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Pondering a new life in NZ....

(32 Posts)
BunnyLebowski Fri 07-Aug-09 20:35:38

.....and have a few (probably silly and naive) questions!

DP and I have dd who is 10 months. Iam 29 and he is 27. He is a degree educated IT professional working in the banking industry. I am currently not working but am planning going back to uni to complete my nursing degree next year.

We are becoming increasingly unhappy with life where we live and indeed the UK in general. We hate the all-encompassing consumerism here in the UK, the nanny state, the crime and general degradation of morals and standards, the celebrity obsessed culture how over-mature young kids are (particularly girls) etc etc I could go on and on!

We are determined to give dd (and any other future dc's) the best possible childhood we can and we both agree that there are better places in the world than Yorkshire to do this!

We are both unmaterialistic people who value family life over anything else. We love the outdoors and camping. Our dream life is a simple one. Our own home. A garden for the kids. Good schooling. Lots of activites and places to create fabulous family memories. Some good adult friends we can barbeque with and occasionally get pissed with!

Although we've never been we've always been inexcplicably drawn to New Zealand. We are now seriously considering a move there. We are planning to go next year for a good long trip so we can see as much as we can and find out if it's indeed the home we're looking for.

So far I'm really drawn to New Plymouth. Does anyone have any experience of living there? Or can anyone recommend any other good places to bring up you family?

Also do you think we would qualify to emigrate to NZ?

Do you think it would be a wise move?

We're not naive about the realities of such a move (family being so far away, integrating into the culture etc) but we both have such a strong pull to NZ and are convinced there has to be a better more fulfilling family life out there for us and our wee brood!

Any advice/experience/warnings/encouragement would be very much appreciated!

Sorry for the ramblings!

BunnyLebowski Fri 07-Aug-09 20:42:49

Oh and also would we be in a better position to be accepted if we're married?

We've been together for 8 years and are planning getting married sometime in the near future but I'm wondering if it's easier to emigrate as man and wife than as boyfriend/girlfriend.

Weta Mon 10-Aug-09 09:05:40

I'm from NZ though now live in Luxembourg.
It sounds like NZ would suit you really well given the things you say you want, as it is in many ways less materialistic, simpler, easy to own your own home and have a garden.

As for places, I would visit quite a few to get a feel for what you want. Personally New Plymouth wouldn't do it for me (!), but it might be what you want. Small cities in NZ may feel more isolated/insular and have fewer interesting people, so I would consider the move carefully. I've only really lived in Christchurch and Wellington and prefer that size of city - love Wellington but found Chch a bit quiet, but fabulous scenery nearby. I think Nelson would be a lovely place to bring up a family...

Think also about how you will feel being so far from your family, especially with a child. It's a big wrench to deprive your parents of contact with their grandchild and vice versa, and it's hard when you can't get back for family events, weddings, funerals etc.

Good luck!!

Weta Mon 10-Aug-09 09:06:29

oh yes and I also lived in Te Awamutu till I was 10 - town of about 8000 people half an hour from Hamilton, and there is no way I'd live anywhere that small, but each to their own!

buzzybee Mon 10-Aug-09 09:55:48

Hi Bunny
A few of us here in NZ, some more might come along shortly. You need to talk to Welliemum! I'm in Wellington and while the weather sometimes seems unappealing (remember we're in winter now so bad time to ask!) I think Wellington's the best little city in the world. Welliemum lives on a lifstyle property just outside Wellie! Agree with Weta that NP wouldn't do it for me as too isolated. Best combinations of weather, cultural attractions and facilities are probably to be found in Nelson, Tauranga or Napier.
If you've been together 8 years I doubt it would matter if you're married.
Have you calculated how many points you'd get under the skilled migrant scheme? Have a look here

lavenderbongo Tue 11-Aug-09 05:10:18

Hi Bunny - Im in Wellington NZ as well! We moved out here in March this year as DH got offerred a job.
We have two dds aged 4 and 2. I love it and I think its ideal for all the things you want. We are out every weekend walking along beaches and fab countryside. My oldest has been at Kindergarton here since May and is due to start a lovely school in September.
If you want an idea of what life has been like for us this is my blog I started writing it to keep my family up to date with what we were up to but I kind of got carried away!

lavenderbongo Tue 11-Aug-09 05:12:44

Also if you look at under the New Zealand section you will find lots of other blogs from people who have moved out here. We found it a great way of finding out what life would be like - both the ups and the downs!

WhatSheSaid Tue 11-Aug-09 05:52:16

I would definitely recommend a trip here to have a look around and see whether NZ appeals and which areas you like.

I've been here 8 years and like it very much. I've also lived in Yorkshire (7 years in Leeds) so I can compare both! Where I live is certainly nicer than some of the parts of Leeds I lived in. We have a good life here and yes, have a house with a garden and a view of the sea, which I doubt we could afford in the UK.

My dh runs an IT recruitment company and, generally, people with IT skills are in short supply and are needed here. The immigration website Buzzy linked to should give you an idea of whether his profession is on the skills shortage list (it is easier to get residency if it is). I think anyone in nursing can get a job pretty much anywhere in the world!

Our life is good here, but remember that nowhere is perfect, there is crime, poverty etc everywhere. I think it is less materialistic though. Remember that wages are lower here. The NZ govt Careers website here will help give you an idea of wages and demand for your profession.

I agree about reading blogs etc of people who have moved out here, it will give you an idea of the process and the positives and negatives.

QuintessentialShadow Tue 11-Aug-09 06:14:56

I have never been to NZ, so I am not discrediting the country, just urging you to think carefully.

It is an enormous undertaking to move from one country to another with a family.

You want family life, but you will be uprooting your family FROM all the family you have, and become a single isolated unit somewhere very far away.

You will be immigrants. You will come to a country where you might not even know how things work, with mot, car insurance, signing up with doctors, home insurance, home buying and renting, it may all work very different to what you are used to.

I moved my family back to my native norway last year. It has not been all rosy, I can tell you that much. Norway was not to me what I thought it was, and things are very different to how I thought it would be. It has taken a year to get used to how things work here, and I am still not used to all the details. I left when I was just 20, so had never really been an adult here, and I realize it is very different from the UK. I miss England nearly every day.

The life you picture, is possibly the life we have now (but in a much coldre climate), and when you have stopped being in awe at how fabulous it is, reality creeps in, and you think back to what you had, and you might miss it.

Dh has not really settled here, and he is unhappy with life in general here, so I suspect we will be back in England within the next few years.

We had no family in London, and although it was hard going at times, it was doable. We led perfectly happy lives without grandparents and the support they could possibly offer.

The kids are very happy here. We have a big garden, live backing onto the woods, on the side of a mountain with alpine slopes "in our back yard" - it is literally just five minutes walk from our house to the lifts. Our 7 year old is now very good at down hill skiing and cross country too. He plays out with the other kids in our street daily, most of the time I dont really know where he is, there are so many kids he could be with. He walks to and from school on his own, and has responsibility and independence we could never dream about in London. He does not want to go back and loves it here.

You can get "the new zealand life" in Norway, and it is only 2 hours away by plane.

Whatever you decide, good luck! smile

Catper33 Wed 12-Aug-09 05:17:18

Hi we live in a small place on the Sth Island having emigrated 5 years ago. Check out especially their forum. There are lots of posts currently about getting work within IT that may help. We love it here and wouldn't change our decsision, but we do know of quite a few who are finding it isn't the bed of roses they thought- mostly from a financial point of view. I would make sure you do alot of research, ensure you have considerable backup finances particularly in the current climate - jobs are not easy to come by here either and come with an open mind. A recce is a really good idea, perhaps lining up job interviews in advance. Don't narrow your job opportunities down too much by looking at only one area if at all possible. Good luck.

ben5 Wed 12-Aug-09 06:58:47

we moved to austrailia in june. it took us 2 years from first enquire to being out here. it's alot of hard work and only in the last 2 weeks have we finally got everything sorted.doctors, medicare, national insurance numbers,medical insurance etc. we moved to give our boys a better way of life and so far we are enjoying it. we have skype so can talk to grandparents and other friends whenever. get your children used to talking on skype before you go. good luck wherever you go.

GrapefruitMoon Wed 12-Aug-09 07:11:03

We had our niece visiting from NZ a few months ago - she seemed no different to UK teens I'm afraid in how she dressed and behaved!

BunnyLebowski Wed 12-Aug-09 12:12:53

Thanks everyone.

Any decision we made would be extremely well thought out and researched. We are totally appreciative of what a big move it is. We are under no illusions that NZ is a perfect place to live - nowhere is. It's all about weighing up what we have here against what we would have somewhere else.

DP has said he would really miss being so close to the rest of Europe as we love going to Paris, Rome, Florence and Barcelona etc - he's art and architecture mad. We have also spoken about moving to Spain or Italy.

Quint - Thanks for sharing your experience.
As far as family goes we know it would be very difficult but we don't exactly see them often as it is! DP is estranged from his (mental) parents and has no siblings and while we got on brilliantly with mine, they live in Ireland so we only get to see them a handful of times a year. My siblings live all over the place so my parents are used to travelling!

We will carry on researching (thanks for the links!)and thinking and hopefully will visit the country next year.

Thanks again for all the advice.

slug Wed 12-Aug-09 12:56:47

Am slightly hmm at the thought of New Plymouth, it's a farming and oil and gas centre and not much else, though they do have a fab art gallery from memory.

Have a look at Tauranga and Gisborne if you want isolation with some access to larger cities and beaches/skiing. If you don't have a driver's licence, get one now. Wherever you live you will have to get used to driving long distances. If your DH is on LinkedIn get him to have a look at the Kiwi Scrum group.

In some ways moving to NZ, though further and more isolated than Spain or Italy, will be easier. The language for one is the same (more or less) though it can be a bit of a cultural desert. Get ready for 3 TV channels and a parocial press. There is, however a thriving local arts and music scene. You won't avoid consumerism in NZ, nor the pressure to grow up quickly, but in my experience, and in those of my Kiwi nephews and nieces, it was cool to be bright at school, cool to be good at sports, and the prevailing culture is to have a go at things, whether or not you are good at it. You will also find the place much less class bound than the UK.

You may also be slightly surprised an the position of women within NZ culture. despite the prevailing sterotype of being the 'Shelias', NZ was the first place to give women the vote, it had a female Prime Minister for many, many years and the government positively promotes girl's involvement in sport. The most popular sport for men in NZ is, believe it or not, netball. I used to play in mixed teams and it is not an unusual sight to see men's, women's, mixed and children's teams all playing tournaments at the courts on a Saturday morning. Kiwi girls have a very well deserved reputation for being assertive.

slug Wed 12-Aug-09 13:27:25

Lavenderbongo, I've just been reading your blog and have got very nostalgic. I grew up in Upper Hutt and the description of the Tararua road had me giggling. It was the right of passage as soon as you got your drivers licence to drive that road. Have you been to Staglands yet? The girls will like it.

papadontpreach Wed 12-Aug-09 16:24:43

New Plymouth has changed an incredible amount over the past few years due to Films etc..being made there.My sister lives there with her family and it truely has a slice of everything.The mountain is amazing as are the surf beaches,restaurants and camping spots.I am a kiwi living over here and it is so hard watching my children grow up without their grandparents and cousins...its a long trip but if you can come home once a year or so you'll be ok.Queenstown is wondeful but I agree with the other Wellington supporters,I am from a little village just outside and it is an awesome city.

(Weta I lived in TA as a child too...what school did you go to?)

bamboobutton Wed 12-Aug-09 16:31:13

have a look at this NZ forum

we found this very useful when we were considering moving to nz.

BunnyLebowski Wed 12-Aug-09 16:44:22

Thanks bamboo!

papdontpreach - I read on my travles of the web that New Plymouth has won awards for being the "best place to live, work and bring up kids" in NZ.

Wellington appeals too.

Slug - thanks I will look those places up. We both have driving licences thankfully.

Off to do more research!

lavenderbongo Wed 12-Aug-09 22:30:02

Slug - thanks will look into Staglands.

anniemac Thu 13-Aug-09 10:57:14

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anniemac Thu 13-Aug-09 10:57:47

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Weta Thu 13-Aug-09 11:15:24

papadontpreach, I went to TA Primary from 1977-1982. How about you???

papadontpreach Fri 14-Aug-09 15:50:39

Hi Weta,

I went to St Pats from 78....for a few years but my cousins all went to TA Primary.I havnt been back in many years.Where are you now?

ZZZenAgain Sat 15-Aug-09 12:36:57

I'm another of those not so sure how you fixed on New Plymouth exactly. No offence to anyone from New Plymouth, have nothing to say against the place. Really just spent one day there passing through, not sure of it's charms long-term (in winter etc?) and in terms of what to keep your teenagers occupied with when the time comes. Generally thinking ahead to this time in their lives, it is good to get them into some regular organised sporting activities. The way papadon'tpreach describes NP, it does sound quite attractive.

So far as how teenagers act/behave - they are not wildly different tbh to UK teenagers IME. Maybe they are a touch more independent when it comes to things like cooking/housework/helping with DIY etc because I think there is (or was?) more of a tradition of dc being thought capable of and therefore asked to do these things IYSWIM.

You get teenage pregnancies, you get a fair bit of driving round fairly aimlessly and too fast in cars (early driving licence age alert) and getting pretty drunk on anything affordable... NZ, despite being comparatively thinly populated, does have problems with youth violence and break-ins. I don't know what it is like nowadays (so may have changed a lot) but when I was there, I wouldn't have wanted teenage daughters say roaming about town on their own much after dark tbh.

I quite like NZ. Mind you I like the area you live in now too -Yorkshire: some nice towns (like Leeds), nice people, nice countryside, some pretty good schools.

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