. Both boys are in excellent state schools here, and the idea of taking them out and finding something as good is really worrying me.

I am very positive about the possibility of a move during the day, but at 2 o'clock in the morning I get much more worried.

buzzybee Mon 10-Aug-09 10:04:28

I'm guessing you're here now Libra - sorry missed this before! Good luck!! I'm in Wellington and don't know Hamilton well but University of Waikato does have a good reputation. Will be interested to hear how you got and whether they did indeed "wine and dine" you

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