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After 5 years in NZ

After 5 years in NZ

Old Mar 5th 2008, 8:43 am
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Default After 5 years in NZ

Well its coming up to my 5 year anniversary and I thought that I would post some highs and lows.
Hubbie and I arrived in NZ with$15000 and 4 suitcases....and 3 fishing rods
Highs:
We have both gone from working for other people to working for ourselves....Something that we would never have thought about in the UK
We have adopted two wonderful kids...Something we would NEVER have even thought about in the UK
We own a nice smallish house about 100mtrs from the beach
and....have a lovely boat that we can go out fishing whenever we get chance.

Lows

We have really stuggled to make friends here....and I think we are not bad people...but we do not want to spend endless days with fellow Brits and this is where we have come unstuck. We cannot make Kiwi friends we have tried and tried but to no avail.

The homes here are soooooo expensive especially when you compare the cost of mortgages to salaries

The homes are damp...we installed a heat pump last year but I have developed really bad asthma since living here and find the mould on the window cills in the kids bedrooms very scary (Exit Mould helps mind you) Many houses have a funny smell to them because of the damp.

We live in a country that is run by a nightmare government who dones nothing to help business owners and make crazy poilicies regarding all sorts of crap that none of the Kiwis want.

The "Brain Drain" is getting so bad we are losing skilled workers by the hundreds to Australia which is currently booming. And why not when salaries are 25% better over there (At least) and the cost of living is considerably lower.

I really believe that NZ is going to the dogs. If I had the chance to tell people whether to move here or not my answer would be a big NO...Don't do it.

The gangs are getting worse...the traffic system is getting worse...theres no LIFE here as everywhere closes down at 8pm (Unless you live in the city), theres nowhere to go on holiday...there is no culture, there is NO passion...NZ is truly the most boring place on earth. After 5 years here I look at my life and think I have achieved so much but so little. Will I move from NZ the answer is YES. I cannot see myself growing old here...I am 33 years old and feel as if I am living the life of a 70 year old. But we are stuck here for the time being....Maybe for another 4 years or so...Where will I go well I am not sure...But one thing I do know is if you are looking to move to NZ do not come unless you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. If you are quite content to become very old before your time then thats great...If you want to struggle your ass off financially the come to NZ to live but remember.....

The beauty of NZ will not pay the mortgage and when you are skint and bored the beauty will not make up for it....After 5 years here I think I am qualified to say such things

Thanks
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 10:01 am
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

Hats off to you and yours, you're giving NZ your best shot, have your sleeves rolled up and are prepared to stick your head above the parapet telling us what you think.
I wish you and yours all the best and can empathise with almost everything you have said - I'm not sure I understand the politics enough to overcome my natural left-leanings, but we've only been here 14 months and I'm new to the running your own business thing.
Come on guys give this lady some:
"getting it off your chest and here's to another 5 years and Mr Key..." Karma
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 10:31 am
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

That last paragraph was exactly how I felt in Sept 2006. I'd been there 5 years too - I had a lovely, easy life in NZ, with a house I still dream about and I had made some good kiwi friends - but I just felt like I was rotting - we moved to Sydney last April and while it's horrifically expensive (trust me, NZ is cheap is comparison) at least I'm having fun again. I can't say I won't return to NZ - but it's not right for me right now (and I'm older than you!)
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 11:15 am
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

So what keeps you there NZGrl?

Years ago we rented a small house right on the beach in southern england, it was the only timber cottage amongst seaside mansions and it too was damp. Funny thing was that the owner was Australian and spent the UK winters down under (we could see why after one winter there)

Property in Orewa close to the beach is usually quite well sought after, 5 years on it's probably worth a lot more than you bought it for. Have you thought about buying one of the newer houses around there? there's quite a few to choose from, or build on one of the vacant sections?

Or are your sights set on distant horizons, 5 years is long enough, perhaps it's time for a change?
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

Originally Posted by NZGrl View Post
Well its coming up to my 5 year anniversary and I thought that I would post some highs and lows.
Hubbie and I arrived in NZ with$15000 and 4 suitcases....and 3 fishing rods
Highs:
We have both gone from working for other people to working for ourselves....Something that we would never have thought about in the UK
We have adopted two wonderful kids...Something we would NEVER have even thought about in the UK
We own a nice smallish house about 100mtrs from the beach
and....have a lovely boat that we can go out fishing whenever we get chance.

Lows

We have really stuggled to make friends here....and I think we are not bad people...but we do not want to spend endless days with fellow Brits and this is where we have come unstuck. We cannot make Kiwi friends we have tried and tried but to no avail.

The homes here are soooooo expensive especially when you compare the cost of mortgages to salaries

The homes are damp...we installed a heat pump last year but I have developed really bad asthma since living here and find the mould on the window cills in the kids bedrooms very scary (Exit Mould helps mind you) Many houses have a funny smell to them because of the damp.

We live in a country that is run by a nightmare government who dones nothing to help business owners and make crazy poilicies regarding all sorts of crap that none of the Kiwis want.

The "Brain Drain" is getting so bad we are losing skilled workers by the hundreds to Australia which is currently booming. And why not when salaries are 25% better over there (At least) and the cost of living is considerably lower.

I really believe that NZ is going to the dogs. If I had the chance to tell people whether to move here or not my answer would be a big NO...Don't do it.

The gangs are getting worse...the traffic system is getting worse...theres no LIFE here as everywhere closes down at 8pm (Unless you live in the city), theres nowhere to go on holiday...there is no culture, there is NO passion...NZ is truly the most boring place on earth. After 5 years here I look at my life and think I have achieved so much but so little. Will I move from NZ the answer is YES. I cannot see myself growing old here...I am 33 years old and feel as if I am living the life of a 70 year old. But we are stuck here for the time being....Maybe for another 4 years or so...Where will I go well I am not sure...But one thing I do know is if you are looking to move to NZ do not come unless you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. If you are quite content to become very old before your time then thats great...If you want to struggle your ass off financially the come to NZ to live but remember.....

The beauty of NZ will not pay the mortgage and when you are skint and bored the beauty will not make up for it....After 5 years here I think I am qualified to say such things

Thanks
Thats bloody great, just about to make the decision and then you post this thread
A great post though, it sounds like you started off from scratch when you landed in NZ. It is tough starting out, especially hard in a new country. Do you regret going to NZ? Where do you think you will move to?
Lots of your 'lows' sound a bit like people in the UK, although there is passion & loads to do if you have the cash!

Is it really that boring, or could you change certain things in your lives to make it less boring?

Are your kids bored with NZ or do they not know any different?

Cheers Jads
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 1:13 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

[QUOTE=jads;6020492]Thats bloody great, just about to make the decision and then you post this thread

Feel exactly the same!!! Now starting to think of all the original worries I had ( will we have enough money,will the kids settle,will I? ) before finally saying yes to my OH about giving it a go. HELP

Phyllis
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

[QUOTE=weejie;6020553]
Originally Posted by jads View Post
Thats bloody great, just about to make the decision and then you post this thread

Feel exactly the same!!! Now starting to think of all the original worries I had ( will we have enough money,will the kids settle,will I? ) before finally saying yes to my OH about giving it a go. HELP

Phyllis
Hi

Where are you heading in NZ, have you been for a recci?
Whats your take on NZ.

Cheers Jads
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

We only managed to boy 2 years ago with a 100% mortgage...We winged it and got it...The house we bought is only 7 years old now but as with most houses over here they are made from Matchsticks and Cardboard.

The kids don't know any different...No thats a lie they do...They were taken from their parents and placed in a home until a new mum and dad could be found (Us) So yes they have seen a very different side of life. We often chat to them about moving to a new country and we always seem to come back to the idea of either Canada or Spain (We lived in Spain for 3 years before coming here)...But can't really say where to be honest.

We have tried to get out there and meet Kiwi's but find that we need to make friends with them every time we meet them...Its like the great time that we had with them two weeks ago did not exist...Weird.

All I can say is that we have tried...and we will keep trying. The best bit is that hopefully we will leave with more money that we came with. For now we just keep "Rotting"...Thanks for the word Briwi
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

I have been in a blind panic since I read this email - oh my god am I doing the right thing?
I suppose the enormity of the whole thing really hits home when you realise that there is a real possibility that it could go horribly wrong and you could hate it.
You don't know til you try, it's only money, you can always come home.....I am chanting this to myself now!
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

OMg - could have written that post myself, and did........then got totally shot down for my honesty as I recall!!!!

We were living in Wanganui for the last 4 years and it was hell towards the end because we felt so miserable and trapped - trapped by a house we couldnt sell. We had removated this hulking great house and spent a year of depressing Open Homes where people who couldnt afford it in the first place would come and see where you lived so they could then say it was over priced. To escape eventually we had to accept a price well below its worth, $125,000 below, because there is no mad immigrant crowd coming over who could afford a rambling villa - apparently we English are great at buying these places, the kiwis know better.

So we are now in Canada and from the very first 2 weeks I have been feeling so happy. Happier than I did in the first few months of being in NZ, and I was naturally concerned that nowhere would ever be right. Here we have shops in abundance and people dress up so *I* feel under dressed. There is no Pom backlash, everyone is delighted we are here and there are no grumpy indiginous peoples who walk out in front of your moving vehicle because they have right of way.........there is no tension here. Everyone considers themselves to be an immigrant, doors are wide open and welcome. The Immigration Officer handed us our passports after we landed and said *welcome home*.

And dare I say it, the education knocks spots of what I thought was an alright education my 10 year old was getting. He has walked into a comparable grade here and they look my mensa candidates by comaprison to his hickville education. He is absolutely loving school now, and he never has before. There is so much to do. He was doing a Powerpoint presentation the other day, he has been making a video, its just incredible. My 5 year old has started school for the first time and in a month can do some incredible reading and writing, and comes home with armfulls of incredible crafts and arts. Its full on, they do science and languages from an early age and they are strict, but it gets results and a happy class. Ok, so in NZ they looked after chickens and had lots of native plants everywhere, sure the schools looked cute, but the education was basic to say the very least.

If you want to know more about Canada, go check out that board, or pm me about immigration. We have come here with next to nothing, but a container of furniture and it is going well. Dont endure it for another 4 years, your boys will be happy wherever you are and you can show them things they will never encounter there. Skating for free on the lakes, playing in the snow, real festivities during the seasonal holidays, Christmas in the snow!! There is so much more than that, but it is what we are enjoying and looking forward to. Also only 6-10 hours from London.

Yes, we loved NZ for the beaches and the mountains, but the people and the daily grind detracted from all that sadly. A great place for a holiday, not ideal to live.

Last edited by Poppy2; Mar 5th 2008 at 6:07 pm.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

Originally Posted by Cheesehead View Post
I have been in a blind panic since I read this email - oh my god am I doing the right thing?
I suppose the enormity of the whole thing really hits home when you realise that there is a real possibility that it could go horribly wrong and you could hate it.
You don't know til you try, it's only money, you can always come home.....I am chanting this to myself now!
It rather depends where you are moving to and what your expectations are. You know what you hope it will be like. We had never been before, though I also know quite a few people who had been and still returned once they were residents. Its expensive and for me, I worked in Healthcare, there was a constant reminder that I was taking jobs and coming in with my fancy ways - it was waring and an open joke that I was a Pom. 4 years of it gets boring. Especially when I had the politeness not to point out what a backwater I was working in and how working in the same place for 30 years shouldnt equate to superior experience!

For kids, sure the outdoors beckons, but the lack of shops to get decent clothes or toys is tedious. The toys are expensive and a fraction of the range yuo would get in the UK. Wave ToysRus goodbye, or anything like it. Clothes are expensive unless you get the midrange stuff that falls apart. There is no caparable Clarks for shoes, so you have a chart on the floor to stand on and you fit the kids shoes as best you can.

Take all that you take for granted in your current life and expect to find a very basic range of anything. Including the supermarkets, they are more Kwiksave than anything, even if you go to the more expensive ones, you cant actually beat the value of places like Pak'n'save..........and that just sums it all up. Goodbye to 10 different types of Goats cheese in the chiller cabinet, because there are about 3 cheese makers in NZ and they knock out their versions of classics such as gouda and edam - the EU would have a fit. And no more turkey breast, hello pigs heads and chicken necks.

No more Christmas either, no decs in the stores to speak of (apart from a painted Seasons greetings sign in the window), no piped music, no build up, no good tv - everyone just goes down to the beach. And if you have kids, they will be slightly shamed by the fact that they had a good christmas and their friends got a car and a bag of lollies for Christmas.

Of course these are total exagerations that will get totally up the happy campers noses. There are people in NZ, kiwis who are just as into great food, great entertaining and Christmas........they live in Ponsonby and I didnt. I craved some culture. I craved going somewhere where people enjoyed doing more than just getting by. Where Ikea could sell me things that were cheap but well designed, with some flare. I didnt want to stand out and be mocked and seen as the foreign cash cow the whole time, I wanted to be part of a community and that was hard to feel totally integrated with.

I think you need to see for yourself, but if those things make you feel uneasy, then think about it more. Its a lot of money to spend, when you may find Australia or Canada offers more of what you fear missing out on. We went to Sidney for a weekend and I felt so overwhelmed by goodlooking people and their swanky cars that I loved it. I like being in the middle of the pile, nearer the bottom, than seemingly near the top!

Good luck, you need to find out what makes your heart sing, you can only know that for yourself. And my experience is only that, mine. I dont think people are silly for being there, I know people genuinely love it and it suits them. But its a long leap to make if it isnt for you.

Last edited by Poppy2; Mar 5th 2008 at 6:26 pm.
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

Really sorry to hear that the dream you all chased has turned to ashes for you.
Having made the choice to move here and then find out that it doesn't meet your needs and expectations must be a sore blow. No amount of commiserations and platitudes will make it any better or help you move forward but at least you have given it a go instead of wondering how it might have been in years to come.
We have a lot of positive threads on here about how fantastic life in New Zealand is so I guess your experiences help to balance that out. We need to paint a complete picture of life here, so keep posting. I applaud the honesty of your posts - it's can't be easy, especially if you are expecting to be shot down in flames for daring to criticise NZ.
Hope you get to where you need to be for yourselves and your children in the future.
Karen
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

Originally Posted by karonious View Post
Really sorry to hear that the dream you all chased has turned to ashes for you.
Having made the choice to move here and then find out that it doesn't meet your needs and expectations must be a sore blow. No amount of commiserations and platitudes will make it any better or help you move forward but at least you have given it a go instead of wondering how it might have been in years to come.
We have a lot of positive threads on here about how fantastic life in New Zealand is so I guess your experiences help to balance that out. We need to paint a complete picture of life here, so keep posting. I applaud the honesty of your posts - it's can't be easy, especially if you are expecting to be shot down in flames for daring to criticise NZ.
Hope you get to where you need to be for yourselves and your children in the future.
Karen
That is so nicely said. I feel like I am hyjacking this thread with my replies here - sorry NZGrl!

I just wanted to add, that we moved a few months ago to Canada and I havent stopped feeling great about being where we are now. I never had that in NZ. I now know how that sense of home and settlement should feel. I feel optomistic and after a dreadful year of selling a house and the loss of my father, this is a wonderful calm that we all needed. I am glad for every one who has that, and wish it for all of us who choose to try living the dream on foreign soil. New Zealand is a beautiful land and we would never regret being there, there are some real amazing highlights that we have as memories forever. My kids have learnt so much from the freedom they had there. And I had my daughter there. I shouted at the waves, during a thunder storm, at our local beach the day I heard of the death of my Dad. Strong experiences bond you in many ways to those places, and I feel that most definately. So no regrets, but I am glad to find a place that suits us so much more, though early days right? Still an All Blacks fan
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

This thread has really scared me, it has made me wonder if New Zealand will be right for us or not especially the gang part. Is it really this bad in NZ?
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Old Mar 5th 2008, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: After 5 years in NZ

I, for one, completely appreciate the honesty displayed but am still sh**ing myself. Need to either:
- read some positive NZ threads now to even everything up again
- read or watch the UK news to remember why I want to leave
- find out some horror stories abour Canada
...so I can realise that the grass is never greener and that there are problems all over the world wherever you go.
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