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An Interview with … Norah in New Zealand

An Interview with … Norah in New Zealand

"I was living in the Netherlands 12 years ago when I met my Kiwi husband. His plans to return to NZ were put on hold when first …. and during the next few years we lived in the Netherlands, London, and Ireland. In June 2005 when we finally realized our dream of moving to New Zealand." Follow Norah's journey as she settles in New Zealand.

Tell us a little about yourself and family.

I was living in The Netherlands 12 years ago when I met my Kiwi husband. His plans to return to NZ were put on hold when first he met me, and second his dad (who was now living in the Netherlands) became ill. During the course of the next 11 years we lived in the Netherlands for a year, then moved to London, stayed there 5 years and then moved to Ireland where we remained until June 2005 when we finally realized our dream of moving to New Zealand.

What were your reasons for choosing New Zealand?

My husband was always homesick whilst he was away. Not cripplingly so, but the pull of the land was very strong for him and he never felt 100% at peace being away from it.  He did love being in Ireland but being there was never a long-term option for either of us.

How long did the emigration process take?

For us, it was only a matter of when to go. My son was still at university and I didn’t want to leave until he’d finished. That was in May 2005. We put the house on the market in November 2004 and had no joy in selling for 5 months, changed agents and sold in 10 days. We decided that I wouldn’t apply for PR until we got here so we booked our flights and left on 20 June. I applied for PR on 4 July, got a work permit 4 days later and my PR was approved in April this year.

Where do you live in New Zealand?

We live in Glenfield on the North Shore. We really fancied the idea of living in Titirangi before we got to NZ because we believed that the “˜Shore’ was very overcrowded but when we actually got here, we really liked it. We bought our house 5 days after we arrived. It’s got the Titirangi setting that we really like – lots of bush – it’s not on a sub-division and we’ve got a boat ramp at the end of the street. Walking down our road every evening, even on a wet day, is so uplifting when I see the water spread out before me.

What differences have you noticed between NZ and your country of origin?

Not many to be honest. The people are friendly, outspoken and irreverent about many things just like the Irish. Agriculture is still the main industry here whereas it has slipped behind in Ireland. It does seem to be more politically correct here at times but only at Government level.  The cost of living is less than in Ireland, which is one of the most expensive countries in Europe to live in and we do feel financially better off here.

I suppose the main difference has to be the weather although, living in Auckland, I’ll never be pining for a “˜soft day’.

What do you enjoy most about NZ?

In no particular order:

  • The friendships I’ve made and which I hadn’t expected to make. Not just with ex-pats, I’ve got a really close knit group of Kiwi friends too.  
  • The smell of trees and bushes wafting through the car windows as you drive along an urban street.
  • Sitting on our deck listening to the orchestra coming from the bush.
  • The weather – no more bone chilling winters (in Auckland anyway).
  • Talk Radio
  • Watching the rugby and looking forward now to the cricket
If you or your spouse work how easy was it to find employment?

I saw a job in the Herald the evening we arrived in NZ. I applied the following morning and got a response within an hour. I went for an interview and accepted the job there and then. My husband went through an agency and he had a job within a week.

How does the work environment differ?

I work harder here definitely. I don’t have as many holidays but do have sick leave which I didn’t have in my last job in Ireland. The people I work for appreciate what I do for them and recently sent me flowers to say thank you. I never had that in any other country I’ve lived in. I’m quite lucky in this company as the last one I worked for was completely different and I did not enjoy a lot of my time there.

My husband has been promoted and his hours have been improved which has made him a very happy Kiwi.

If you have children how easy was it to enroll them in a new school?

No children here.

Has your quality of life improved, if so how?
  • I go to sleep easily at night and can lie in at the weekends instead of tossing and turning for hours and waking up at 7am on Saturday and Sunday.
  • I don’t get angry anymore about things I can’t control.
  • My work commute is 1 hour and 15 minutes daily now instead of 3 ½ hours.
  • My husband works less than 10 minutes from home so we see a lot more of each other than we did in Ireland.
  • I have friends I actually get to see outside of work.
{mosbanner right}How does the cost of living compare?

Less expensive than Ireland for day to day living. More expensive for clothing as all the chain stores are now in Ireland so there’s lots of choice and competition.

How does NZ fit into your long term plans?

We’re not going anywhere in a hurry. We’re not the sort of people who say “˜never’ but we’re both very happy here and it would be unlikely for us to move out of New Zealand. We might move within it though if the right opportunity came along.

In retrospect is there anything you would change?

Not really. Maybe shipped a container instead of just leaving most of our furniture to the people who bought our house. But, we’d have ended up selling most of it anyway because it wouldn’t have suited our house here. I honestly can’t think of anything that I regret, so therefore, nothing to change.

Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

My experience is only my experience. We don’t have children here and we both have jobs with decent salaries so we’re fine financially. Money has never been a motivating factor for us though and I would never say to anyone to come here, everything is wonderful, you’ll be wonderful etc.etc. My mum used to say that when poverty flies in the door, love flies out the window so no matter how nice a setting, if you don’t have enough money to enjoy it, it’s not much fun. I did a lot of research before we came – I knew that houses might not have heating nor insulation so made sure the house we bought had both and we haven’t been cold this winter. I would say to anyone who is thinking of coming to not let dreams cloud the reality. Acknowledge that there are problems that might be difficult to overcome and therefore burning bridges may not necessarily be the best thing for everyone.

But, with an informed choice, I would say to give it a go. It’s a wonderful, wonderful place to live and I feel very lucky to have been given the chance to live here.   

BritishExpats Member "Batty"
© and Norah